The Internet of Medical Things: Branding in a Digital Age
Published on www.marketinginfarma.nl
Michael Snyder, (Stanford University) was very clear about it: ‘You have a car with hundreds of sensors monitoring its health, so you wouldn’t even think about driving around without those sensors. Yet, the average person has zero sensors and goes around without anything monitoring their health.’
The health care industry is adapting to the opportunities and challenges introduced by the digital age. More tailor-made solutions with patient-oriented medicine, artificial intelligence diagnostics, digitalized accessible data, all driving new efficiencies, better treatment results and breakthrough solutions. The Internet of Medical Things will play a big role in this development and, as with all things, can’t exist without names. This creates new branding challenges different from the highly complex and regulated medicine naming.
Not Just the Product
Some nice examples with specific applications are: iTBra, an intelligent insert under any brassiere, empowering women to enhance their monthly breast self-examination in the privacy of their home. And TJay, a glove with sensors designed for the early detection and management of epilepsy.
It is important to take into account that the device is only one part of the overall solution. TJay acquires signals from the palm and transmits them in real-time to a cloud environment and a software solution, with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), that will evolve as a decision support system for doctors. Platforms like this may even be partly open, allowing 3rd party developers to develop new applications and services. Its data and insights could also drive diagnostics and remedies for other illnesses.
The naming architecture should for these reasons provide a logic long-term structure that optimally supports the direct objectives but doesn’t limit the optimal development of the concept. With clear hierarchy and descriptors for the device, the platform, applications and services.
The name iTBra is a bit descriptive but in that sense neutral, unrelated to the final solutions it provides. This makes it flexible and sustainable. They have secured the URL is valuable, specifically if it will be related to a platform. The name is designated as a trademark with but may be too descriptive for a registration, which makes it more difficult to protect if similar concepts capitalize on the created value. TJay is a more distinctive abstract name that provides optimal flexibility in the long term but will require a bit more explanation at the start. In a highly specialized B2B world this will not be too hard to achieve.
Strategically they both seem to provide good communications platforms for the short and long term. It is however always recommended to create a name that can be fully registered as a trademark, certainly when it is related to patented technology. Registered trademarks are easier to protect than patents and will prevent inferior propositions to capitalize on established equity. For International propositions, which most of them are, Linguistic research can be conducted to prevent any painful language mistakes.
Different from Pharma Naming
Naming in the Internet of Medical Things is much more marketing driven and will not need the strictly regulated distinction of medicine names for safety reasons. It should however never be over promising, claiming unsubstantiated achievements or misinforming the target group and stakeholders. Moral and safety limitations in the medical field always require extra scrutiny.
Concluding: the propositions in the Internet of Medical Things need a solid strategic brand base and logic architecture, supporting differentiation, communication, and navigation. They should fit in the overall portfolio, creating maximum value in the most effective way. Both now and in the future. The legal and regulatory hurdles are still there, but slightly easier to clear. The creation of the names itself allows for more conceptual routes and is in that respect more inspirational.
Joachim ter Haar
Managing Partner Skriptor Zigila