Forum Posts Analysis Shows Patients Suffer From Identity Loss

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Question

What message will resonate with patients suffering from a severe form of an autoimmune condition?

 

Research

Patients with a certain autoimmune condition suffer from raised, red, scaly patches on their skin. Because of how their skin looks, patients often find themselves in social isolation, which is the most common advertising theme in this category of prescription medications.

To find a message that would break through the competitive clutter, we scraped and analyzed over 5,000 forum posts by patients with a severe form of the condition.

We used our proprietary Core Motives Elicitation Method (COMET) to understand what was missing from patient's lives and what was missed by them the most.

As expected, need for connection was one such motive. Our analysis revealed another, stronger one — the loss of self-identity. Patients feel as if the disease has overtaken their true identity, and transformed them into a manifestation of their disease. Patients also feel as if there is a disconnect between the public self and the usual or ideal self due to the limitations the condition inflicts on them both physically and mentally.  They seek to find a meaning in or justification for their suffering.  Locus of control is externalized; they are victims of forces beyond their control.

 

Impact

The study supported an award-winning advertising campaign for a pharmaceutical client.


With Blair Ballard, Domenic Dion, and Andres Hernandez.