Being a mid-sized health system in today’s healthcare marketplace is tough. If you’re busy trying to compete on a grand scale and make claims how your features are just as good as the big hospital the next metro over, it might be time to take a step back and think about what really matters to both you and your community. This is where a solid brand promise can work for branding health systems.
While it’s important to know your strengths and your identity – you need to provide value. A unique brand promise becomes an effective shorthand for how you can best meet the needs of your community.
Solid, effective branding health systems engages with people at an emotional level. It’s not a logo, a color scheme, or a typeface. Yes, those are visual representations of your brand. But what really matters is your “heartbeat,” what makes you come alive and breathe in the minds of your consumers. It is your distinctive message, your personality. It’s who you are, how you talk to people, and how you present yourself and your organization to the world. And being a mid-size, community health system, you have an advantage over your larger brethren. Your deep roots and long history with your communities give you a personalized connection the big guys don’t have. This becomes even more relevant because reimbursement is transitioning from fee-for-service to value-based.
So what’s the best way to hit on your brand promise? First, think about who you are, what you do best, what your customers need from you and how your organization fits in their lives. It may sound simple, but that’s really what your brand represents.
To Beebe Healthcare in Lewes DE, this meant taking an active role in creating a healthier Sussex County – a county that was voted as having the least healthy population in the area.
Beebe knew they were convenient and accessible to the community through its medical center and outpatient health campuses, but they didn’t have an identity beyond being a single hospital destination. Embracing their vision to lead their community into a healthier future, they promised to help their population achieve the healthiest life possible. Their community needed them to serve.
Next, figure out how to build a relationship with people. Remember, your brand is more than who you are—it’s how you engage with your users. It’s the moment of contact and connection.
For Beebe, this meant hiring one of the nation’s first Directors of Population Health, a nurse practitioner dedicated solely to improving community health through education and wellness programs. It meant being a founding member of Healthier Sussex County, a community-based coalition working together to help all area residents achieve optimal health. And, it meant launching a marketing campaign that helped the community understand Beebe’s promise to them – Be Well.
Once you’ve got it, stay consistent. Whether it’s your web presence, a letter, or a handshake, live your promise. It’s actually easy, because this is who you are. What’s more, the people you serve will appreciate the singular commitment that your brand promise provides.
That’s how Beebe did it. When done right, branding health systems is authentic. It’s exactly who you are. It’s everything you’ve made sure that your organization has been since day one. It’s supportive. It’s innovative. And the results? A 7% increase in top of mind awareness and 4% increase in recognition as the most preferred hospital.
So who do you think you are? With a consistent brand promise, you—and your users—will know exactly.
If you’re interested in finding out how Springboard can help your mid-size community health system grow in today’s healthcare landscape, contact us to learn more about branding health systems.