June 20, 2024

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most important health challenges

Changing women’s health: Can storytelling heal the system?

Olivia Dias, digital designer at creative agency Driftime, explains why founder stories and connecting with audiences across digital touchpoints are essential for FemTech success.

The global FemTech market is expected to exceed $108bn by 2032, driven by the increasing development of products and services tailored to meet the unique healthcare needs of women. Women face myriad health requirements distinct from those experienced by men, prompting the evolution of the FemTech sector to address issues such as menstruation, menopause and reproductive health. 

This is largely due to the underrepresentation of women in medical research. Until 1993, women were routinely excluded from clinical trials, and even today, around 80% of healthcare venture capitalists have not invested in women’s healthcare products. Consequently, significant gaps exist in our understanding of how certain treatments and interventions may impact women differently from men. FemTech has emerged as a response to address some of these critical gaps. 

Make a connection 

For FemTech products to connect deeply with women, they need to offer solutions that go beyond basic medical needs to consider the unique experiences of their health journeys. Storytelling plays a big role here, helping to empower, create empathy and build a sense of community. By sharing compelling stories from founders, FemTech brands can build trust and make women feel more in control of their health. Digital design is crucial here, as it helps spread these stories across different online platforms, reaching women everywhere and promoting inclusivity. 

Establishing a founder-consumer connection makes perfect sense when you consider that a significant portion of FemTech products have been created by women, often in direct response to their own health requirements. In fact, over 70% of FemTech companies have at least one female founder. 

Validate and educate 

Despite all the progress, a notable gap persists in research and comprehension of female health issues. This presents FemTech brands with an opportunity to challenge stigmas and promote awareness, ultimately striving to normalise discussions surrounding women’s health. 

The conversation around menopause, for example, has evolved in recent years to prioritise empowerment, education, inclusivity and advocacy, aiming to improve the experiences and outcomes for women. Successful brands know how to read the room and communicate to target audiences in a way that reflects these changes in attitude.  

A brand’s landing page plays a crucial role in capturing information and presenting it in a way that is easy for visitors to understand. By blending elements of the brand story with relevant data points, you can create an immediate and relatable connection with users, helping them grasp the significance of a product and why it addresses a real need. 

Take Midday Health, a digital menopause solution founded by Ann Garnier, as an example. It excels in empowering users right from the start. It strategically leverages impactful data on its landing page to offer immediate educational insights that resonate with users.  

Be transparent and resonate 

According to a recent survey by Label Insight, 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency – and using the founder story as a digital marketing tool absolutely plays into this concept. Putting a face and narrative at the heart of a FemTech brand humanises the service or product.  

Period tracker app Clue does this well. Through a content hub housed in the app, users are not only given myth-busting health advice but also told personal stories, including the birthing story of founder Ida Tin. Creating a fluid interface that brings the founder into the narrative creates a transparent reason for audiences to trust the intention of the product. 

Destigmatise and embrace 

Destigmatising female health topics is a major part of the journey, too. Many of us remember the adverts for ‘discreet’ feminine hygiene products that men couldn’t distinguish from a sweet wrapper. We’ve come a long way since then, thankfully. 

But although we’re making huge leaps in destigmatising some areas, there are others that still evoke shame and embarrassment. Dialogue around female sexual experiences, for instance, is broadening, but remains somewhat awkward.  

Sextech brand Ferly lightens the narrative through its digital branding and design, however. Founders Anna Hushlak and Billie Quinlan discuss some of the issues around female sexuality that concern them in a frank and approachable way –  “being distracted, painful sex, overthinking, feeling disconnected, lacking confidence, unsure how to communicate, unable to get in the mood, struggling with orgasm, worrying whether we’re ‘normal’…” 

This approach addresses any elephants in the room and is woven throughout the entire digital design experience, with direct links – ‘increase my desire for sex’, ‘ditch shame’, ‘be sexually confident’ – taking the user straight to the right resources. 

Play the long game 

Facilitating access to information is crucial for breaking taboos surrounding female health.  

However, some brands falter in their digital design by first providing abundant free access to resources, enticing users, only to later erect a paywall once they are invested. 

This type of digital approach – we call it ‘deceptive design’ – can be construed as insensitive and inauthentic. However, if the founder’s story remains central to the ideology of the brand, along with valid and useful resources always being available to all, consumers can be encouraged to pay for different level entry points as they upscale their commitment. 

Storytelling has power  

FemTech is a burgeoning sector and these are exciting times. Many products and services are born out of founders’ personal experiences or frustrations with existing healthcare options, which can create a strong emotional connection with potential users facing similar challenges.  

It’s all about using the right tools to build trust, foster a sense of belonging and combat feelings of isolation. Sharing your story digitally means staying connected to a community and influencing how healthcare services cater to women’s needs.