[Series Installment] When you begin to develop marketing ideas for hospitals and healthcare providers, you bump into some apparent contradictions to be sorted out. There’s the business of consumerism, for example, where traditional patients have become (or are rapidly becoming) informed consumers, newly empowered to make their own health care buying decisions.
The medical purchasing power of individuals and families is increasingly portable…maybe a little fickle. They are ready and able to select the provider, procedure and/or facility where they can “buy” the best available care, with the strongest value…wrapped in an exceptional patient experience.
In that scenario, healthcare marketing and retail marketing are close cousins. They are aimed at understanding the patient/consumer, recognizing needs or problems, and presenting benefit-driven solutions that meet the needs of the buyer.
But another scenario runs counter to consumerism: When individuals are urgently concerned with a medical issue, they aren’t inclined to do “window shopping.” And the more pressing the need, the more immediately they want a solution or answer.
Hospitals and providers also have a need to be relevant and engage the public (prospective consumers and patients) today for the care and services they may need tomorrow. And, at the risk of oversimplifying, this is an opportunity for name recognition and hospital branding to payoff.
Your brand is not what you say it is. It is who you are...
The essential elements of brand and name recognition is (a) being distinctive above the competition, (b) being memorable to the consumer, and (c) impacting and guiding the customer’s selection at the time of need.
In service industries, including healthcare, effective branding is about the entire experience and relationship. When you communicate what makes you special, you are setting expectations — a direct or implied promise — that patients will get the benefit of your unique value each time they visit or call.
Effectively branding a medical practice, hospital or health system is about the entire patient experience and relationship that the business has with the people it serves, and the entities it works with daily.
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Your organization’s personality, presence, reputation, vision, mission, capabilities, philosophy and style are all vital components of delivering consistently on your brand identity.
Continue reading with: Finding the Differentiating Marketing Heart of Your Hospital Brand, and Thinking Forward: Taking Your Hospital Brand to the Next Level.