Clinical trials explained: Why imagery matters...

November 1, 2023

As humans we can process images much faster than words. Which is why choosing the correct imagery is incredibly important when developing materials for patients. On the one hand, images can help add meaning to a story but when used incorrectly, can confuse the reader.

Images can also evoke strong emotions. So careful placement of imagery can help to replace negative emotions such as fear and anxiety, with more positive ones instead, specifically reassurance.

Fears and concerns about taking part, alongside a lack of information and awareness are some of the major hurdles for clinical trial recruitment. Deciding to join one or not is a highly emotive decision for potential participants, so being able to connect with them on an emotional level is vital to help put them at ease and allow them to think clearly about the decision at hand.  

Connecting on an emotional level is what really counts and using imagery is a great way to do that.

Grabbing attention

To build trial awareness, recruitment advertising is crucial. Making clinical trials visible in the community, such as in pharmacies and doctors’ surgeries, is a great way to communicate directly with people who might otherwise be unaware that recruitment is taking place.

As well as being visible in the right places, recruitment adverts also need to stand out from the crowd and ultimately ‘speak’ to people. Here’s what we think recruitment advertising should do…

We all lead busy lives and are constantly bombarded with information from lots of different places. So, to attract the reader’s attention we must first catch their eye with something that stands out. That’s the hard bit done! Then it’s a case of keeping that attention by stimulating interest, before establishing a connection with the reader, compelling them to act.

Recruitment advertising, done well, can do all three!

So, how do we make sure it’s done well?

For us, it begins by gathering insights through focus groups, interviews, and social listening which allows us to gather important patient insights. These help us to not only understand possible emotional responses, but also what information people considering joining a clinical trial want to know. A branding model can also help establish what motivates people to participate in a trial.

With this information, we can then start to think about how we use these insights to develop meaningful, yet eye-catching imagery for our recruitment adverts.

Of course, we also challenge the imagery at every step by asking some very key questions. Things such as:

  • How can we make this stand out on a busy clinic noticeboard?
  • Will it resonate with patients and their families?
  • Could it spark people’s curiosity to learn more about the study?
  • Can the imagery and graphic style be used across all study materials to help create continuity and a feeling of recognition and trust?
  • Could the use of icons enhance and support the story or content? Iconography is great at conveying information and elevating information - you can read more about iconography here.

Pictures can often live up to their promise of speaking a thousand words. And often in the context of clinical trials, they can be the unspoken words that help to build an emotional connection. Which is exactly why we prioritise understanding patients’ perspectives and creating meaningful imagery when supporting clients with their clinical trial materials.  

If you’d like to get a picture of how we could help with your clinical trials, let’s talk.

You can read all our latest clinical trials explained blogs here.

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