Hospital marketing — what’s “your” story?

Why is hospital marketing any different from other industries? Why is it that stories that compel people to become part of a brand’s story — so prevalent and powerful across other industries — rarer among hospitals? If you’re setting healthcare marketing strategy for your organization, realize that your story is your invitation into people’s lives. The beginning of a relationship that can either grow and benefit all, or one that never gets off the ground.

Hospital Marketing Stories

Forget your role as hospital marketing director, or CMO. Put you in the role of someone from the outside looking in. Like a healthcare consumer. In and of itself, does a hospital’s story really matter to you. Rhetorical question. When it comes to healthcare marketing, the only thing that matters is how a hospital’s story fits into your life.

Simple concept, but critical to your healthcare marketing success. Because it’s the difference between rising above the noise or getting lost in a BIG sea of 5,000 other marketing messages that hit your audience every day; in the context of the average American spending more than 10 hours a day with various media. To stand out from the crowd and build a successful brand, you need to connect with people on an emotional level. And that’s what stories do best.

Your Hospital Story Doesn’t Matter

Given the inherent importance of health to our lives, every hospital brand deserves to climb higher on the “integral brands in our lives” roster. Every healthcare brand deserves to tell, and demonstrate, a great story. But it requires a change in perspective. To help your brand improve its standing, you need to think first about how to help your customers improve theirs. The more you’re in touch with their larger story, the more you create a brand story that they want to be a part of. You can even take this a step further – don’t tell people a story, give them a story to tell.

What can hospital marketing teams learn from other industries about telling a story? While there’s inspiration to be found across so many other categories, you can start with the increasingly intersecting health + wellness continuum and the stories that other wellness marketing teams and their organizations are telling. In this case, starting with skin care. There are many others we can point to, but they reinforce the same idea.

You might not have heard of Black Chicken Remedies, but here’s a glimpse into the brand. Led by this very human, genuine and relatable story.

Your Story As A Three-Act Play

Like all great brand stories, this story follows a similar arc to a dramatic three-act play:

Act One — set the scene and introduce audiences to the characters, the setting, and the seeds of conflict.
Act Two — characters grow and change in response to conflicts and circumstances. They set about trying to resolve the big problem. Usually, the conflict escalates to a major breaking point.
Act Three — characters resolve the big problem, the story ends and all is well.

This story, as should yours, humanizes your brand and takes prospective consumers to new places. It’s marketing that empathizes, connects and moves people. Inspires their love and loyalty by connecting with a universal emotional chord — a common struggle that, while it may be your story, others can see themselves in. It’s marketing that matters, because its relevant to a customer’s life. Externally vs. inwardly focused rather than marketing that too often leads with our hospital, service lines, technology and accomplishments.

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So what is your hospital marketing brand story? You can start by asking questions like — who are you as an organization? where did you come from? why are you doing what you do? what inspires you? And most importantly, what inspires and guides your customers? As these answers take shape, so will your brand story. As a healthcare marketing agency focused on health + wellness since 1999, Trajectory can help you on your path to a better story. Reach out.

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, launched in 1999, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment to move customers, brands and businesses upward. Prior to Trajectory, Eric served as EVP and Management Board member at Interbrand (the world’s most influential brand consultancy). Before Interbrand, he held senior marketing positions at Beiersdorf Inc. and L’Oreal and advertising account management positions at Marschalk and Benton & Bowles.He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall’s Graduate School of Communications and has lectured at Wharton Business School and Emory Goizueta School of Business.