10 rebranding pitfalls that health care brands can avoid

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Your healthcare marketplace is evolving from sick care to “well” care. Customers, formerly known as patients, are actively shopping providers. New competitors are encroaching upon your traditional territory. And your brand doesn’t align with your going-forward business strategy. Given the above,  you’ve made the decision to re-brand.

While your health system or hospital might have the skills, discipline and stamina to execute a strategically and tactically flawless re-brand – many will leave something behind.

Here are 10 common pitfalls to avoid:

1. Ready, Fire, Aim. The significant organizational time and expense of re-branding warrants tangible returns. Isolate and agree upfront to the specific business and brand issue(s) that this effort will address. In no case, should the decision be based on in our opinion

2. Not Realizing What’s On The Table. Your brand encompasses all the characteristics, both tangible and intangible, that surround your services. As such, realize that everything your organization says and does makes up the brand experience and reflects back upon your organization. So everything you do should be up for evaluation and refinement based on future business direction and brand positioning.

3. Going It Alone. Just as you wouldn’t diagnose your own physical ailments, the expertise and objectivity of an external consultant is critical to guiding you through the process and to credibly representing the issues and selling internally to your leadership, Board and teams.

4. Disregarding Your Legacy. While you can’t be led by the past, you never want to cast aside the strategic and tactical equities that the organization has worked so hard to create. So don’t disregard what’s working and can be built upon, because these are the foundational building blocks for genuinely ensuring future relevancy.

5. Not Having Key Influencers and Decision-Makers On Board. It’s a huge mistake to undertake this effort without the full, acknowledged support of senior administration leadership, medical leadership and Board(s). You then need to make them part of the process, understand their opinions and expectations, and keep them appraised along the way. We can promise you that none of them like surprises or being rail-roaded into a position.

6. Inward Perspective. Your external audiences are the ultimate arbiters of your reputation and financial success, so understand how they view the organization. Contrast and reconcile these perspectives against your own to determine the gaps that need to be filled to realize your objectives.

7. Bypassing Insiders. All employees must be on board. They need to understand and believe in the program, have a clear picture of its desired outcome and where they “personally” fit in the process. And they need to equipped and mobilized to deliver on your new brand promises. Generally speaking, you should ensure they all pass through three re-branding stage gates – Hear It, Learn It, Live It.

8. Lack of Demonstrated Senior Leadership Commitment. All the time and expense of this effort will be wasted unless leadership communicates [and is ready to demonstrate] their commitment and makes public that they expect the same of others.

9. Branding As A One-Time Event. As James Gandolfini would say “fuggedaboudit.” Because branding is like a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line. It always takes longer than you budgeted for, both time wise and cost wise.

10. Neglecting To Patrol And Control. All your hard work is out the window if execution doesn’t reflect your strategy. Create a cross-functional team to oversee on-brand implementation. And monitor and participate in the ongoing conversations taking place about your organization through social media to help shape (at least as much as you can) your own destiny.

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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