Inevitably at some point during your healthcare marketing career you will be faced with bringing a new brand to market. As you do, it is critical to stay focused on the strategic and business objectives of your organization, while also protecting the equity of your brand. The following scenarios describe bringing a new brand to a market, assuming you currently have standing or brand value. The goal in both cases is to leverage the equity of all the brands to enhance your brand, differentiate you from competitors and better serve your customers.
Over the past four-plus decades, AB&C has worked with some of the most premier healthcare systems across this country—large and small—and we greatly value those relationships. But great agency-client relationships just don’t happen; they take true commitment by both parties to be successful. And over the years, we have learned what makes a great working relationship and want to share that knowledge with you, because agencies, while a source of expense, are also an investment, and have a key impact on your organization and your ability to meet patient and provider needs, delivery quality care and build your brand.
In my experience as a hospital chief marketing officer (CMO) and in working at AB&C with healthcare CMOs, I’ve found a number of attributes that serve a person well in this role. On Innovation Enterprise, which provides leading-edge ideas and information on a variety of key business channels, Rose Johnstone identifies a number of these attributes from the business world that apply to the healthcare industry.
Healthcare organizations have always struggled with measuring return on marketing investment (ROMI), mostly because of multiple systems of data collection that don’t speak to one another. But with the advent of new “tools,” that challenge is getting easier — if you have the building blocks in place.
If you followed a systematic approach to build a new brand (or refreshed an existing one), you started with discovery research. You then developed a brand mantra to inform how your brand would be articulated to internal audiences and the outside world. Finally, you created or refined the outward expressions, such as the name, mark and colors.
All of this hard work was done in preparation to share your brand with stakeholders and customers. This is when the rubber hits the road. It’s important to invest as much time, and as many resources, into properly socializing and managing your brand as it is to develop, create and refine it.
As branding experts, we have developed our own vocabulary for what we do and how we help organizations define and present themselves to consumers. We use terminology like “brand architecture,” “platform,” “positioning,” “promise,” “proof point,” “personality,” “identity” and “tag line” to describe how we create, communicate and control the attributes of a brand. An important but often overlooked step in the process of building or revitalizing a brand is the development of a brand mantra.
The holidays always elicit a flashback to the one thing that wasn’t so “joyous” for me as a kid: the thank-you notes. Many of us had parents who made us write to everyone who gave us presents—and not just during the holidays either. For us kids, it was a chore. In retrospect, I now see that, for our parents, thank-you notes were a way to build stronger relationships.
Ever since there’s been the practice of marketing communications, there’s been a concept inseparable from it: the customer journey. If you understood your target audience and could communicate effectively at each stage of their purchasing journey, you’d do OK in the marcom profession.
One of the most important drivers of business for any organization — of any size — is referrals from satisfied customers. Meeting or exceeding customers’ expectations creates a long-term relationship and loyalty, which leads to referrals. And loyalty can pay off — loyal customers are worth up to 10 times their initial purchase value.
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” This directive was identified by management consultant, educator and author Peter F. Drucker, whose writings contributed to the practical foundation of the modern business corporation.
Today, marketing plays an ever-increasing role in creating and growing businesses and brands by connecting organizations with current and potential purchasers along every step of the customer-experience journey. The role of marketers is to identify and research audiences, and then expertly reach and inform them about brands, products and services to facilitate the growth of business in today’s highly competitive environment. Marketers who embrace and combine the new tools of digital and social media with traditional and guerilla marketing will have greater success at connecting customers with their business.