Brand culture: your first point of healthcare marketing activation

Regardless of whether you’re rebranding or repositioning your healthcare organization, there’s only one way to ensure that your corporate brand has the power to unite the stakeholders inside and around your organization. It requires your brand to be center stage and in alignment from the inside out. It requires a brand culture.

At Trajectory, we define brand culture as squeezing every bit of meaning, purpose and direction out of your brand to drive the everyday actions of the people who drive your business performance. This starts with aligning your healthcare organization brand with corporate vision, mission, values, patient experience, employee evaluations, etc. as your first point of healthcare marketing activation. Bypass this first step, and there’s no lasting means to guide everyone forward together.

With any meaningful brand change, we talk about needing to engage and align people on a shared journey. But we don’t do the required heavy lifting. I discussed this recently with Jeanne Adam, who is COO, Marketing and Communications from Orlando Health, which we rebranded a number of years back.

According to Jeanne, we all talk about how important starting from the inside out is. But we don’t tend to do the parallel work necessary to get internal audiences on the same page. From a higher level brand change/brand development perspective, I think the one thing we tend to miss on is not pushing and pulling on the organization’s ideas and practices that first need to align with a new brand. Which only then can get everyone pulling in the same direction and for the same reasons. 

In our view, the first activation point for creating meaningful brand change begins under the corporate hood, so to speak. Aligning brand with vision and purpose. Then doing the hard work necessary to align brand with the things that inform everyday actions, like standards of behavior, patient experience, employee evaluation criteria and employee recognition.

Branding today must be a company-wide initiative that extends beyond the provence of the marketing department and grows out of the internal workings of the organization. It requires building a brand culture that is rooted in the heart of the organization and radiates outward as a common set of actions based on shared meaning, purpose and direction.  This brand culture will not only unite employees in a common vision and purpose, it will also attract consumers and engage them in a deep and meaningful relationship that transcends the traditional marketing goals of building preference and loyalty.

In today’s business climate, Peter Drucker’s words have never been truer – culture eats strategy for breakfast.


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.