Great healthcare branding: linking know-how and emotion

Know-How

Every great brand has both a strong performance story and a strong emotional story that speaks to the consumer.

We know that know-how is important to health system and hospital brand leaders and marketing teams. It’s conveyed all the time through awards, technology and thought-leadership; in marketing campaigns, on website home pages, in annual reports. But in and of itself, know-how doesn’t draw people to you, because it’s more of a category defining characteristic. It might help you to get into the healthcare system or hospital consideration set, but it’s only one side of the “brand attraction” coin.

Emotion on the other hand, gives your brands unique meaning and a unique place in the eyes and lives of your consumers. It creates an instinctive attraction that goes beyond rational reasons for purchase. Even in healthcare, brand attraction is based on the ability to touch your consumers at a deeper level. And great healthcare brands know what their emotive meaning needs to be.

There’s a common misconception that “emotion” only applies to certain “image-based” categories. But this isn’t the case. By way of example, in recent one-on-one board and senior leadership conversations with one of our healthcare system clients, brand strategy conversations became conversations about creating symbolism, cutting through with a unique visual language, creating instantly recognizable images that help people identify with the organization.

Symbolism is the language of emotion and triggers decisions by our intuitive brains. Great brands understand the symbolic meaning in everything: and they purposefully use shapes, colors, images and sounds to evoke particular emotions. Their perfectly aligned symbolism constitutes a brand mnemonic, and a powerful language for talking directly to how consumers make decisions.

In the end, it’s know-how overlaid with emotion that helps create a stronger marketplace presence, and a more meaningful and lasting customer connection.

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand and marketing firm specializing in creating momentum for businesses across the health + wellness continuum. The common threads are consumers who want to get well, stay well and play well, and brands that fulfill these aspirations and goals.

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