Hospital branding – some rules of the road
Rules of The Road For Hospital Branding
While brand-building fundamentals tend to be similar across many industries, hospitals possess a unique set of challenges and requirements. Based on our extensive work within this industry, here are some “Rules of the Road” starting points for hospital branding efforts:
Leadership must take the lead
Brand-building commitment and demonstration must start from the top. It is imperative that hospital leadership embrace branding as a strategic tool to proactively build and nurture both internal and external (community and patient) relationships.
Align with strategic plan direction
Any “system level” healthcare branding work needs to be grounded in reality. And this grounding starts with strategic plan direction. Business initiatives such as expanding into new geography, introducing new service lines, merging with other entities and physician groups will impact your hospital brands value proposition.
Consider your external and internal audiences
Externally, there are your local communities, patients and their families, media and politicians. Internally, there are doctors, nurses, staffs and volunteers, boards and foundations – who will make or break you brand-building effort. Ultimately, they all need to understand, connect with and be aligned around what your hospital brand stands for and how it relates.
Analyze where audience relationships exist
Have you historically focused on building relationships with your hospital brand or your individual service lines? Consider these answers in the context of your strategic plan and annual business goals, e.g. creating a seamlessly integrated continuum of care or an affiliation of specialists. Analyze the pros and cons of each possible branding system scenario.
Formalize your hospital brand agenda
All hospital staffers, physicians and associates should have a clear and consistent understanding of what makes your hospital brand unique and special. Commit your intended brand purpose, promises, personality, positioning and unifying brand idea to paper for all to help shape and embrace – and then use this as a guidepost for all brand actions and communications.
Consider all the ways you express your brand
Consider all the ways your hospital brand communicates with its audiences. All impart messages, whether intended or not, about your brand. To ensure that your healthcare brand consistently shines through, you need to audit all of these different touch points to gauge their effectiveness at conveying an ” on-brand” message.
Brand from the inside-out
Hospital branding is all about building relationships to drive business growth. And these relationships start inside your hospital. You must be aligned to deliver your brand promise day in and day out through the actions and interactions of your staffers and physicians. Every single touch point through which your local communities and patients experience your hospital brand should reinforce its vision.