Zero Friction for Health Brands

by Toby Trygg


Welcome back to the blog, (alliteration alert ➡️) Fans of a Frictionless Future. As we learned in my last missive, friction in the healthcare space, and the consumer marketplace as a whole, is causing brands and brand stewards constant agita and has them searching for answers. But we all know there can be no answers without first identifying the problem(s). The way we do that with friction is to define the phases along the journey in which friction interferes. The first phase, and the one I will be discussing today, is Discovery Friction.

As most marketers know, the first phase of the consumer/patient journey is discovery, when people take notice and become aware of a brand, product or service. In this phase, friction occurs when people have to make unwanted or misdirected efforts to discover your brand or offerings. And this occurs even before the prospect’s first interaction. According to SalesForce’s State of the Digital Consumer:

73% of consumers expect companies to anticipate and understand their needs or expectations.

Ergo, they want to know that you know them before they even know what you’re offering.

So before we can WD-40 the patient/prospect pathway, we must look at and define Discovery Friction. To level set, Discovery Friction can occur due to three reasons (it’s the magic number, kids) – lack of awareness, information gaps, and technology that isn’t optimized. Read on to find out what I’m talkin‘ bout.


Akin to the death knell of any B-List celebrity, Lack of awareness is the first sign that things are going downhill for your brand, be it personal or pharmaceutical. The following four areas define lack of awareness, and we must as marketers, ironically, be aware of them.

  1. Patient/prospect doesn’t know your brand, product, or service exists
  2. Patient/prospect doesn’t know they need your product or service
  3. Patient/prospect is fed irrelevant ads or information.
  4. Patient/prospect gets frustrated from too much time spent searching


A certain supermarket tabloid once employed the tagline “Enquiring minds want to know.” The same holds true for your patient/prospect. Ready and willing to accept new and relevant information, they are all searching for answers, and your brand has to be there to respond. Here are seven ways brand experiences fall short and cause friction. Avoid whenever possible.

  1. Too much/too little information
  2. Lack of expert advice
  3. Inability to chat or ask for help
  4. Risk perceptions unaddressed (safety, privacy, etc.)
  5. No reviews/ratings to encourage interaction
  6. No pricing or location information
  7. Difficult to compare products and services (where’s my infographic?)


It’s 2020. But some brands act like it’s Windows ’95 all over again. As a marketer, look at the five things listed below, then see if your brand communication suffers from any of them. If so, that’s sure to cause friction.

  1. Ads aren’t linking correctly
  2. Complicated registration/form-filling
  3. Loading time too long
  4. No language localization/customization
  5. Content not optimized for all platforms

Now that we’ve – ahem – “discovered” Discovery Friction, I invite you to read my next blog post where the rubber really hits the road (or when the patient visits the doc): Transactional Friction.  Later in the series, I will provide recommendations and solutions to help navigate your brand into a Frictionless Future.

This is the second in a series of blog posts from Toby Trygg, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy Health, about understanding and reducing friction during patient, caregiver, and healthcare professional experiences.