What healthcare marketers can learn from General Mills about brand purpose

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A great brand purpose is a strong anchoring tool that can change and improve marketing.

While these are the words of Mark Addicks, CMO of General Mills, which appear in this article – General Mills CMO: The Key To Good Marketing Is Having A Purpose, they’re very relevant to healthcare marketers.

As the company moves into digital and engaging consumers around great content and online experiences, he says that “brand fundamentals matter more now than ever before. Once you have a clear purpose, it really makes a brand think differently about content and how to distribute it.”

One of a few different examples he cites is Wheaties. The old-school General Mills brand, which was starting to lose some of its vigor, always aimed to be the “breakfast of champions,” focusing on the sports hero featured on the box, Addicks said. It decided last year that its purpose would shift to fuel the champion on the outside of the box—the consumer. Wheaties re-engineered everything about the brand based on this new purpose, and the brand is doing better.

Relating this back to healthcare, most healthcare systems and hospitals offer basically the same services. The only real sustainable difference is how well you define, stake out and deliver on your brand purpose – which inspires and aligns the internal teams who drive your organization, informs your messaging and marketing and shapes your patient and community experiences.

Today, your brand is expected to do more than paint and convey a picture of your organization. Patients (consumers) are looking for you to play an even more substantial role in their lives and to put purpose front and center (no different from General Mills).  To answer how your healthcare system or hospital brand not only improves their lives through your care, but what role your brand plays in the world.

Crack the code and you set the stage for building very healthy relationships.