12 thoughts on “Machines that go “ping”: a hospital branding adventure”

  1. I’ve seen a lot of naming of medical products over the years that are driven by the engineer culture – clumsy, meaningless, and/or technical names. You see this a lot in consumer electronics as well. Engineer and product designer types should NEVER be involved in branding/naming. And you can find more of my thoughts in my Nymoxlyrum XG-1291x branding manual…

  2. Great point. My background is in consumer software which has the same problems.

    But It struck me that the hospital “brandscape” is a fascinating intersection point between blue-collar industrial values, a largely white collar user-base, bureau-centric purchasing chains, and as you point out, engineer-driven product development practices.

    Please tell me you’ve actually written the Nymoxlyrum XG-1291x brand manual. If you haven’t, somebody should!

  3. Dennis/Steve – I’m so glad you made the connection to software and electronics. I’m right there with you. I’ve had the weird but fortunate experience, to witness naming from the inside, at different firms that do very technical sorts of things (from software to consulting to CE). One of them was a health care consulting firm. I got so annoyed by the bad marketing in health care that I started a quixotic campaign (writing articles and such; doing a few presentations; about bad health care branding). I started from the advertising perspective, but later, got more caught up in the idealistic side of it (about people getting access to health care). Love this post and really enjoyed the comments. Thanks.

    1. Eric, always nice to hear from a new voice here at the Differ – particularly one that knows the industry I’m showing myself to be such an outsider in.

      Interesting approach setting up a “fight bad branding” campaign in the healthcare space. I could easily do the same in my town with a) high tech products & companies, b) government programs, c) not-for-profits, and d) local retail branding.

      And it’s all about helping people get access to the stuff they need isn’t it?

  4. Ouch that hurt, being an engineer myself.

    Could “bad branding” just simply be compliance to the regulations?

    The FDA does not mince their words when they talk about labeling (yes, yes, everything that you mentioned above and showed are considered labeling not just the stickers and so does every brochure, insert, package, etc that accompany the deemed device). http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/Overview/DeviceLabeling/default.htm
    If one ever intend to sell any medical device internationally, one will have to check each country for their regulations (or lack thereof) before even sending the first shipment.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am all for good branding. However in the Medical Devices industry we cannot choose to leave out some information out just because it looks cluttered or too technical or stretch the truth to sell more. If we do, someone can die. Period. Safety is the main concern.

    As for the “I-HAND” story, even if you had handed her something totally wrong, she is trained (hopefully) to check first to know what to administer to your wife. Devices are meant to be used by trained professionals unless specifically having clinical trials to demonstrate home use or other generic usability (e.g. the little diabetes blood level check devices you see sold at the drugstore and which all diabetics can use safely on their own at home).

    I work in the Regulatory Affairs department and my role is to ensure that our company claims (usually through Marketing and Sales) are within our claims (those approved by the agencies).

    I guess the best example of “off-labeling” in pharma that comes to mind is Pfizer being fined $2.3 billion by the FDA
    Thanks to them, we can’t even provide a pen to our next sales event now!!

    1. This is exactly why I tried not to be too harshly critical in reviewing these brands: I simply don’t have the background in the regulatory and business environment to see which choices are “bad branding” and which fall under “we have to do this by law”.

      So yes, I have loads of sympathy and admiration for those of you who spend your careers in the trenches of such a highly regulated minefield.

      However, that said, even if the choices are limited, there are choices. And looking at some of the naming conventions and design issues from within the same regulatory ecosystem, there is still room for effective, user-centric branding (probably followed by several pages of disclaimers).

  5. Oh Dennis, I forgot to mention that I am a recent fan of your blog.

    I forgot to mention that the Purell and Soap incident would concern me a bit more if I was an investigator. For instance, while using Purell to “fight” H1N1, the alcohol content might interfere with how a device operates. E.g.

    (BTW this is all public access so put in your favourite brand there and see if any adverse events ever occurred. You would be surprised how misused some products are).

    I put “fight” in parentheses because there are non-alcohol based products which do a better job. Purell has a better brand, that’s all. I have even seen “purell” used as a verb 😉

    1. Thanks Jennifer for reminding me of two things: 1) the FDA site, and 2) Purell as a brand.

      The rise of the Purell brand in the post-pandemic world is a topic I’ve been meaning to address on my blog. One of my first clients Paul Webber(www.webbertraining.com) is in the industrial / medical cleaning supplies business as well as being an advocate and trainer in the field of infection control. So perhaps an interview in the new year would be in order. Hmm.

  6. Hi just thought i would certainly let you know one thing.. It is twice today i’ve landed on your website in the last 3 weeks looking for totally unrelated things. Spooky or what?

  7. This excellent confused myself. Within the young age of H1N1, I was actually diligently getting my hands washed, and also whenever I couldn’t, I would Purell them (note the verb).  But the supplier of the hand-pumps above definitely performed to standardize the appearance and additionally feel of the labels, actually though they are different companies (and put in French for a Canadian audience). The outcome? I saved finding for the Purell whenever I required soap and also vice versa. In this situation, the manufacturer’s branding could have been even more useful.

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