A hospital’s brand is the promise it makes. The degree that it fulfills that promise determines Its brand reputation. The value proposition is measured by what customers think that brand is really worth. How successfully you merge those three can solidify your status as a brand leader.
The movie “Air” reveals how all the pieces came together to create one of the most ubiquitous brands in history. Nike and its Air Jordan sub-brand continue to fly.
Scott Bedbury, former head of advertising at Nike—after the Michael Jordan deal—and later at Starbucks, wrote “A New Brand World: 8 Principles for Achieving Leadership in the 21st Century” in 2002. While technology has transformed branding over the past two decades, basic tenants of Bedbury’s advice remain pertinent.
“Almost every brand in existence today can be reduced to the status of a commodity if it fails to effectively evolve both its products and its marketing communications. You can’t do just one or the other,” advises Bedbury.
In third place among athletic shoe companies before the Michael Jordan deal in 1984, Nike had the Swoosh logo and was known for running shoes. Then came Jordan and, four years later, the “Just Do It” tagline to complete a trifecta that defined the brand.
The company sealed the value proposition with an intangible, emotional bond with customers that transcended the product. Air Jordans appealed to all ages, athletic and non-athletic types, genders and races, because everyone wanted to fly “Like Mike.”
Air Jordan remains one of the most sold athletic shoes and the top collectible among sneaker heads. Nike is the largest shoe brand in the US, and the top five shoes for NBA players are all Nikes. Lessons about brand promise, reputation and value proposition can still be taken from the Nike playbook. Consider the patient journey the same as that for retail consumers. It’s everything that the patient/consumer experiences when they interact with your brand, products and services.
Making the Promise.
Know what you’re promising patients and whether you can deliver it. Before making the promise, evaluate the intrinsics. Becoming a brand leader requires more than brick and mortar facilities or technology. The brand promise should center on core values.
“Every brand has at its core a substance that gives it strength. You have to understand it before you can grow it,” reflects Bedbury on the essence of Nike’s core brand values.
Creating a list of core values is one thing. Delivering on those values is another. Everyone from the C-suite on down must exemplify the values to build the brand.
Keeping the Promise.
From initial touchpoint—scheduling an appointment or providing information—to final discharge or follow-up appointments, ensure a positive patient experience that lives up the brand promise. Your reputation depends on understanding patient expectations.
In this digital-first world, identifying wants and expectations is no longer a guessing game. Optimize the patient experience by:
- Conducting surveys and focus groups;
- Requesting reviews and encouraging social media engagement;
- Tracking website analytics, email opens and clicks, and other data-driven insights;
- Asking new patients how they heard about you;
- Listening to feedback.
When patients and other stakeholders evaluate your brand, reputation hinges on whether you overdeliver on the promise rather than overstating the promise.
Measuring Value Proposition.
Aligning brand promise, reputation and value proposition depend on several factors:
- How do you communicate the brand?
- What traits do patients most associate with the brand?
- Do those traits reflect your core values?
- Is the brand promise believable?
- Does your reputation, internally and externally, reflect your brand?
The original Air Jordans cost $65 a pair in 1984. At the time, Converse’s Chuck Taylors dominated basketball courts at $19.99. Centering passion and innovation around its core brand ethos, the value proposition of the new shoe that didn’t even meet NBA standards was a slam dunk for Nike.
While costs, expertise, successful outcomes and advanced technologies figure into value proposition for patients, other interactions also influence their experience. To strengthen bonds along the patient journey:
- Personalize the experience through customized content, emails and messaging;
- Maximize convenience. The top complaint about healthcare experiences is long wait time. Consumers overall want convenience—scheduling appointments, wait times during office visits, procedures and diagnostics. Offer numerous options to interact with your brand—phone, email, text, chat bots and other tools.
- Communicate openly and transparently. The lack of communication and dismissiveness from staff or providers also rank among the top five healthcare complaints. Being transparent about costs, services, wait times and other concerns helps build trust between patient and brand.
Bedbury also views constantly strengthening the brand as key to its success. He measures brand strength based on relevance and resonance rather than awareness. Making and fulfilling a believable promise keeps the brand relevant, resonates with audiences and strengthens brand leadership.
TotalCom is a full-service marketing agency helping brands like yours tell their story to the right audiences. Email Lori Moore or call TotalCom Marketing Communications at 205.345.7363 to see how TotalCom may be the right fit for you.