Driving Results With Your Healthcare Branding Strategy
In the absence of a strong healthcare branding strategy, your healthcare marketing efforts are akin to putting regular gas in a premium car. Which means you’re going to take a hit on your performance. This is because your healthcare marketing can’t deliver as smartly and efficiently as it should, and left unchecked, could eventually cause irreversible damage.
The Balance of Power
In today’s evolving healthcare landscape, which continues to look more like retail, the importance of healthcare branding is only growing. It’s a marketplace defined by consumerism, empowerment and choice. And a marketplace that continues to look more like retail, including consumer-based companies like Apple, Best Buy, CVS Health, Google and Walmart, along with the many other technology-driven upstarts. The implication of all of these changes is that prospective healthcare patients are in the proverbial driver’s seat.
Challenges Beget Opportunities
How do you get new patients in the door when their situation calls for a new provider? You begin by developing and nurturing an organization-wide healthcare branding strategy that helps you align internal teams, stand out in the marketplace, attract new patients, and top-notch physicians. Key is ensuring a healthcare branding strategy that puts the consumer at the center of your health system, hospital, physician or medical practice story.
Evolved Consumer Expectations
As the marketplace evolves, so too do consumer expectations. Which means traditional healthcare providers need to reorient to the best practices of other industries. Today’s modern consumers want to connect with organizations driven by an overarching brand idea (what we at Trajectory refer to as Big Energizing Idea). And they want this idea delivered across every experience they have with your organization (what we refer to as a complete brand package).
We visualize this as follows:
A Better Way To Do Marketing
So many of our marketing conversations today are centered on tactics, KPI’s, cost per acquisition, social media metrics, automation. But is this really the best way to build a (purpose-driven, value-based, trusted and sustainable) brand for the 2020 consumer?
We think there’s a better way. Set goals not just for financial performance and market penetration, but brand performance across the seven components of brand experience noted above. A brand is more than its marketing – it’s about delivery of a complete brand package.
Inspiring everything the brand does, inside and out. Applying intentional decision-making to every aspect of a brand you have control over and leaving nothing to chance. Because the era of being able to steer and control your identity is over. We’ve entered the era of orchestrating your total brand experience – a complex symphony involving the organization and its various audiences.
Five Essentials For A Compelling Healthcare Branding Strategy
In an increasingly competitive healthcare marketplace, where traditional provider’s businesses are being disrupted, it’s critical to ensure your marketing is built upon a solid brand foundation. This necessity is exacerbated by the pandemic. Those brands wanting to come out of the Covid-19 crisis stronger and ready for the future will need to reconsider these branding essentials, before bringing them to life across all touchpoints and marketing channels.
Energizing Brand Idea
Great brands have an agreed-upon unifying idea that aligns cross-functional teams and guides them in their efforts. We refer to this as an energizing brand idea. It’s a short phrase that encapsulates and declares how your brand will make a difference in the life of your patients, communities or even the world. Without this unifying statement, you risk efforts becoming disjointed. And prospects potentially tuning out because of the confusion.
St, Judes Children’s Research Hospital is crystal clear about their energizing brand idea…
Do you typically find yourself changing things because things seem off with your brand? Does everyone have a suggestion on how to fix it? Take a step back. Clarify that unifying idea. Then use it to help guide you and the brand.
Right off the bat, there’s a fundamental truth that you must accept – it’s not your story that matters. Your organization is not the hero. This is where many organizations get it wrong. While facts win the day in the news, they don’t when it comes to building a compelling brand.
Organizations intent on telling us about who they are, what they do and why they’re special are getting it wrong. This self-aggrandizing doesn’t work in real life and it doesn’t work when it comes to brand-building.
At Trajectory, we use a framework for developing brand story that we refer to as The Hero’s Journey. It’s a common template (supporting virtually every story to ever gain adoption) that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, meets a mentor who guides them on their journey, helps them overcome adversity and who comes home changed or transformed.
These are the kinds of stories we want to be a part of. Stories that invite us to imagine ourselves inside the narrative. That’s not the story of what your organization does or how it does it. Rather, it’s the story of the individuals we hope to serve. When you make them the hero, you create a very different story from the inward-focused, self-serving tale too many organizations tell.
Beyond driving marketing campaigns, brand stories are the engine underneath success. They motivates employees, define culture, create emotional ties with customers and provides a lens for future vision.
Brand Positioning Statement
Your brand positioning statement is supposed to stake out the territory you want your brand to own in the marketplace among your target audiences. Does yours?
If you were able to scroll through the positioning statements of your fiercest 2-3 competitors, put them alongside yours and deleted the names of the organizations, could you really distinguish your positioning statement?
Here again from St. Judes…
To truly differentiate, you need to think long and hard about how you can distinguish yourself in the healthcare industry. Because your positioning should also be the guiding force that every marketing and creative asset should be measured against. And if your positioning isn’t sharp, your marketing won’t be either.
You also need to be single-minded – leading with one benefit or idea that solves something meaningful for your audiences (and fuses functional and emotional benefits together) and can be deliverable across all your interactions.
Tone of Voice
Tone of voice is not only what your organization says, but the manner in which you say it, e.g. which words, how they sound, their arrangement. Tone of voice is an expression of your company’s values and ways of thinking; as well as your customers – so you speak to them and not at them or past them.
Once developed, tone of voice should inform all of your written copy and should be observed in every piece of content you deliver, including website, packaging, social media messages, emails, etc. Importantly, tone of voice characteristics also express the people behind your brand, sets you apart from others and builds familiarity and trust.
Brand Messaging Blueprint
Consider how many conversations take place across the organization that ultimately impact your brand perception – internally among colleagues and among colleagues, customers, prospects and partners.
Don’t leave these interactions to chance. Flowing from your brand story and positioning, your brand messaging blueprint lays out the prioritized message points for your organization to convey to audiences, in order to keep your internal and external communication aligned and consistent. Ultimately they’ll help your audiences see your brand the way it should be perceived.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to crafting a more strategic brand for your healthcare organization. If you need some professional help, reach out to New Jersey marketing agency Trajectory for a no-obligation consultation. Since 1999, we’ve worked across the healthcare and wellness continuum, helping our clients harness the full power of their brands to maximize market potential.