@NHS: creating an authentic brand voice on Twitter

@NHS: creating an authentic brand voice on Twitter

The NHS’s new Twitter account puts real voices and experiences at the heart of its brand.

The NHS recently launched its very own Twitter account (@NHS). Over the next three months, content on the channel will be curated by healthcare professionals working within the NHS, as well as patients who will live tweet their stories and personal experiences.

What is striking about this campaign is that it puts authenticity and personality at its heart – something that many brands, both in the healthcare sector and beyond, sometimes struggle to do.

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(Credit:@NHS)

For example, a quick look at the Twitter channels for Bayer and Merck, pharmaceutical companies that are arguably more progressive in their approach to social media than most, shows that content focuses on disease awareness, congress activity and corporate announcements. Their brand personality is perhaps 2D in that it talks about areas of commercial interest to the business, and Twitter is rarely a medium for them to communicate directly with patients.

Real voices, real engagement

The NHS Twitter initiative stands out in the healthcare sector because it allows the people who experience the NHS and its services to directly craft the organisation’s Twitter personality. The people who would usually passively consume corporate brand content are now the creators of it. We get a sense that the content pushed out is uncensored and real.

The campaign takes the NHS off newspaper pages, where we are so used to reading about bad news – the financial squeeze, underfunding critical services and staff shortages – and humanises it. It brings to life the positive impact the NHS has on people day to day and allows the wider world to see the NHS through the eyes of a patient or doctor.

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(Credit:@NHS) Richard Orchard above – the first @NHS curator

The first week followed the journey of Richard Orchard, a cancer patient being treated by the NHS for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Through his posts we learn about his experience with chemotherapy, nerve-wracking consultations with his doctors, and we can even see pictures of the machines he’s been up close and personal with during this treatment. This week’s curator is Dan who gives an insight into his role as a Consultant Paramedic.

Each week the Twitter channel will have a new curator lending their voice to the NHS. This myriad of personalities will create a patchwork of personal stories and ultimately help to create much more authentic and meaningful content than a brand could devise by committee.

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