Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hospital Branding: What’s Your Brand Named?

We recently attended an American Marketing Association brand leadership breakfast, featuring Rodrigo Sierra, CMO & SVP of the American Medical Association.

In addition to providing insights on leading his organization in a challenging marketplace, he discussed the evolution of the organization’s brand – brands they have shed, and how they want their brand to be perceived in the future.

When a marketer gives a presentation there should be a dose of cleverness. When describing brand types they have moved away from, he did not disappoint, and offered:
“Brandpa” – a grand old brand – tired and in need of some renewed vigor.
“Brandelabra” – a multi-pronged brand strategy where each remains siloed, shines equally, but tends to fizzle out over time.
We couldn't stop ourselves from expanding on his examples and thinking what we’d call many of the brands we see as we look at healthcare systems and associations.  Some common brand strategies that we see include:
“Scatterbrand” – one that’s all over the place, where each execution or message is seemingly unrelated to the other.
“Brandwagon” – the “me too” brand that looks, sounds and feels like their competition. 
“Interchangeabrand” – a message that is completely believable, but not unique to their organization.
“Sans-a-Brand” – all window dressing, with no strategy to hold it up.
The organization that introduced us to “Brandpa” and “Brandelabra” ended up favoring a brand type that met several criteria:
  • Unique
  • Relevant
  • Forward-thinking
  • Flexible
  • Inclusive
Their winning brand type was:
“Brandwidth” – the maximum amount of potential for your brand – with everyone and everything supporting your brand promise and singing the same tune.
As you evaluate your brand, is it in need of an update (“brandpa”)? Does it lack a unique brand story (“interchangeabrand”)? Or, is yours on-track and poised for the future (“brandwidth”)?

Your turn, what brands would you add to the list?


Mike Chapman is Vice President / Account Director at Springboard Brand and Creative Strategy, a brand strategy and communications firm located in suburban Chicago. For more information on Springboard or to discuss this and other ideas, please contact Mike at 847.398.4920 or mike@springboardbrand.com