How much time and how many resources have you spent on building your hospital’s brand? In a highly competitive healthcare environment, hospitals must work to distinguish themselves from their competitors by constructing new facilities, offering the latest medical services, and recruiting the world’s preeminent physicians in each field. But many hospitals and healthcare systems are also realizing that one crucial way to gain a competitive edge is to create a consistent brand identity throughout the marketplace.
A study by Acrolinx, a content optimization software provider, found that only 19% of brands displayed consistent brand messaging in their marketing campaigns and across their websites. Similarly, an analysis by Franklin Street, a healthcare brand consultancy, found that the average marketing campaign lasts for only 90 days. For example, oncology campaigns run during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), and cardiology campaigns start just before Heart Month (February). These marketing tactics are great for a few months, but maintaining a consistent brand requires you to create content year-round.
If you want to be among the 19% of brands with consistent messaging, you’ll need to understand and master these marketing concepts:
Establish a Strong Brand Identity
Start by creating a brand vision board that identifies the qualities your brand embodies. Next, ask yourself: “What does my brand offer that others don’t?” Understand why your customers and patients choose your brand and how your hospital is uniquely positioned to meet their needs. Through this exercise, you’ll identify the key components of your brand’s unique value proposition; use them to define your brand and craft your brand identity.
Differentiate Your Brand
After you define your brand, you’ll need to make it stand out. In a fiercely competitive environment, brand differentiation is the only way to capture the attention of your target audiences. Your brand differentiators should include your essential capabilities, your unique strengths, and your hospital rankings—assets that you want physicians and patients to associate with your hospital. However, your brand differentiators must be relevant and tenable: Prospective patients will be unmoved by your claim to have the best doctors unless you can support your claim with research, awards, or formal rankings.
Create Branding and Marketing Policies
Your brand has a personality and is visible throughout the marketplace, so it’s important to communicate in a unified voice that reflects the character of your brand. Branding guidelines will define your public identity and govern how your brand message will be communicated. Guidelines should include instructions on logo use and letterheads, proper fonts, and voice and tone. It will affect all content on social media, in public relations, and in advertising, and ensure consistent messaging across channels.
Recruit a Brand Ambassador
A brand ambassador’s most important responsibility is to ensure that your company’s core message is reinforced in all content released into the marketplace. Hire a brand ambassador or task an employee to ensure that your marketing efforts and content are consistent with your brand guidelines and reflect your brand’s strengths. A brand ambassador will continually reinforce your brand identity with your target audience, which will ultimately strengthen your reputation.
Treat Your Brand as an Asset
A consistent and powerful brand identity is your company’s most valuable asset. Your brand is a compendium of your company’s abilities, achievements, and goals, and it is a promise to your audience to uphold your company’s reputation. Consumers’ perceptions and experience of a brand play an important role in influencing their purchasing decisions. In short, your brand is both an asset and an investment: Allocating resources toward establishing, improving, and ensuring the consistency of your brand identity will yield happy customers who generate sales.
Displaying consistent messaging across the marketplace will help bolster your reputation, and may even boost your spot in the national rankings. After all, consistent branding affects how your hospital is perceived, which influences the quality of talent you recruit, the quantity of referrals you receive, and the number of patients who choose your hospital. But reorganizing and unifying your marketing efforts is an arduous task, which is why so many hospitals find it hard to improve in the national rankings. If this sounds like a familiar struggle, our research and expertise can help solve your hospital’s brand marketing problems.
Contact us to learn how Wolters Kluwer can help build your hospital brand and boost its reputation.