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Success Factors in Value Communication Design - Telling the Story

This is Part 2 of the ‘Success Factors in Value Communication Design’ series, a set of articles that examine the key success factors in creating customer engagement tools that successfully communicate the clinical and economic benefits of pharmaceuticals, devices and diagnostics. These recommendations have been drawn from the experiences of Gijs Hubben, Founder and CEO of BaseCase.

Success Factors in Value Communication Design

Telling the Story

To support the key message, you have to tell a compelling and credible story. A story is basically a sequence of evidence-based facts and assumptions that support the key message. The key message should be the first thing that is communicated during customer interactions (see our first article on the “Key Message”).

As an example, let’s assume we want to communicate the following key message: “Adequate glycemic control will reduce the overall costs of diabetes treatment”. If we want someone to accept such a statement, we have to explain how we reached that conclusion and what evidence we have for it. We need to tell a good story: a series of short arguments that we back up with scientific literature.

To back up our key message above, we could for example present the following story:

The problem:

  • The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is going to dramatically increase in the future
  • Treatment of diabetes is expensive and mostly caused by preventable complications.
  • If nothing more is done, diabetes treatment costs will increase dramatically in the future

The solution:

  • One third of patients have HbA1c levels that are too high
  • Complications can be prevented by keeping patients at optimal HbA1c levels
  • Fewer complications means more sustainable diabetes treatment costs in the future

A good story clearly outlines the problem and the solution. We present our individual arguments in a simple and logical order. We should not try to tell our entire story in one slide, because this increases the chances of losing the chain of argumentation. It’s better to present one or two short arguments at a time.

In any type of communication, the more specific your story is, the more effective it becomes. The story has to be relevant for the ‘context’ of your customer. This is where modern web technology can help to make our story both quantitative and interactive. We can quantify each argument in our story and express what it means in the context of our customer. This is called ‘tailored value communication’, and it increases the relevance of our story for the customer.

Instead of saying “The costs of Diabetes treatment are expected to rise”, we say (for example) “In your population of 50,000 patients, you can expect a cost increase for treating diabetes related complications of $2,500,000 within 8 years.”

A customer may challenge us at any point in our story: “Well, in our hospital it costs much less than to treat one complication than what you are using for your calculation”. We can counter by asking the customer what they pay locally and use that number in our presentation.

It’s easier said than done to keep our story clean and simple - the reality is that the evidence we have to present is often quite complex. The key to success is to layer the information properly: we present our high level argument without any distractions, and we allow the presenter to bring up additional details on-demand. This is the topic of our next article “Layering information”.

As an example, we’ve implemented a BaseCase app using our example story on glycemic control. Click on the image below to launch the app in a new window.


The information in this article is strictly hypothetical - BaseCase makes no claims about medical products nor do we endorse any. The information in this article is not intended for actual decision making.

Success Factors in Value Communication Design: