Value is something we hear about all the time in healthcare – whether it’s shifting from volume to value for health systems or delivering more value to the members of healthcare associations. Your audiences expect value from your brand if they are going to attach themselves to it.
When we conduct primary consumer research, we hear this sentiment loud and clear: it’s not just overall brand value it’s “what’s in it for me? If your brand messaging can answer and communicate that to your audience, you are a value-added healthcare brand.
So, what are the traits of a value-added brand? Let’s first look at an example from outside of healthcare – let’s take Google. Google delivers products that are intuitive, easy to use, solve a problem (some may not have realized they had), are widely accessible and just work – that’s a value-added brand that people turn to and trust. The lesson here is that a great brand has to understand its consumers better than they know themselves and deliver value before they even know they need it!
So, the goals for establishing a value-added brand are to:
- Constantly monitor the wants and needs of its audiences along with their passions and desires
- Resonate with its audiences with a combination of insight, innovation and operational excellence to meet these needs
- Actively seek new and better ways to serve their audiences and evolves its services
You can add value to your brand by understanding the following:
- Like using a Google map, you need to know where you are and where you’re going – understand current brand perceptions and create action steps, based on customer insights, to guide your brand direction to meet their expectations, hopes and passions.
- Pay very close attention to what internal and external audiences need from your brand and deliver what they want – as Theodore Levitt once wrote, “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”
- Audit your competitors – truly understand what do they do well and where they fall short – dig to uncover their behaviors and their audience’s attitudes toward their brand to differentiate yours and create value. Remember, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
- Create a unique and differentiating position for your brand and follow it up by innovating, investing and doubling-down on that unique advantage until you own one that is impenetrable to others.
- Don’t leave it to chance, reinforce your brand’s value at every opportunity through internal communications that educate and inspire your employees. Through external messaging that resonates with customers and supports your brand’s value at every turn. Through social media so your brand value is consistent throughout its newsfeed. Through earned media so your value is identified and admired by others in the industry.
In the end, people need to feel good about using, joining and/or being associated with your healthcare brand. Creating a brand is strategic, purposeful and takes time. Take the time to figure out what your stakeholders and customers value – what they are trying to achieve – and innovate and stretch your brand to not only meet them where they are, but like Wayne Gretzky famously said, “where they are going.”