Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Organizationalizing Your Brand - Where the Rubber Hits the Road


Just when you thought it was safe to swallow the concept of "operationalizing" your brand, here's another one to chew on - "Organizationalizing" your brand.  A few letters apart, but the two concepts offer a world of difference to your patients and other customer groups.

Before giving these concepts their just desserts (does this eating theme keeping going on?), let's explore the five steps of brand-building; 1) Developmental 2) Internal 3) Operational 4) Promotional 5) Organizational.   Step 1 is worthy of its own post and many articles and blog posts have been dedicated to the most effective ways to develop your brand strategy.  (If you'd like a refresher course, please let me know).  Step 2 is key to your brand's success.  Employees and other key stakeholders must not only be educated but inspired about their role in delivering on the brand promise.  Steps 3 and 4 are where most hospitals put the majority of their time and money.  From letterhead to lab coats, vehicles to name badges, television commercials to tabloids, the operational (including the navigational) and promotional phases of brand-building help tell the story to the marketplace.  And, in many institutions, this is the final chapter.  

But, and here's the exciting part, this is where the story really comes alive,  and like all good ones, should be told over and over to patients, visitors, stakeholders, physicians, and every other target group in your hospitals marketing plan.  

Where the brand rubber hits the road...

Speaking of rubber on the road...at the new Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee, down the street from the fabulous Harley-Davidson museum, the hotel reinforces the brand story in every way, shape, and form.  It's the only boutique hotel in the country that targets the motorcycle enthusiast.  From special parking for bikes to "leather-friendly" hooks in the rooms to the lobby decor, restaurants, etc.  - this place says "branded" like few others.  And "Branded" is even the name of the casual restaurant in the hotel.  Visit the hotel for yourself either in person or on-line (www.theironhorsehotel.com) and get your motor running.  

From Harley's to Hospitals...

Step 5 in the brand-building process is all about organizationalizing your brand and focusing in on each and every touchpoint to make sure it reinforces who you are and who you're targeting. Start with your brand promise and then take a tour of your own hospital.  Keep a list of every opportunity you have to bring your brand story to life in front of your customers.  From artwork in the halls to patient education in the rooms - and everything / everyone in between - organizationalizing your brand reinforces your brand position and differentiates the customer experience.  And isn't that what being branded is all about?  

Well, it's also about a trio of great Kobe beef sliders in the restaurant with the same name that has stools designed for motorcycle riders to stretch their legs while enjoying a meal while their Harley is being washed and their leather jacket is resting on a heavy-duty iron hook.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hospital Branding - Dig Deep for your DNA, Inspire, and Patience


Just returned from the SHSMD 2009 conference in Orlando and delighted that - even in today's economy - over 700 hospital marketing professionals were in attendance.  Lots of good sessions and energy.

I had the chance to speak on "Operationalizing Your Brand" with Susan Hoffman of Lehigh Valley Health Network.  It's a terrific story to share, but in a nutshell, we discussed the need to dig deep within your organization to uncover its true DNA (Differentiating Native Attributes), inspire employees, and have patience.  It takes at least two years for the brand to resonate in the market.

Sounds simple, yet many hospital marketers aren't digging deep enough to uncover the DNA of their brand. Rather, they are settling for a strategy and  attributes that are either "me too" or "ho hum."  My favorite place to help clients look for their brand essence is in the history books of their organizations.  There's a reason every company, organization, product, and service was created in the first place - and inherently, that's where their DNA lives and breathes.  Apple started in a garage by two young guys looking to change the ease of use and reliability of computers.  While the products and messages have changed dramatically over the past few decades, the brand strategy has stayed the same.  

Another factor is inspiring the workforce.  It's not just acceptable to "educate" employees on the brand strategy - you have to inspire them!  Help them see how they fit within the brand strategy and how they impact it everyday.  That's what makes the difference between a brand strategy and and advertising strategy - the former is organizational and operational.  The latter is promotional.

The final factor to a long-lasting campaign is patience, yes the other kind.  Brand-building takes at least two years to make a mark in your market.  Too many senior executives are still looking to change things after a year - even if the effort has been wildly effective.  The brand strategy should be developed right, from the beginning, and built upon every few months with new employee initiatives, promotional support, operational ideas, and organizational efforts.  The strategy should not be re-built after only a few months or a year.  That's the difference between an image strategy and a brand.

Dig deep.  Inspire your workforce.  Have patience.  Branding is not advertising and image enhancement.  It's the strategy that helps your organization look different, act different, and offer a unique experience to your customers.  If the strategy is solid, folks will be anxious to demonstrate it with new messaging and operational ideas.  If it's fluid, it can be washed away easily.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What resonates now - hospital messaging during tough economic times

 


HealthLeaders Media recently published an article on appropriate hospital marketing and messaging tactics during a down economy.  The article appeared in the August 2009 issue of Health Leaders - Springboard and its client, Lehigh Valley Health Network, were featured - click here to read - please add your comments on the blog and share your perspective.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Watch and Listen to the latest Brand 2.0 Webinar here!


video


On July 23, Springboard hosted an in depth look at The Service Line Manager as Brand Manager during its latest Brand 2.0 Webinar.

The healthcare service line manager brings top-down and bottom-up understanding of how a service works – clinically and operationally – and where it fits in the organization’s “big picture.”

This latest Webinar offers insights into how some of today’s most successful healthcare organizations are leveraging centers of excellence to take vertical brand management to new heights. It also discusses how economic pressures are putting some Service Line Managers’ jobs at risk – and at the same time, potentially jeopardizing the brand. We also hear from one organization that has successfully stayed the course with their Service Line Management structure, with excellent brand-focused results.

Donna Arbogast from Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy hosted the Webinar.
Panelists included:

Theodore Michalke Managing Partner, NeuStrategy, Chicago, IL
Former Director, Business Development
Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch

Kristen DiCicco Senior Consultant, NeuStrategy, Chicago, IL
Former Director, Neurosciences Institute,
Alexian Brothers Health System

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Rating Game


While driving through a metro area recently, that music popped into my head.  You know, the theme that introduced "The Dating Game," the landmark game show of the 60's, 70's, and 80's. A bachelorette would question three bachelors, who were hidden from her view and at the end, choose one to go out with on a date paid for by the show.  (Sound familiar?  Come to think about it, maybe game shows were the original reality TV that took one episode instead of dragging us through 13 weeks.)

Back to my road trip and why that musical theme popped into mind.  On three consecutive billboards (and yes, I do look at them), there were hospital ad messages.  In a competitive market this otherwise would not strike me as odd, but it was the content that nearly caused me off the road.

The first billboard claimed "Rated #1 for heart surgery."  The second featured a well-known magazine masthead and cited "One of the country's best in neurosciences."  The third featured a top percentile in quality rankings.  If this was a series for Burma Shave Cream, it would not be unusual.  But it wasn't - rather it was for three competing hospitals, all within about 15 miles from each other.

And it was another example of hospitals trying to woo the consumer with virtually undifferentiated ideas and messages.  

Can you imagine this script on The Rating Game:

Consumer:  Hi there hospitals, you all sound so impressive!  (AUDIENCE MAKING "WHOOO" NOISES), I'm looking for a hospital,  tell me why I should choose you...

Hospital #1:  I'll make you see stars! (WHOOO) See, I've been given a 5-star rating and, 
aside from the small print, that's big news!

Consumer:  Why thank you, #1, very nice.  Hospital #2...

Hospital #2:  Ratings, schmatings, I've been published.  Sure, there are data to wade through, but once you read the fine print, you'll see why you should choose me.

Consumer:   I've always liked a hospital with its name in print (WHOOO).  Hospital 3...

Hospital #3:  Well, my dear consumer (WHOOO).  See, the reason you should pick me is 
that I'm ranked among the highest in the country...

Consumer:   Wow, by who???

Hospital #3:  Right, um, let's just say, by lots of different people.

Host:   Wow, so many choices - who will she pick, stay tuned after this message from (another hospital), named best in 12 zip-codes in six sub-specialities!

(CUT TO CONSUMER LOOKING CONFUSED AND SHAKING HER HEAD - MUSIC OUT)

How to avoid The Rating Game

If your hospital has earned high marks in a given specialty or across quality attributes, it is important to bring that to your public's attention.  Rankings and ratings have long been a hallmark of the hospital marketing industry.  

The problem is that few consumers can truly differentiate one rating and ranking from another because the sources are not well-known and or credible outside the hospital industry.  Unlike "Consumer Reports" or "Good Housekeeping," or "J.D. Power," hospital ratings are all over the board and, if you dig deep enough, can find - or create - some statistic to position your brand as "best."  Until one source climbs to the top, or regulations arise which require hospital advertising to be substantiated, there's a good chance that your rating message will not get you selected from behind the curtain.

Here are some thoughts for competing in The Rating Game.
  • Your hospital still needs a larger brand promise - ratings should support your brand promise, not become it.  
  • A ratings message is a short-term opportunity - it has a short shelf-life, and frankly, doesn't need a sustained promotional effort.  Make it stand-alone news and then integrate it into your larger program.
  • Use a medium that can explain the message - billboards merely announcing your hospital's ranking or rating won't do it justice.  Newspapers, radio ads, and web sites are better at going into details.
  • Use social media to encourage customer interaction with your message and get "Fans, Friends, and Followers" to support your claim.
If your hospital has performed well enough to be named one of the nation's best or has a high quality ranking based on key attributes, you should give it a shout out.  But don't just yell it louder than the hospital down the street.  And don't make it the focus of your brand.  It's too transient a message and oftentimes not distinctive.

Make it part of your ongoing brand position and use the right media to make your point.  If you just throw it up on a billboard, there's a pretty good chance the guy traveling down the road isn't a healthcare marketing professional humming a game show tune out loud.


 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Follow your brand strategy, especially while on the road of social media.





Lots of terrific feedback and post-posting comments about social networking from the last blog entry ("Is your social networking strategy a portal or a porta-potty").  In fact, several requests for a follow-up on how hospitals can differentiate their social networking strategies, much like they do their brands.

Raises a very interesting point.  Your social networking strategy using tactics such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and others, should stay the course of your brand strategy and become yet another demonstration of your brand promise in the marketplace.  Not veer off, exit, or take a sudden turn from your brand pathway.

At the time of this writing, as researched by Ed Bennett (ebennett.org) , 277 hospitals are involved in social networking.  Here's a breakdown of how many are using what:    

  • 135 YouTube Channels
  • 101 Facebook pages
  • 201 Twitter Accounts
  • 25 Blogs
The list is growing fast and, predictably, so is the "vanilla flavor" (aka undifferentiated) of most hospital social networking initiatives.  Take the list above, double it in six months and most likely you will lose your "first in" position in your marketplace and become another "me too."

Since Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan was the first to "tweet" a surgery, many others have followed suit or are considering such a move.  Here's the point:  If your brand strategy positions your hospital or health network as a leader in technology/surgery, then yes, this is the type of social networking you should employ.  It supports your brand promise!

Why would a hospital, positioned as "family friendly,"  put surgery on YouTube?  Doesn't quite make the same sense.  Instead, this organization should be seeking ways to use social media to reach out to family members and update them on the condition of a loved one.  They could start "fan" pages for their patients so family members can follow their progress.  They should be blogging about family health risks and providing links to family "health" trees.  All these types of activities support the brand promise and unique position in the market.

That's the point.   Your brand strategy needs to stay the course and be supported by ALL your marketing and media initiatives, including social networking.  Don't rush in with a "me too" Twitter strategy or Facebook entry.  Make it unique to your brand and organization.  It will work harder and serve to differentiate your brand - which is the ultimate purpose of a brand strategy.

So, here's a half-dozen steps to take to help maintain the course of your brand strategy in the social networking arena:

1.  Re-familiarize yourself with your brand promise - that succinct promise and handshake you make to each of your customers.
2.  Discuss with your new "best friends" (IT, web masters, etc.) your organization's brand promise and how it needs to shine through in your social networking strategies.
3.  Develop specific goals you want to measure your social networking efforts against, start there - with goals, not the tactics and tools.   
4.  Then, create social networking strategies and tactics that support your goals and brand promise.  Complete this statement:  "We can best showcase our brand in social networking by________________, because it will _____________________, and it will differentiate our hospital in these ways; ________________________.
5.  Serial execution.  Unlike other marketing communications initiatives, this one doesn't go away once it hits the streets.  Nope, this execution requires constant (constant!) attention. Assign responsibilities, timelines, and a schedule of tactics and messaging.
6.  Measure.   Remember that with social networking strategies you can  build "Fans" and "Followers" into your marketing plans as legitimate metrics.  How cool it is to launch a social networking program and within days,  view the number of people who are opting  to follow you!

Just like brand management, customer service, product development, and advertising are all designed to support your brand story, social networking and media should do the same thing. Use these new channels to work hard and differentiate your brand, not just compete, twit for tat.

 


Monday, May 4, 2009

Your Social Networking Strategy: A portal or a porta-potty?





Someone you follow on Twitter just posted this important message -  "I'm going to the gym, it's going to feel great!"  On Facebook, Friend 214 placed an important quote from President 16 on your wall. 

What did you ever do without social networks?

With millions of users on networks such as Facebook and Twitter - nearly 18 million users on Twitter alone (representing over 10% of internet users per eMarketer, April 2009), social networking has turned into an explosive personal and professional marketing tool.  When used properly, these networks have an amazing impact on search engine optimization, brand awareness, and potential sales generation.  From a personal standpoint, it is a great way to network with friends and family - and with the fastest growth segment on Facebook becoming Baby Boomers, it's also replacing greeting cards and party invitations! 

The key issue is this:  Is your social network a portal:  providing valuable new ideas and links to your user base, or is it a  porta-potty: flushing valuable time and space down the drain.  

As a portal strategy, your social networking sites provide newsworthy and timely links to information that you're both interested in and providing to your "followers and friends."  I'm finding my own Twitter links (@Robrosenberg) chock full of customized headlines and tips that are targeted right toward me.  After all, these are fellow tweeters who I have opted in to follow.

Opposite the portal strategy is the porta-potty strategy; the need to tell the world how you're feeling or what you're watching.  There's a place for this, but frankly, most people are washing their hands of this approach.  Kind of like the chat rooms of old when AOL first came out - at first it was fun and different, then it gets old and boring.  

If you're using social networking for personal reasons, have at it.  Tell the world how you're feeling, what you're wearing, and what color best matches your personality.  Your Friends will either opt in or opt out, and that's what the space is for.

For business purposes, the use of social networking is a portal that can open many new doors. If you are using it as a porta-potty, don't let the door hit you on the way in.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brand Managers, Seamstresses, Security Guards


Quite a diverse group of individuals.  Yet, as we heard during Springboard's first Brand 2.0 Webinar, that's precisely who needs to work together in order for a brand launch to be successful. And it's the hospital's brand manager who needs to sew it together.

Brand management, the concept which will celebrate its' 78th birthday this May - after born in the hallways of P&G - is moving forward in healthcare organizations.  Hospitals in particular are looking for ways to bring together all aspects of strategic planning, marketing, communications, and patient experience together under the leadership of a brand manager.   That's quite an evolution from the mid-80's, when hospital PR departments simply hung out a sign that read "Marketing Department" while changing little else.

Brand managers fall within two categories;  organizational and departmental.  The organizational brand manager is responsible for how the brand strategy is implemented across all departments, from forms and uniforms to taglines and name tags.  This "horizontal" approach is most popular in healthcare organizations.  During the Brand 2.0 Webinar, Laura Harner, Marketing Manager at Lehigh Valley Health Network, shared with participants how she sat with uniform companies and the organization's security department to discuss the most practical ways to operationalize the brand identity on shirts and name badges!  Attention to detail is what brings the brand to life and impacts the many touch points that patients and visitors have with your organization.  Ms. Harner also shared how important it is for hospital brand managers to think through these applications and develop both a promotional and operational budget for your brand launch.

The departmental brand manager is responsible for a more "vertical" approach within a specific service area or facility.  Not only are touch points and other operational aspects involved, but also clinical ones.  These brand managers tend to work closely with physicians and administration to plot out pricing strategies, promotional mix, distribution channels, and even supply/demand analyses for a particular procedure.  These departmental brand managers are closer to their cousins in the packaged goods industry and typically come up through the administrative ranks than the marketing ladder.  

Regardless of how your hospital's brand management function is structured, or being structured, the lessons are many.  
  • Inspire employees, don't just educate them.  They are the ones who represent the brand every day, every interaction.  All it takes is "one bad hair day" to sabotage the promise your brand is working so hard to fulfill.
  • Budget for both operations and promotions - a brand works just as hard - or even harder - once the customer walks through the door.  That's where the experience comes into play to complement the expectations your promotional strategy has created.
  • If it falls through the cracks, the brand manager better be there to catch it. Nobody else will care as much or care as much for the brand.
  • Once the brand strategy is determined, use it as a guiding light for all decisions ranging from taglines, graphic standards, and entity marketing.  
  • Brand management is as much about flexibility as it is about standards.  A brand is a promise and performance you give to all your customers and oftentimes it requires flexibility and fluid decision making.  
Thanks to the panel and participants who made Springboard's first Brand 2.0 Webinar a success.  Look for future postings about upcoming webinars this spring and summer.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What's Your Brand Personality?


When my sons were just 5 and 3, we visited a restaurant with real tablecloths. No vinyl, no plastic – just bright white fabric! To top it off, the host gave the boys paper placemats and crayons. I immediately cautioned them not to make any marks on the cloth. My oldest – a rule follower then and now – proceeded to draw carefully in the center of the placemat. My youngest – not a rule follower then or now – started outlining the placemat with his crayon, getting as close as he could to the edge without going off the paper. And he grinned up at me as he did it!

Their unique personalities were shining through. And if my sons were organizations, we would call their personalities their brands.

The Link Between Brand Personality and Employee Engagement
I could no sooner force them into a different personality mold than I could force a hospital or system to adopt a brand that is created “for” them. Brands are. Brands live within your organization.

At the Forum for Healthcare Strategists conference in Las Vegas last month, a number of marketing executives asked about getting employee “buy in” for their brand. In reality, it’s not about forcing them to “buy into” a brand. It’s about providing them the opportunity to want to support it.

If your brand has been uncoverered rather than created, your employees will feel as if they are looking in the mirror when the brand is revealed. The brand will reflect them and their understanding of the place they work.

Brand personality, then, is the key to employee engagement – striving toward a consistent brand experience, adherence to graphic standards and successful brand management. It all starts by recognizing that each organization’s brand, like every child’s personality, is special and resides within.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We're putting our money where our mouth is.


A short, but telling post.  At every branding conference during the last 10 years, Starbucks has been used as an example of die-hard brand loyalty.  The hypothetical question asked was:  "If the economy ever turned upside down, what item would you least give up?"  "A cup of Starbucks" was always the answer.  People felt that at $2.50 or so a cup, it would still give us a taste of luxury in tough times.

Well, guess what.  Starbucks has closed and will close hundreds of stores, its stock has been grinded down, and the famed "experience" is now realized while grocery shopping or pulling up in the "Drive Thru."  

The lesson?  Real fans put their money where their mouths are.  The rest of us are quick to find less costly alternatives that still satisfy the basic needs.  Now that's something to think about.

Monday, February 9, 2009

SOCIAL NETWORKING MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO QUANTIFY YOUR HOSPITAL BRAND'S FAN BASE!

In 1993, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles wrote another book in their series of short reads covering the "One Minute Manager" to organizing for greater corporate efficiency. One of their best selling titles, "Raving Fans, Revolution in Customer Service" caught the interest of many of us in the service sector.


In the classic marketing behavior model, our job as brand-builders is to move customers from awareness of our product/service to loyal users. Along the way, we create preference, likeliness to use, and advocacy. And then we all talked about moving loyal users to fans...customers who would throw themselves on a sword for our services and recommend us to all their friends and neighbors.

Back then, it was all talk because it was difficult to quantify a "fan base." It sounded right in theory.

Hello 2009 and social networking sites like Facebook. Now, it's possible to count your fans and gauge your effectiveness in truly creating a fan base for your organization. Pretty scary - and exciting - isn't it!

At the time of this posting, Mayo Clinic has 4,725 fans on its Facebook page. Interesting posts from patients, family members, and physicians. Its Facebook site includes information on the Clinic, links to various web sites, videos, and more - but most important it has "The Wall." Yes, that empty page where you can write your thoughts, wishes, and other posts. This, brand-builders - is where the proverbial "rubber really hits the road." This, brand-builders, is where your consumers opt-in and voluntarily write their thoughts and opinions on your wall and describe their EXPERIENCE! It's not just about expectations and effect anymore, it's about their experience - the last leg in brand performance that is often overlooked in favor of creating the expectation with television ads or a snazzy web site.

Now, that's a raving fan!

St. Jude's Hospital has over 25,000 fans and it appears that there are many hospitals on Facebook that have created their own pages. By comparison, Target stores has 173,000 fans, Starbucks has 987,000 fans, and Nike has over 1.1 million registered fans, to name just a few in the "power brands" category.

Pretty soon, we'll not only talk about "creating a fan base," we'll quantify it in marketing plans. Not only will this section include raising awareness 8 points, preference 10 points, and contributing to a sales increase of 15%, but it will also include new goals such as "create 10,000 fans by Spring, 2009."

I'm fascinated by this new metric and encourage hospitals to 1) get up to speed on social networking, 2) get your "fingers dirty" by playing around on Facebook and/or other social networking sites to see what "a wall" actually looks like, 3) creating a page, and 4) tracking your fan base.

You'll also receive excellent insight on what people are saying about you without expensive surveys - and you'll enhance your search engine optimization. Lots of good reasons to get exclusively out of the awareness and preference modes and past the loyal users and advocates modes.

It's time to get to the "Fans" level of thinking which might cause you to re-think your approach to your brand.




Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hospital Branding: Taglines are Just the Tip of the Brand Iceberg


Think icebergs. Nearly 90% of their mass floats below the surface, leaving just 10% (or the tip) in our view. The expression tip of the iceberg implies “a small indication of a larger possibility,” according to Wiktionary.
Now think taglines. Nearly 90% of the work, process, and strategy used to develop these three to six words are below the surface and unseen by the consumer’s eye. And a tagline is a short indication of a larger promise.
The point (or tip) I’m offering here is this: A tagline is what consumers hear and see about your brand through advertising and other communications efforts. Yet 90% of your brand’s promise is delivered under the surface or internally in your organization.
And that can make your brand swim or sink.
In many hospitals, taglines are thrown together to complement a new Web site design or business card. Often, they are bland and not very memorable. Predictably, they include several words that shouldn’t be used by hospitals: “care,” “exceptional,” “advanced,” or “close.” It’s amazing how many hospital taglines are alike and do little to differentiate their organizations.
Great taglines are works of art, carefully crafted to express just the right words, emotions, and actions delivered by your brand. On the surface, they sound so simple and unassuming. Yet, underneath, they are the culmination of a complex branding process and the foundation for an operational vision within your organization. From finance to product development, recruiting to research, the strategy behind your tagline should drive key strategic decisions.
“The Passionate Pursuit of Perfection” is not merely a Lexus tagline, it is a fundamental principle. It steers each and every action within that company.
If you think of your own favorite taglines, the best ones are those that ring true in more than just the advertising, but in the way that product or service delivers. And the experience you have with that company.
To develop the right tagline for your organization, start under the surface, where 90% of your brand mass lives and breathes. Put into gear your own brand development process that includes audits, interviews, and competitive analyses. Once you’ve articulated a strategy and brand promise that fits your organization, then it’s tagline time. By creating it in this order, your tagline will support your marketing strategy and create a deliverable promise to your market. Like its iceberg counterparts, it will remain strong and afloat for a long period of time.
The key here is to put your brand promise–communicated via the tagline–into operations and integrate it throughout your organization.
If you start from the top down, merely throwing words together and calling them your “brand,” you’ll quickly find that your tagline is a titanic disaster that doesn’t resonate with consumers or energize your workforce.
It will quickly sink . . . and your marketing efforts will be stuck back in the ice age.

For more information on Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy, 847.398.4920 Hospital Branding

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Brand 2.0: Growing "Brand Roots" in Health Care

I want to try a vegetable garden this spring, so I bought a ready-made kit to get some small plants rooted this winter. And naturally, that made me think of the next wave of health care branding! Seriously. Establishing “brand roots” is Brand 2.0 – brand management in health care.

While marketing communicators can’t control every aspect of the customer experience, we can help to establish “brand roots” throughout the organization to nurture the living, breathing brand. A brand position is not an end in itself; it needs continuous feeding, care, maybe even some pruning, to keep it alive, energized and growing.

This organic process means helping employees answer questions like:

-- What does our brand mean in my daily routine?
-- What if I don’t even work with patients or the public? How do I “live the brand”?
-- What do I do if I see a gap between our brand promise and a patient’s experience?
Who do I turn to? Is there a way to bridge these gaps?

For the marketing communications team, this brand-building process moves the profession into an entirely new arena. No longer the “brochure people,” you are the “keepers of the flame” – or the gardeners who work diligently behind the scenes, nurturing, guiding and encouraging brand growth.


Share Your Experiences!
What are you doing in your hospital or in your role in health care to build brand roots? Have you tried new approaches that have been successful? Have you found obstacles? What are they and what are your next steps? We’d love to hear from any fellow gardeners out there!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Truth Lies In Your Brand

This is an idea we were talking about during a meeting today - it involves hospitals being true to their brand and not sabotaging with false claims.  Watch for this next week!
Rob