How to avoid “karaoke” healthcare marketing

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As you know, Karaoke is a form of entertainment in which people sing songs into a microphone over prerecorded music tracks. So while it’s their voice coming out of the mic, it’s someone else’s original song.

Hopefully, the idea of karaoke doesn’t remind you, or your served communities, of your healthcare marketing. Hopefully, you’re not a health system or hospital who dwindles into the karaoke club where everyone sing’s someone else’s song.

How can you create an original piece of marketing music that people see themselves in, stop and take notice of and possibly even act on? By actively looking for the strategic and creative whitespaces that can help you break away from your competitors. It’s about looking for conventions across a range of characteristics, and then subtracting what is obvious and adding what is meaningful. We call it No Boundaries℠ Branding, and its our approach to differentiating brands.

Think about it. If you’re constantly comparing yourself with others, you’ll become mainly more comparable. To get people to notice you, let alone take action – you have to be different. Because differentiation, the ability to stand out and apart from others, is one of the most critical components fueling brand success.

Here are some outside category examples of brands carving out their own “differentiating” paths, using some of the characteristics of our No Boundaries℠ Branding approach. Maybe they’ll inspire you to create a new song. Or maybe an entirely new album.  One that’s unmistakably yours.

1. DeclarationLe Labo beauty declares through its manifesto its aspirational and authentic beliefs and motivations, beyond what it simply does for people. It’s front and center to their story, and everything they say and do rings true. No surprise that even its visual presentation reinforces its ideas.  Would you be so bold? Could you be?

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2. Experience Offering. Satisfaction has become table stakes. Consumers expect to be satisfied. Do you treat customers to a “branded” and delighting customer experience. Does it extend across the customer journey – from consideration, to purchase, to post-use experience and to building loyalty?

It could be a seemingly small, but distinguishing and pleasing gesture like a Walmart greeter…

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Or Umpqua Bank’s distinguishing un-banking like approach to banking…

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Or the Culinary Events & Classes that define a Williams Sonoma in-store experience and contribute to building a loyal following, and which can be searched online…

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Do you provide any experiences that are as distinguishing or value-added when you walk through the lobby of your hospital? Or how about another high-traffic location like the cafeteria? So many ideas!

 

3. Dynamism. Is your brand constantly moving and evolving to surprise and delight (and remain relevant to) your audiences? Does it create the moments that can cement powerful bonds with consumers ?

I still love Citibikes. It was part of former Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to improve city life by providing new and simpler forms of transportation. According to Edward Skyler, EVP Global Public Affairs at Citi, “it has little to do with advertising or promotions. It’s about finding a fresh point of relevance that makes a difference for everyday people – whether they are Citi customers or not.”

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More recently, Mastercard is upping the ante on its well-known Priceless campaign.  The goal of the experiential Surprises campaign is to create a positive and emotional bond between the company and its users while showing the unlimited possibilities that comes with owning a MasterCard.

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4. Emotional Pull. Does your brand tap into emotions, which drive much of our decision-making. At Alessi, design is a differentiating strategy. Design triggers emotion, passion, connection. It wins hearts. And it can therefore form the basis for meaningful differentiation. And it’s a “strategy” that takes on more importance for health systems and hospitals, as they compete with more consumer-driven retail and technology players.

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5. Icons. Do your signs and symbols begin to trigger your story? Do they distinguish your experience from others? They should. Meaningful associations transform icons from mere product identifiers into powerful components of identity-shaping experiences. Like these (including our Orlando Health logo developed as part of our re-branding, now front and center on Orlando City Soccer Club jerseys)…

 

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6. Community. Let’s face it. Most consumers have no desire to engage with brands. They don’t even have time to engage with their friends. So don’t screw around with their time. Your only goal (as is theirs) is to better their lives. And our POV is that this is best done with your brand acting as the platform through which like-minded individuals can connect, share and mutually benefit. In our book, Utility is job #1. Like Nike Fuel and Fitbit…

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Being Girl…

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And HOG (Harley Owners Group)…

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In the words of Under Armour SVP Brand Creative Steve Battista – it’s about having a relentless curiosity about how to do things differently and tell our story in a better, bigger way — that’s what drives innovation at Under Armour. It’s like every morning when you drive through the city…pass under our logo on the bridge, onto our Baltimore campus, and it’s game on. No Karaoke here!

By the way, here’s a little personal sharing. I used to travel to Tokyo for business. And Karaoke was always on the itinerary. Girl From Ipanema, an old Brasilian bossa nova song, was my thing. Truth be told, I have no idea why😊

 

 

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand consulting and marketing agency specializing in creating momentum for customers, brands and businesses across the related categories of health, wellness and beauty.

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