Humanity is the hot topic.

Coming off an invigorating week at SXSW 2024, there were many insightful sessions about generative AI and its application to brands and marketing. What stood out to me most, though, was how much human connection drove the conversation.

At Pivot, we’re constantly looking for insights we can build around to help audiences feel seen and understood. I was struck by how many of this year’s SXSW speakers talked about this. In today’s world of content overload, it’s more important than ever to strive for meaning.

Embrace emotions.

In her discussion, director and writer Cheryl Miller Houser shared her belief that we need to “feel it all” in order to inspire others to feel it all. This is as true for brands as it is for films. As brand storytellers, we need to allow ourselves to be affected by the people and emotions behind the stories we want to tell and make time and space for this in our process.

Lead with authenticity.

Authenticity is an industry buzzword, but it’s never been more essential. Authenticity looks different for every brand as it’s anchored in values and character. These values need to be specific and meaningful—and push beyond corporate platitudes. Values should be pulled through to guide the voice, stories, and experiences we create for our audience.

Get ruthless about resonance.

Many of us receive a weekly notification telling us how much time we’ve spent on our phones. On average, people spend 2.5 hours a day scrolling their social feeds. As marketers, we have about three seconds to capture someone’s attention. Brand stories need to connect almost instantly. The more honest and relevant the message, the stronger the potential for connection.

Be culture conscious.

Dr. Marcus Collins, author of For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be, describes culture as “a system of values, norms, and symbols that demarcate the expectations (and conventions) of a given group of people.” We live in a cultural era where our brand narrative and the content we publish are co-created with the communities we speak to. This is especially true in healthcare, where we’re speaking to groups with established cultural norms and nuances, like rare disease communities. Brands need to invest time in absorbing cultural intelligence by participating in audience communities and listening.

Prioritize personalization.

As generative AI settles in as a main character in our lives, brands will continue to explore how it can help personalize audience connection. With access to more and more data, brands will be better able to tailor experiences. In healthcare, this may lead to faster diagnoses, greater access to care, enhanced health literacy, and a more seamless patient experience. The more healthcare organizations prioritize personalization at every step of the patient journey, the greater their ability to build loyalty.

For more than 30 years, Pivot Design has created healthcare communications and medical marketing that build connection and consumer trust. We’d love to share some of our work.

Get in touch at