Award-Winning Branding Blog

Hospital Branding

Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy is pleased to present to you our award-winning blog on hospital branding. As an innovative branding and communications firm with clients ranging from leading health systems to medical associations, we are constantly thinking and writing about many of the latest trends and forces impacting healthcare organizations.

Follow our hospital branding blog and learn from the lessons of others in the areas of social media, brand building, advertising, integrated marketing, and strategic thinking.

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How to Fight Brand Fatigue as We Head Into Wave 2

How to Fight Brand Fatigue as We Head Into Wave 2

Some headlines need little explanation.  Unfortunately, this one requires no mention of “pandemic,” or “COVID,” or the new surge that was predicted and is presently occurring across the U.S.  Nor, does it need to rehash how tired marketers are, both personally and professionally, in dealing with “pandemic fatigue.” Marketing professionals are facing another epidemic; “brand fatigue.”  Many are tired of working from home, an endless loop of Zoom calls, and constantly trying to think of new, better ways their brands can succeed in this new environment.  Yes, it’s exhausting! But this is when brands have to stand up to meet the challenge.  When their loyal consumers rely on them most.  Where trust and dependability matter more than ever before. So, how can you avoid brand fatigue in the next few months and step up to the new challenges that will ultimately impact your planning?  Here is a checklist to add to your Zoom brainstorming session that will hopefully spark some renewed energy and enthusiasm: Product/Service Innovation – If there’s ever a time to think “outside the box,” it’s now. During Wave 1, we saw restaurants and retailers rise to the challenge with “touch-free,  curbside services.”  Established brands like Peloton implemented free trials of their on-line classes to raise brand awareness and create new customer opportunities.  Worked pretty well for them as their stock is up nearly five times since the beginning of the year and the demand for product is outweighing supply. How can your product or service innovate the way it’s delivered or accessed?  We’ve seen countless healthcare organizations update their tele-medicine services to provide virtual appointments and... read more
Can Your Brand Ever Return to “Normal?”

Can Your Brand Ever Return to “Normal?”

We are almost six months into this pandemic, and many marketers are reading, writing, and answering loads of questions about the return to brand “normalcy.”  Personally, I haven’t heard the same response given to that question in the many webinars, zoom presentations, and podcasts in which I’ve either participated or tuned in. Most thought leaders agree, however, that there is a four-phased approach to “re-opening” brands. The four phases include Response, Recovery, Restoration, and Revitalize.  A quick recap of each: Phase 1 Response – Brands focused on safety, gratitude, and reassurance. “We are all in this together” was heard around the world.  And for healthcare organizations, it was all about the “heroes.” Phase 2 Recovery – Again, new safety protocols were ‘front and center’ and brands were actively changing operations to meet the needs of a very scared public. From home delivery to curbside pick-up, every organization had to rethink their product and service delivery.  In healthcare, existing services such as telehealth and online communications took on new interest and meaning. Phase 3 Restoration – This is the phase most brand planners believe we are in now. There’s a major push toward “back to business” and revenue generation to make up for lost sales and income.  Healthcare organizations are very vocal about encouraging consumers and patients to get the care they need and not to put off important procedures. Phase 4 Revitalization – No matter where you think we are on the “re-opening” plan, I’m sure you’d agree we are nowhere near this phase. We’ll know it when we see a return to long-term positioning strategies and the “why.” ... read more
8 Important Shifts That Can Keep Your Brand Relevant and Meaningful in Uncertain Times

8 Important Shifts That Can Keep Your Brand Relevant and Meaningful in Uncertain Times

Brands continue to play an important role in people’s lives, and studies show that during a crisis – like now – they offer reassurance and a sense of comfort. From car manufacturers to restaurants, healthcare systems to hotels, brands are shifting their messaging to offer readiness, reassurance, safety, and even new ideas on delivering their products and services.  It’s amazing how quickly they’ve been able to turnaround their messaging and production strategies!  Already, there are best practices being established and amplified throughout the branding and advertising industries. The following are strategies you can act on quickly to keep your brand relevant and meaningful during these stressful, game-changing times: 1. Communicate in an empathetic tone Start by acknowledging that your audience is experiencing losses and lifestyle changes in ways never felt before. Great brands have relationships with their consumers, and now is the time to communicate from the heart. 2. Production values can be simple There isn’t the time or the luxury of resources to pour into new brand executions.  The idea is to connect quickly with your customers and let them know you’re there for them in whatever ways are most meaningful.   There have been excellent new commercials featuring infographics, re-purposed video content, and simple interview formats. 3. Corporate/social responsibility is every brand’s responsibility If there’s ever a good time to be a great corporate citizen, it’s now. Informing people of how your brand is supporting social distancing, its employees, and safety regulations is paramount to being relevant.  Creatively, it can also be unique; McDonald’s, Coke, and others are among those finding interesting ways to convey social responsibilities. 4.... read more
So, What CAN Brands Do Now?

So, What CAN Brands Do Now?

8 important shifts that can keep your brand relevant and meaningful in uncertain times. As people find themselves risking their own health to help others or sheltering-in-place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, brands can provide reassurance in unique and thoughtful ways. From car manufacturers to restaurants, healthcare systems to hotels, brands are shifting their messaging to offer reassurance, safety, and even new ideas on delivering their products and services.  It’s amazing how quickly they’ve been able to turnaround their messaging and production strategies!  Already, there are best practices being established and amplified throughout the branding and advertising industries. The following are strategies you can act on quickly to keep your brand relevant and meaningful during these stressful, game-changing times: Communicate in an empathetic tone – start by acknowledging that your audience is experiencing losses and lifestyle changes in ways never felt before. Great brands have relationships with their consumers, and now is the time to communicate from the heart. Production values can be simple – there isn’t the time or the luxury of resources to pour into new brand executions.  The idea is to connect quickly with your customers and let them know you’re there for them in whatever ways are most meaningful.   There have been excellent new commercials featuring infographics, re-purposed video content, and simple interview formats. Corporate/social responsibility is every brand’s responsibility – if there’s ever a good time to be a great corporate citizen, it’s now. Informing people of how your brand is supporting social distancing, its employees, and safety regulations is paramount to being relevant.  Creatively, it can also be unique; McDonald’s,... read more
Important Lessons for Marketers – and their Agencies – During this Time of Crisis

Important Lessons for Marketers – and their Agencies – During this Time of Crisis

While social distancing is the new normal, there are some important lessons marketers, and their agencies, can learn from other crises in the not so distant past. Different times require different actions. 1. You have to make course corrections on your media spend and messaging. This is not the time to bombard consumers with messages totally unrelated to the topic at hand and top of mind; they’re not in the mood to listen. Organizations and brands that merely “stay the course,” not making any adjustments,  are pouring dollars down the drain.  One might argue that “my funny commercial” or “new brand video” is just what the doctor ordered, but studies of past social crises indicate that people just can’t get enough news and information about CV-19 right now.  They don’t want to be “enlightened” by other messages while their energies are fixed on the problem. 2. You should stay in the market, but in relevant and appropriate ways. Studies also show that during recessions, and social/economic disasters, advertisers should not go completely dark.  Loss of awareness and market momentum requires as much as five times the normal spend to make up for lost ground when footing becomes more solid.  So, it’s important to stay out there, but in relevant ways.  Virtual “situation rooms” with your full team are essential to talk through and take corrective measures with your messaging and channeling, especially in social media.  How your brand is responding to CV-19 and  how it’s engaging your marketplace is mission critical.  3. Now is not the time to introduce a new brand or campaign. Can’t tell you how many LinkedIn... read more
Want to Add Value to Your Medical Society Members . . . Brand Them!

Want to Add Value to Your Medical Society Members . . . Brand Them!

Medical societies and associations exist to add value to their members through education, networking and providing other resources to support personal and professional growth. This is why professionals join and pay their annual membership fees. As competition in every medical field and specialty heats up, members are demanding more from society leadership; specifically marketing to consumers and referral sources to help them distinguish their expertise and build their practice (aka “Branding”). Often, patients (and other professionals) are confused over what different medical specialists do and branding your members will help provide clarity and growth. This is where medical societies can add value. From our experience, branding members and their specialty has become one of the top requests from society leaderships. So, where do you start? Start with research, to gain insight into the following: Vision – where do your members see themselves now and in the future? Equity – what are the unique capabilities and greatest benefits your members bring to patient care? Perceptions – how do patients, referral sources and other providers, hospital administrators and payors perceive your members? Access – what are the patient/referral pathways for your members? This will help you determine the audiences for your message. Communication – how do your target audiences keep up on medical and peer information? Once you understand where your members want to go and challenges that may be involved in getting them there, you can start to develop a unique brand strategy – position and value proposition – for them. A strong brand for your medical society members will: Differentiate them in a crowded and confusing marketplace Elevate their... read more
5 Facts About Millennial Physicians | Medical Association Branding

5 Facts About Millennial Physicians | Medical Association Branding

By the year 2025, millennials will constitute more than 75% of the global workforce. New doctors, too, are joining the healthcare world from this generation – one that has different perspectives and expectations about the workplace. Whether you are recruiting millennial physicians for a new job or to join a medical association, it’s a good idea to know about this generation of physicians: Millennial physicians live on social media. Millennials were raised on computers and live on social media; so it’s no surprise that you can reach this generation on various social media platforms.  It’s important your organization has an online presence; think beyond Facebook and LinkedIn to other platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat. They are tech savvy with tools and software. Growing up in the digital era, these doctors are more comfortable using EHRs and other online resources.  They grew up with “Alexa” and “Siri,” and are always “Googling” information.  Also, millennial physicians source online medical journals and publications more frequently than their older peers. Millennials want to have a voice and make a difference. While millennial physicians are interested in leadership positions and advancing their careers, they also want to do good.  They believe in improving the health among patients and the community – to help change the world!  These doctors are mission-driven and want to make an impact on the lives of others. Embracing a work-life balance is crucial. In addition to millennial physicians wanting opportunities to advance their careers, they also want a life.  These physicians  value their time with friends and family.  Flexible scheduling can also aid in a balanced work-life environment... read more
“Cultural Brand Performance” – A New Indicator of Sales Growth and Consumer Engagement

“Cultural Brand Performance” – A New Indicator of Sales Growth and Consumer Engagement

There have been important, game-changing strategies associated with marketing performance over the years.  For example, “value proposition and differentiation,” “brand positioning,” and “corporate social responsibility.”  Each has evolved from the previous and all have demonstrated revenue growth. The latest idea being integrated into brand and marketing strategies is that of cultural relevance.  Simply (easier said than done), integrating what’s most relevant and important in our culture, social consciousness, and personal responsibilities with brand personas and communications strategies…no easy task. Take a look at a couple recent failed attempts of seeking cultural relevance: Peloton lost almost a $1 Billion in market value as a result of backlash from a TV commercial perceived as depicting men encouraging women to stay in shape. Hallmark pulled, then re-instated, a “wedding” commercial for Zola featuring the marriage of two women. Cultural amplification forced their turnaround in thinking. Watch any video today, on cable, network, or social media, and you’ll see brands seeking that fine balance with cultural relevance.  Whether it’s interfaith and interracial relationships, political or satirical points-of-view, or gender defining/neutralizing, how a brand performs and reflects cultural relevance has a direct and significant impact on its bottom-line.  I refer to this as “Cultural Brand Performance,” a new indicator and strategy for sales growth and consumer engagement. More fuel for this perspective:  in September, Merriam-Webster added the singular pronoun “they,” used to refer to “a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary,” or “to a person whose gender is unknown or is intentionally not revealed.” Earlier this month, the publication went a step further and chose the pronoun as its “Word of the Year.” Cultural... read more
8 Changes to Make in 2020 to Improve Your Healthcare Marketing Success

8 Changes to Make in 2020 to Improve Your Healthcare Marketing Success

As 2020 approaches, there are important changes to make in order to help improve your personal and professional success in healthcare marketing. 1. Focus on growth and business building, not marketing Marketing in many healthcare organizations still lands on the promotional side of the equation.  Successful marketers are those who understand the growth goals of their organization and develop strategies, beyond campaigns and clicks, to generate revenue and support new customer acquisition.  Marketers need to shift their “frame of reference” from “doing marketing” to “leading organizational growth through marketing.”  This will earn you a more favorable spot in the C-Suite and among your team.   2. Develop the right dashboards You’re too focused on the promotional side of things when your marketing “dashboard” consists of primarily digital terms that leave the C-Suite in the dust.  When you include business metrics, your dashboard will light up and provide a snapshot of your organization’s marketing success in terms of share-of-wallet, customer acquisition, profit margin, and conversion rates.  CEO’s consistently state they don’t really understand digital metrics (nor care to) but want to know how this investment translates to new revenue and growth opportunities.   3. Conduct market research to learn about your customers Most market research studies ask a lot of questions about the brand, not about the customer.  Other than demographics at the end, very few ask consumers about their interests and passions, what’s important to them, and the issues they’re most interested in.  Look at your customer research from their POV and you’ll gain great insights on how to make your marketing strategies much more relevant and engaging.   4. Develop... read more
7 Tips (and 15 Tactics) to Grow your Healthcare Brand by Connecting Your Brand Promise to the Patient Experience

7 Tips (and 15 Tactics) to Grow your Healthcare Brand by Connecting Your Brand Promise to the Patient Experience

Growth isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s a “must have” for almost all healthcare brands. And as a healthcare marketer, you are uniquely positioned to lead a growth strategy that connects your brand promise to the patient experience. Many healthcare organizations have identified that elevating the patient experience will fuel growth in terms of repeat usage, positive word of mouth (reviews) and brand loyalty. The following explores some of the ways healthcare marketers can lead this important growth initiative: 1. Create an elevating and differentiating brand promise One that emerges as the benefit of your brand’s unique position in the marketplace. Importantly, it has to align with the internal culture to impact patient experience. Tactic:  Discuss and test this promise internally to ensure it resonates, is culturally authentic and instills a sense of pride. 2. Understand that internal buy-in and advocacy are critical to the success of this engagement strategy. Identify and involve internal influencers and stakeholders from all levels of the organization, as brand ambassadors, early to gain support for your patient experience approach. Tactic:  Translate your promise to an inspirational internal theme.  It should provide a rallying cry for your employees and stakeholders to grab onto. 3. Empower your brand ambassadors with the tools they need to gain adoption from their teams. Connect your internal theme with “the why” behind this patient experience initiative – for the employees. It’s important for each to understand “what’s in it for them” in order to gain engagement, adoption and compliance. Tactic:  Develop interactive tools that enable your ambassadors to present, discuss and roleplay with their team members. These tools may... read more
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