The feelgood factor
Elvira Arzubialde Saenz-Badillos
Spain Country Manager
WPP Health & Wellness
Investment in health adds to brand value
If we look at the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, what do many of them have in common?
Of course, all of them are innovative brands, brands that dedicate a great deal of effort, resources and talent to meeting the needs of their consumers and to determining the most appropriate way to approach them. But there is something more that unites many of them: the interest they show in health.
Beyond the fact that we belong to an aging society, that health is an issue of interest to the general population, or that health-related industries are large and growing, it’s fast becoming the case that new technologies can help power improvements in health care. Managing our health with digital resources is something that some still consider science-fiction, but we are approaching the time when it will be part of our daily routine.
After some unilateral initiatives that were not very successful, based exclusively on consumer knowledge and a brand’s interest in health, brands have gradually come to understand the complexity of the health world. They have begun forming alliances that are achieving much more encouraging results.
Brands with deep consumer knowledge are working with the pharmaceutical industry, universities, startups, scientific societies, associations, insurers and health professionals. This union of talent is unprecedented, and is contributing to the transformation of the management of health, to enable healthcare to reach more people and to offer better quality services, and at the same time can fuel brand value.
Some of these exciting initiatives are being promoted by brands that lead the BrandZ™ ranking.
Google has considerable experience in healthcare-related investments. Google Ventures is one of the leading investments in digital health. Bill Maris, managing partner, sees it this way: "The collision between new technologies and the life sciences is going to bring about a radical change to the meaning of health care and what it will be like in 20 years." And they clearly demonstrate their interest in different areas, such as the struggle against aging, with their Calico project; Verily, a science division of Google, works with top researchers and doctors to define what they call "The True Picture of Human Health", and they are working on some futuristic projects that could change health care forever. The management of diabetes, using contact lenses to detect blood-glucose levels through tears, is one of many projects that help bring value to the Google brand.
Apple has introduced itself into the world of health through several different products. The Apple Watch allows you to record the user's daily activity, heart rate and many other variables. The HealthKit Platform allows you to store data from different devices and share it with healthcare professionals, and there is CareKit, which facilitates the development of health-related apps. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, declares his support for health-related development: "We believe we are only at the beginning of being able to offer our customers incredible solutions related to health care and wellness."
Microsoft counts among its investments one in startup Editas Medicine, winner of the Prince of Asturias Award for the discovery of a technology that allows publication of the genome more quickly and accurately than ever before. With the Healthcare NExT program, they aim to facilitate management processes for physicians and nursing services to create a more efficient healthcare network and a secure and trusted healthcare network. In addition, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they donate millions to medical research projects around the world.
Facebook, for its part, has announced a new shareholder structure that will allow the company to free up money to finance projects in science,, education and health.
Finally, IBM has demonstrated its interest in the health world with the launch of IBM Watson Health and the Watson Health Cloud platform, which allows healthcare professionals to manage health-related data in a secure environment. "We need to improve the use and analysis of all this information in real time for the benefit of patients and general wellbeing," said John E. Kelly III, senior vice-president of solutions and research at IBM.
The first Spanish brand in the global BrandZ ranking, ZARA, also invests millions in the support of health through the foundation launched by its most senior executive..
All of these examples, and many others we will see in the coming years, show that the value of a brand depends on many different factors, and the value of contributing to developments in health is on the rise.