The HealthTech Brand Check: Part 2

Part 2: The evolution of brand expression and experience in healthcare. It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare. Not only is the market booming, but we are witnessing a reinvention of healthcare brands. New technologies are empowering an increasingly savvy and proactive consumer who is motivated to invest in a broader definition of their health. As a result, there are significant opportunities for healthcare brands, but they face challenges in the level of competition and expectation of customer-centricity. When you’re constantly auditioning and seeking to empower people to achieve health on their own terms, your brand has to work harder than ever before.

Apr 2022

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At Re, our own analysis of the HealthTech market has revealed ten key characteristics directing the future of businesses operating in this space.

In the first of our three-part series, we looked at the five dynamics shaping the future healthcare business models and their propositions. Namely, digitalisation, quality of information, interoperability, sustainability, and data ethics.

In this, the second of the series, we’ll be looking at five key consumer trends that are impacting how brands position and express themselves. These are:

1. A broader sense of health 
2. Performance enhancement
3. Empowerment, inclusivity and accessibility
4. Personalisation
5. Convenience

A broader sense of health

Our definition of health is ever evolving. The global shock of the pandemic has been a catalyst, throwing the issue of health into sharp relief worldwide. 

While our focus has perhaps naturally been on the immune system and the mental health impacts of the crisis, consumers’ interpretations of what it means to be healthy ranges far wider.

They are increasingly motivated by, and taking personal responsibility for, achieving a more holistic state of wellbeing. According to a Euromonitor 2021 study, 64% of consumers state that their well-being is their top priority, followed by having a healthy immune system, feeling good, and getting enough sleep.

The conversation has shifted away from a purely physical conceptualisation of health. Whether it’s the health of your gut microbiome, your sleep hygiene, or your financial wellbeing, what it means to be ‘healthy’ now goes beyond being active, well nourished, or free from the symptoms of disease. If it impacts your mental — and therefore physical — health, it has a place in the conversation.

Consequently, mental health has gone mainstream. In 2021, Netflix commissioned an eight episode animated series from the makers of the Headspace app. Along with more general self-improvement apps, like Headspace and Calm, you can niche down to find solutions for your own particular needs. Whether you’re interested in musical therapy or want to manage panic attacks, there is an option for you.

This broader sense of health extends beyond the personal. Take probiotics brand, Seed. Beautiful and functional, they are breaking the stereotype of what a healthcare brand looks and sounds like. Their positioning links their customer’s interest in their gut microbiome with the ecology of the planet as a whole, giving voice to the eco-anxiety we are all feeling.

Performance enhancement

Exercise is also evolving. The convergence of the pursuit of greater longevity and mental health with the body acceptance movement means exercise is now something you do to feel good, more than look good. 

A shift away from a colder, more clinical, or masculine definition of healthcare is mirrored in the linking of exercise to intention and mindfulness. Take Headspace’s Move Mode, for example, which invites you to ‘strengthen your mental and physical wellbeing’. It offers mindful workouts, walks, and even 1 minute dance breaks and housework sessions to help you be more active and mindful. 

As our definition of performance expands, so too has the conversation around sports nutrition and performance supplements. It's about staying fit and healthy for longer and achieving peak performance in all aspects of your life.

Brands draw evidence based links between optimal health and its impact on people’s performance in other areas. Nooma sports drinks promise organic, plant-based workout drinks that fuel ‘doers and pursuers everywhere’. Nella by Fitbiomics ‘gives you the guts to defy your limits’ with performance enhancing probiotics. Smpl offers functional snack bars enriched with superfoods, adaptogens and ‘brain-boosting’ nootropics for daily wellness.

Empowerment, inclusivity, and accessibility

The smartphone has put all aspects of health into people’s pockets. With apps full of fresh insights about our bodies just a tap away, our health is more tangible. 

People feel informed and empowered to make decisions, and able to be proactive about their health. This shift means brands have permission to play a much broader, and more intimate, role in our lives. By providing access to empowering information, HealthTech brands become a trusted partner and confidante, nudging us to do better and be better. And when they get it right, they gain the customer’s confidence and can guide the trajectory of their product’s evolution in partnership with its customers. 

Consumers expect health brands to be cognisant of the role they play — and the responsibility they have — to enable access. A multitude of decisions affect the usability of products and services, making all the difference to the end user.  From ‘age-friendly’ UI and product design, to using Plain Language and alt text on images for screen readers, without awareness built into every experience design decision, you cannot connect. 

This applies too when brands consider who they are including and excluding in the decisions they make. Historically, people of colour, LGBTQ+, and women have been excluded from healthcare conversations, research, and provision. With consideration, brands now have the opportunity to be at the forefront of driving awareness of, and addressing, these gaps in healthcare delivery. 

The challenge is how you create a brand that campaigns for its customers and uses its platform for good. Brands are owning and authoring really bold and honest brand campaigns. The tone of voice has changed. It is about breaking down taboos, educating, and creating representation.

We can find a richness of examples when we look at the blossoming femcare sector. A frontline for brand education and activism. Look at the period tracking app Flo who provide daily insight into people’s menstrual and reproductive health, or period underwear brand Thinx who are on a mission to remove period stigma and advocate for period equity, or Tena who are busting taboos surrounding menopause and adult incontinence. 

Sexual wellness is another taboo busting sector, with some very exciting brands investing a lot of time and money in a category that is expected to reach $125 trillion by 2026. Mindful sexual wellbeing app, Kama, states that “Pleasure is health”, while OMG Yes focuses on women’s sexual pleasure.


With a broader concept of health and a wealth of data at their fingertips, a more educated consumer is now a more sophisticated consumer. They want, and expect, healthcare tailored to their specific needs, and are building their own ‘healthtech stack’. By mixing and matching technologies and solutions, they are able to address the specifics of their own concept of wellness. Personalisation is touching every area of healthcare, from nutrition to skincare and beyond.

Look at Skin + Me, offering personalised skincare treatment plans that are reformulated as your skin changes in response to the regimen. The consumer enters the details of their skincare needs on the website and an algorithm matches them to a plan with digital servicing.

For healthcare that is more than skin deep, consumers can invest in vitamins and supplements. Take Vitl, which offers the opportunity to ‘live better with personalised nutrition’ that has been tailored from the results of online tests. Or Ombre, which personalises your gut microbiome supplement prescription based on the results of your faecal sample analysis.

Perhaps the ultimate in personalised healthcare is powered by DNA and genetics. 23andme brings genomic sequencing to the customer sphere, offering bespoke support programmes based on the results of their testing.

Personalisation doesn’t just speak to how products are formulated, but also in how these brands speak to their customers and the experience they create for, and with, them. From simple personalised packaging, to data enriching and building the relationship with every interaction, healthcare brands are focused on their customers and their needs.


People want easier access to healthcare with fewer barriers and at a time that is convenient to them. As we’ve seen, direct-to-consumer models enable the delivery of personalised health packages to you at home. This, combined with our experience of remote access to healthcare during lockdown, is driving an expectation of convenience in other areas.

We are seeing a massive growth in digital platforms addressing health concerns and delivering medical solutions. According to McKinsey & Company, use of telehealth has increased 38X from pre-COVID-19 baseline. 

Take telemedicine brand Livi. They offer consumers the ability to ‘wave goodbye to waiting rooms’ with digital GP appointments via a phone app. With the aim of enabling ‘as many patients as possible to have better access to healthcare,’ they offer appointments ‘from home, work, or on the go’ seven days a week, either partnering with local NHS practices or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Another major area of expansion is in mental health. Consumers used to self-managing their mental health on their phones now have affordable access to a professional psychologist from the comfort of their own couch. Mindler is a great example, allowing consumers freedom of choice in who, when and where works best for them. They also offer exercises between sessions, and tools to help people to better understand and manage their mental health.

Does your HealthTech brand need a connected story? Speak to us at Re.

At Re, we are under the guidance of a clear and powerful principle - design to connect. This permeates every aspect of what we do as a business. We help our clients develop a story they can tell, tools they can use, and experiences that engage people in their world.

We believe that successful HealthTech brands have strong connections with culture, colleagues and customers and so at Re, we work with startups, scale ups and shake ups in the health space to define where to build these connections, and how.

Stay tuned for the final part of our HealthTech series where we will offer a way forward for creating HealthTech brands that are fit to compete.

If you’d like to find out more about Part III, as well as Re, our experience and how we can help build your brand please contact

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