Hospital Branding: The Brand Promise – A Term of Endearment That’s About Them, Not You.

Hospital Branding: The Brand Promise – A Term of Endearment That’s About Them, Not You.

As hospital marketers, there are several terms that come into play each day in writing and conversation.  From an organizational perspective you have words such as mission, vision, values, culture, and pillars.  From a marketing standpoint, there are words like goals, objectives, tactics, positioning, brand, strategy, promise statement, essence, and character.   Each is very different but oftentimes, and mistakenly, is used interchangeably.   Since this blog is about hospital branding, let’s keep the focus there.  Of all the terms referenced above, only one speaks to your customer – the brand promise.  The others are internally-focused and help structure your organizational and marketing thinking. Jack Trout and Al Ries in their classic book, “Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind,” define the concept of positioning as a goal.  The space you want to occupy in the minds of your key customer groups.   And, regardless of audience, your position (or goal) does not change, although the messaging strategy to achieve that goal, does.  So, since positioning is a marketing goal, it isn’t meaningful to the consumer.  Until you make it that way – and that’s where the brand promise comes into play. The process of branding is a strategy to achieve your desired marketing objectives.  How you define your brand is one of the strategic decisionsyou must come to terms with in order to reach your goal of positioning. For example, if your desired position for cardiac services is “your partner in the prevention and treatment of heart disease,” then the brand strategy will consist of key decisions around “story” (the point-of-difference and reasons-to-believe), the name, identity, the service offering, the...
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