Hospital Marketing and PR Spotlight: Kids and Puppies Are Always a Winner

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

From time to time we spot hospital marketing and public relations examples in the field that you might like. Here are two with the “can’t miss” combo of kids and/or dogs.

Spotlight: St. Louis Children’s Hospital. When therapy dogs make the rounds in the hospital’s cancer wing it makes for a compelling story. Not only is this a successful program that’s popular with patients and staff, but St. Louis Children’s Hospital has also done a nice job of creating a doggie-laden, TOUCH Dog Parade video where the images communicate as much as the words. What’s more, the hospital has posted the video on YouTube for additional PR mileage.

The comforting value of four-legged visitors hasn’t escaped the attention of the Los Angeles Times. “Therapy dogs function in two ways. Sometimes they work with a healthcare provider and take an active part in patient treatment, [and] other times therapy dogs and their human partners simply engage in so-called animal-assisted activities—for example, they drop by a patient’s room just to say hello (the human) and lie on the patient’s bed for a while (the dog).” Many programs are volunteer-based with little cost to the facility.

Primary Medical Bendy Guy

Primary Medical Bendy Guy & Joke






Spotlight: Primary Children’s Medical Center, Salt Lake City. We like the concept of “lagniappe.” That’s a small, unexpected gift for the customer (such as a 13th donut when you buy a dozen.) It’s that little something extra that merchants use to make for a better customer experience. Primary Children’s (Intermountain Healthcare) includes a clever lagniappe at mealtime to lighten the patient’s stay. When the Food Services department delivers a meal to a patient, they often include a little bendy guy (toy) and a joke to bring a smile to the patient.

Here’s a Bonus Idea: Spend a few minutes with the Primary Children’s Medical Center website here. You’ll find several user-friendly elements that other hospitals and medical centers might want to consider. For example, one small but impressive feature that we like is the ability for friends and family members to send an email to a patient. No email address is needed, the system includes all nine of the Intermountain facilities, and it’s quicker than a greeting card.

We’d like to spotlight your hospital marketing idea. Send us a note about what you’re doing and we’ll share it with other healthcare and medical marketing professionals.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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