Mastering Medico-Marketing Copywriting: Unlocking Brain’s Secrets

Written By: Vivek Hattangadi

This is the seventh blog post in the series “Crimes in Medico-Marketing Copywriting”.

Is there anything in this world that is more amazing than the human brain? From animal hunters living in the caves to growing what you want, when you want in the backyards of your palatial 16-roomed mansion is something that the human brain alone could do.

And this remarkable brain has developed artificial intelligence (and yet we are stupidly debating whether AI will replace HI, human intelligence). Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what goes on inside the human brain, and why the same country has produced the brains of an Albert Einstein and an Adolf Hitler? Neuroscience will tell you everything.

And a very interesting thing about your brain! Did you know that your human brain weighs just two percent of your body weight but consumes twenty percent of your energy in a resting stage; and about twenty-five percent when active? However, your brain doesn’t have a reserve of energy to store when it needs it.  So, what does it do?

It does not accept unnecessary information and conserves energy. So, the challenge for every brand manager is to get your brand remembered instantly.

Today doctors are bombarded with an increasing number of messages from pharma companies and doctors (who are first humans) forgetting they too have limitations in their cognitive abilities, (human rationality is limited) brands become the tools that doctors use to decide and choose. Your brain is selective about exactly which memories are worth keeping and which can be discarded. This saves energy (and time too). Brands become energy-saving devices as brands provide a pattern.

Have you read Daniel Kahneman’s book “THINKING, FAST AND SLOW’? He writes in this book about System-1 and System-2. This book provides an in-depth examination of the dual process theory of the human mind and how it influences your decision-making. System-1 is automatic and intuitive, while System-2 is conscious and deliberate. Kahneman shows how we often rely on System-1 to make decisions. And the doctors who make prescription decisions aren’t an exception.  

Wouldn’t it be equally interesting to know what goes on inside a doctor’s brain, inside his mind when he makes a prescription decision?  (Even though mind and brain are often used interchangeably in common phrasing, these two are two distinct things.).

The daunting task is to get your brand in the doctor’s System-1.

It’s time for brand managers to tap into the doctor’s psychology of what makes certain brands come to System-1. And for this, you must make your brand the darling brand of the doctors.

Sinek-Keller Brand Equity Model is a wonderful tool to make your brand resonate with doctors and make them fall in love with your brand. The more doctors feel the more they prescribe.

Powerful brands are those that get into unconscious memory and have emotional meanings so that the brand becomes a habit – a part of life.

How do you do that? How do you make your brand easier to remember in your communication process?

When you write your medico-marketing copy, capturing the attention of doctors is crucial. Attention is the most precious asset, writes Matt Johnson Ph.D. his article “The Psychology of How Marketing Captures Our Attention” in ‘Psychology Today’.

There are two fundamental sources of attention: endogenous (from within), and exogenous (from the environment). (1)

Have you ever gone shopping to buy a saree or a salwar suit with your wife? (I do because she uses my credit card as it has higher credit limits.) She is fond of ethnic wear and invariably drags me to Bandhej, Gamthi, or Sanskruti; She has only one goal in mind – to seek what she wants to pay attention to – ethnic wear. She then rationalizes, “Women look best in ethnic dress as it represents the cultural heritage of our country,” she lectures me. “Besides, it captures the attention of my neighborhood ladies.”

Ah, ah! That’s the real reason. That’s endogenous attention. Endogenous attention is because she knows what she wants and focuses her attention only on ethnic wear. It is like wearing blinkers while going shopping.

But my daughter? She is a contrast to her mother. She doesn’t plan. She may go to Globaldesi, Assopalav, Virasat, Westside, FabIndia, or Shoppers Stop. She buys what captures her attention. She is attracted by the flashy lights, the variety of goods they offer, and the freedom to wear them and show it to her mother with a facial expression. “Mama, how do I look? Or will that other one look better?” Without waiting for an answer, she goes to try out the other one. (I go with her only if I have six to eight hours of ‘nothing-to-do time’) Besides she is also attracted by the little gifts and freebies they offer like half a gram silver keychain or ice-cool Coca-Cola.

That’s an example of exogenous attention. She isn’t planning anything, but something from the external world captures her attention. Her attention now is being driven exogenously.

In a controlled study “Interactions between Endogenous and Exogenous Attention during Vigilance” the results confirm that ‘…sudden onsets increased overall perceptual sensitivity in a manner consistent with changes in perception following exogenous spatial cues.’ (2)

This form of attention, exogenous attention, can be used by brand managers to capture the attention of prospects.

The other day I was driving and stopped at a signal on the busy S.G. Road and saw several billboards. But my attention was drawn to a billboard showing Deepika Padukone holding a Smartphone and the tagline says – “Oppo, the selfie expert”. Do you need to say anything more in a selfie-crazy India? I decide my next Smartphone would be Oppo. That’s the power of exogenous attention.

A few weeks later when I go to purchase a Smartphone as a birthday gift for my son, I go straight to an Oppo Shoppe. Exogenous attention now transformed into endogenous attention.

Exogenous attention comes through your copywriting skills and the visuals associated with it, which transform the doctor to endogenous attention and only your brand comes to his mind when prescribing.

Dr. Dilip Gupte is an endocrinologist from Mumbai. He is a fan of DPP4 inhibitors. His endogenous attention is only on DPP4 inhibitors (sitagliptin, vildagliptin). GLP-1RA’s are the latest. You are on a mission to convert the many Dr. Dileep’s to your brand Innotide containing dulaglutide (a GLP-1RA’). Endogenous attention needs to be changed to exogenous attention. One way would be through doing something to catch attention – a unique patient-centered activity that gives a huge PDx or patient-doctor user satisfaction. A contrast to those promoting DPP4 inhibitors.

That’s how you use psychology to bring your brand to the top-of-mind status.

To conclude, brands can influence and control the brains of padocumers. They can change how padocumers percept your brand. They can make padocumers feel emotions that have nothing to do with the functions of your brand. Brands can burrow themselves deep into the subconscious of padocumers. Through ad campaigns, brands can form web associations in the padocumers brains. When these connections are robust and positive, they can change padocumers behavior, nudging them to make “no-brainer” prescriptions when they diagnose and decide the class of medicine to prescribe.

Brands that tap into ‘System-1’ are likely to overshadow the competition. After all, it’s far easier for doctors to automatically reach for a familiar brand than it is to analyze all the available brands and make an informed choice.

Emotional medico-marketing copywriting with strong visuals can be an effective tool for encouraging doctors to prescribe your brand. But their true power comes from fortifying the brand with a pattern of emotions and feelings. 


1. Johnson M. (2023). The Psychology of How Marketing Captures Our Attention. Available on: Accessed on:18 September 2023

2. Maclean KA et al (2009). Interactions between Endogenous and Exogenous Attention during Vigilance. Available on:,word%2C%20Stroop%2C%201935. Accessed on: 28 May 2022

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