[How To] Use Storytelling for Greater ROI on Your Healthcare Marketing

By | Published November 16th, 2022 | in INDUSTRIES

[How To] Use Storytelling for Greater ROI on Your Healthcare Marketing

Healthcare advertisements that evoke empathy forge stronger and more memorable connections. That’s where storytelling comes into play. 

Last year, Healthcare companies spent around $36 billion on advertising. These ads came in all shapes and sizes but the one thing that differentiates the more successful ads from the others is that they emphasize not the company or the solution to someone’s problem, but the story behind them. 

“The best bridge between a presenter and an audience,” someone once wrote, “is a story.”

Visual storytelling is one of, if not the, most important tenets of advertising for the Healthcare Industry. The power of a relatable story can create emotion and empathy that foster stronger calls to action and audience appeal.

But effective storytelling is challenging. Consumers are smart, inundated, and need to relate to companies in order to recognize them. 

Let’s dig into some strategies that can help your storytelling marketing work.

  • The Science Behind The ROI Of Storytelling In Healthcare
  • What are the 3 Goals of Storytelling in Healthcare? 
  • How to achieve storytelling in healthcare marketing
  • The 4 Pillars of Storytelling in Healthcare
  • 4 Kinds of Storytelling in Healthcare Advertisements
  • The Different Mediums To Accomplish Great Storytelling in Healthcare
  • 3 Great Examples Of Storytelling In Healthcare And Their Results
  • Build trust, loyalty and ROI by telling the story of your customer

The Science Behind The ROI Of Storytelling In Healthcare

Stories have the power to change our brain chemistry. In a recent NPR article,  Uri Hasson, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University, says that, as we hear a story unfold, our brain waves actually start to synchronize with those of the storyteller so that the person telling the story is in control of the emotions the listener feels.

But Why is Storytelling Important in Healthcare Advertising ROI? 

 “Doctor-speak”, tech-talk or clinical details can make target audience listeners’ eyes glaze over. On the other hand, It’s proven that storytelling creates greater patient awareness, understanding, and compliance (Healthcare Success Storytelling Magic). 

Thus when a healthcare company tells an engaging story, people are far less likely to ignore it and far more likely to engage with and remember it. They pay attention because it’s a story about them.  

And according to Forbes, storytelling elevates the meaning of the brand and better crystalize how it fits into customers’ lives.

What are the 3 Goals of Storytelling in Healthcare? 

We tell stories so that complex, uninteresting topics become more relatable and compelling to our target consumers, all which have very direct results with ROI.

1. Measured Growth

We are genetically wired to love and respond to stories. Through storytelling content, you can easily expand your consumer base and brand awareness.  

81% of marketers found increased traffic occurred with as little as six hours per week invested in compelling video content.

2. Increased Brand Recall

Psychologist Jerome Bruner found that we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been told to us within a story.

3. Audience Connection 

Stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than facts by creating real emotions that forge real connections with your audience.

How to achieve storytelling in healthcare marketing

Achieving effective, ROI driving storytelling requires a narrative that’s going to appeal to the ideal customer you want walking through your door. 

Let’s go over a few strategies to help you do that. 

The 4 Pillars of Storytelling in Healthcare 

1. People 

People connect with other people, not companies. They connect with real emotions, problems, hopes, and dreams. 

They connect to stories about making real people’s lives better and easier. About healing and living a better, more fruitful life. Conquering overwhelming challenges and facing all odds.

2. Problem / Solution

Every good story has a problem (the journey) and a solution (the payoff). 

The problem needs to be clear, well-defined, and be directly linked to the solution you are presenting to your audience to reinforce why they need you. And when they see their problem—or the character in your story’s problem—being solved, they feel a sense of relief. 

3. Purpose 

What’s the greater calling behind the narrative you’re telling? Why should your audience care? This “why” (or purpose) is the most powerful tool for your story. 

Most importantly, this purpose should unify all 4 pillars and inspire the final payoff. 

4. Payoff 

The audience needs to see what happens to the characters they’ve invested their time into. Did they succeed? Did they overcome their obstacles? Is the drama resolved? 

This resolution is why your audience will stick around. It brings relief, balance, and makes us feel like the world is right again. It gives us hope—and hope inspires action. 

4 Kinds of Storytelling in Healthcare Advertisements 

We’ve seen that these four directly align with most healthcare campaigns. 

1. Consumer Identification

These are the stories that start with “Do you ever feel like…” or “Have you been suffering with….?”

Your story starts with the identification of the problem your consumer is facing, then takes the consumer through a journey that ends with how your product can solve their problem.  

A great example of this is this UPMC commercial. 

And this Mayo Clinic commercial.

2. Inspirational 

Nothing drives action like hope. Healthcare marketing, at its core, is about giving hope. Inspirational ads usually tackle a huge problem, with either a fictional character or maybe a real-life documentary series. 

3. Case Studies or Real Patient Stories

Real patient stories are an incredible way to relate to and generate empathy from your target consumer. They incorporate the other three kinds of stories as well. They can be inspirational, they can show how a conflict is resolved, and they can identify the consumers who may have similar circumstances. 

Ambient did an amazing real patient story last year with Paragon Vision where we followed a pro rock climbing athlete named Sierra Blair-Coyle battle with nearsightedness affecting her career. Thankfully, Sierra was able to overcome those obstacles, all thanks to the help of Paragon CRT. 

The Different Mediums To Accomplish Great Storytelling in Healthcare 

Your healthcare customer can see an average of over 600 marketing messages a day. Using these storytelling mediums may help your brand stand out. 

Video Production

  • Producing memorable story driven content that grabs a hold of the heart and mind to better connect with your audience or customers. That’s the core of video production no matter what the deliverable. Especially when it comes to advertisement or recruiting in the healthcare space.


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and they can tell a great story by themselves. If done right, photography is the number one brand positioning move that will set you apart and create a cohesive atmosphere across all channels. Web, print, social, you name it. The secret is to be intentional about what moment you’re trying to capture and why.

Click HERE for examples 

Branded Content

This could be a web series or a digital television show geared totally around a product. Unlike commercials, these tell a full story. We meet characters ,they have problems to solve, and we follow their journey to find the solution. Healthcare Companies use branded content to demonstrate their products in action while telling a great story.


Documentaries come in all shapes and sizes, long-form, short-form, and this is where healthcare companies can do a deep dive. No matter the issue that’s taking the focus, it’s a sure fire way to cover a lot of information in an engaging way. Information that would be considered too granular for a TV commercial or even branded content.

TV Commercials

Traditional TV spots are usually :08, :15, :30, or :60 seconds long, and can play in any size market. These are good top of funnel calls to action that immediately and quickly get an offer or pertinent information out to the masses through various channels.


Animation and VFX offers a unique and vibrant way to entertain people and is a powerful form of creative expression. If done right, it can be used as a tool to accomplish things that would simply not be possible in cam or would break the bank to achieve on a practical level. From rotoscoping and compositing to character design and much, much more. 

Real Patient Testimonials

Let your patients speak for you. These still follow the four pillars of storytelling in healthcare advertising, but use real patients to tell stories of their own problem and journey to solutions.

Case Studies

Building long standing relationships with your clients is essential for healthcare companies. Case studies can help you build the foundation of a new relationship by providing one key ingredient… trust. These are typically short vignettes or a series of videos that detail one condition, medicine, or piece of equipment designed to help people.

3 Great Examples Of Storytelling In Healthcare And Their Results

  • Vitalant (B2C)
    • With its 127 blood donation centers spread across 40 states, and providing blood transfusion services to nearly 1,000 hospitals, Vitalant is one of the oldest non-profit blood service providers in the United States. This advertisement was genius. When you’ve just re-branded a company and you’re trying to create great B2C content that articulates your mission in an unexpected way, refer to this example.

  • Reputation.com (B2B)
    • Reputation.com is a business-to-business online reputation management and customer experience management company. They wanted to highlight their most important case study, banner health, and we thought this was a great example of good B2B storytelling that was impactful.

  • Remarkable Health
  • Remarkable Health is the leading Provider Success Platform Company focused on the Behavioral Health Industry. They had a strong mission and they wanted to scream it from the rooftops. In this mission video, they were able to articulate what drives the company on an inspirational level. As well as shine a light on their company culture.


We Produce Healthcare Sensitive Storytelling with a Return on Investment

We believe in the power of real emotion and storytelling within healthcare advertising, and have been producing impactful and engaging stories in the healthcare space for over a decade.  

When it comes to commercials and advertising campaigns, no one has to tread a thinner tightrope than the Healthcare Industry.  

Our approach, mission, and values have storytelling at the center while in strict compliance with HIPAA rules and regulations

Working with the healthcare industry is something we pride ourselves on. Over our collective thirty years in the business, we’ve mastered working with necessary compliance such as HIPAA and have established ourselves with some top-tier healthcare marketing partner brands.  

CTA: Build trust, loyalty and ROI by telling the story of your customer

71% of people say they have more trust in a brand if they feel that the brand is putting people over profit. See how we’ve impact healthcare companies just like yours with amazing storytelling. 

About The Author:

John Schaus


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Have a project in mind?
We can't wait to hear from you!

The easiest ways to get in touch with us are to request a meeting, give us a call, or shoot us an email.

[email protected]
(480) 420 4368

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