Marrying Brand Portfolio Strategy With Marketing Strategy
Marketing Strategy and Brand Portfolio Strategy
We’ve yet to work alongside a healthcare marketing team who didn’t need to prudently manage their marketing budgets. While deciding how to allocate funds between service lines and downstream marketing tactics tends to be the more obvious starting point for maximizing budgets, optimally managing a health system, hospital or medical practice brand portfolio strategy can help enormously.
Managing your organization’s brand portfolio strategy and brand architecture in a coordinated way allows you to:
- avoid confusion with prospective patients who are shopping your services
- avoid supporting overlapping service/market offerings where brands are negating the power of one another instead of working together to neutralize competitors
- focus marketing resources on supporting well-positioned brands to realize their full strategic and revenue-generating potential
Regardless of an organization‘s specific portfolio approach to the market, supporting and nurturing fewer, stronger brands in a more synchronized way will ultimately be more successful than companies who take an inside-out approach to branding their products and services.
Aligning Around Definitions
It’s important to clarify the difference between brand portfolio strategy and brand architecture, as the two terms are often misunderstood.
Brand Portfolio Strategy
The goal of brand portfolio strategy is to maximize market coverage and minimize brand overlap through the effective creation and management of multiple brands within an organization. Brand portfolio strategy specifies the optimal number of brands an organization should maintain for comprehensive market coverage with minimal overlap and determines the role and scope of each brand in the portfolio to achieve business objectives.
As a component of brand portfolio strategy, brand architecture is the external-facing means (through naming and logos) for customers to navigate an organization’s products and services. An effective brand architecture should minimize customer confusion by laying out sub-brand products and services in a way that makes it easy for customers to find the offerings they are looking for, understand what an organization has to offer and how all sub-brands relate to each other.
Look to CPG For Why Brand Architecture Matters
The world’s leading consumer goods companies like Nestle, Unilever and P&G have long established brand architecture frameworks and guidelines. And these gold-standard consumer goods companies do so because a well-thought out brand architecture is critical to:
- supporting your organization’s vision, business goals and strategies
- providing the right marketplace visibility to your services
- the ability for consumers to simply shop them; and
- all brands working together in the portfolio to grow value back to your healthcare system or hospital brand
These benchmarks are particularly challenging in a dynamic market like healthcare where health system, hospital and medical practice portfolios are being pushed and pulled upon through mergers, acquisitions, collaborations, consolidations and other strategic initiatives.
The Power Of The Corporate Brand
Particularly for smaller healthcare organizations – if the business strategy lends itself to this direction, and the different product/service experiences are similar – it makes sense to choose an umbrella branding approach to your brand architecture. Advantages of leading with the corporate brand include:
- Continually reinforcing the parent brand name (and its purpose and story) to facilitate increased brand awareness and trust
- Ability to emphasize connection through a consistent visual and verbal identity
- Creating an overarching platform for future business growth
- Creating a more inclusive culture through a unified story that can serve as a rallying cry for all internal audiences
- Accelerating revenue growth through cross-selling
- More efficient marketing spend to promote the family of brands under one umbrella (including future new products), along with stronger storytelling in your communications
- Opportunity to develop stronger, longer-lasting relationships with patients
- Clarity among referring physicians, payers and patients
Whether you’re overseeing your brand portfolio strategy and consumer-facing brand architecture in a health system, hospital, physician or medical practice, keep in mind these important tips:
- Map them to business vision, as well as near and long-term business goals
- Organize your portfolio in a customer-centric way, by rooting it in consumer behavior
- Make sure that internal audiences are educated and on-board
- Keep your portfolio up to date. Particularly in an industry as dynamic as healthcare, portfolio strategy management calls for a fluid process of diagnosis, consensus-building, tuning-up and communication.
Since 1999, Trajectory has helped its healthcare and wellness clients rise above the noise and build value and growth through their branding and marketing strategies. Reach out to talk to us.