Beckers Hospital Review

Healthcare Marketing: Your Hospital’s Mission or Brand?

Great mission statements define the brand.  Mission and brand should be the same.

153499892Examine your hospital’s mission statement.  How long is it?  How many words does it have?  Do you fully comprehend it?  Unfortunately too many hospital mission statements (like other organizations) are paragraphs that try to encompass everything the organization thinks has importance.  But is it something that truly defines your brand?  Is mission and brand the same?

Scott Regan, CEO of Achieveit in an article appearing in Becker’s Hospital Review  articulated this issue very well.   He is correct in stating that great mission statements are the brand.  Great mission statements are the basis for every decision, strategy and policy of the hospital.  They are embedded in the hospital’s vision, values, strategy and operations.  Great mission statements precisely define the brand.  Mission and brand…are both the same.

When the mission and brand are tightly woven together it creates a powerful organizational dynamic.  “Creating the kind of mission-brand integration that elevates organizations to market dominance requires short, succinct mission statements – eight words or less – that resonate with both internal and external stakeholders,” stated Regan.

And he provides two great examples.  One is Memorial Health in Savannah Georgia.  That hospital adopted a five-word mission statement: “We help people feel better.”  And the two word branding statement was simply, “feel better.”  Regan cites that twelve years later, Memorial Health has market dominance which includes four consecutive years on Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies To Work For.”

The other example is Liberty Health in Jersey City, N.J.  That organization adopted a three-word mission statement: “We enhance life”.  And a two word branding statement: “Enhancing life.”

In both of these cases, the mission statement is succinct and clear.  It goes to the essence of who the organization is and the statement easily defines the purpose of the organization.  The mission and the brand are exactly the same.  It leaves very little room for ambiguity about who the organization is and what it does.  It defines what you do every day.

It’s not easy to define your organization in eight words or less.  To do so, requires you to strip away all the stuff you think is organizationally important to concentrate on the core essence of the organization.  To do so means every employee can know and understand the mission and how their job contributes to that mission. It clearly defines, to those inside and out, who you are.  It allows employees to live the mission and live the brand.  And when that happens it translates to your external audiences knowing and experiencing your brand.

Is it brand or mission?  It’s the same!!!


Healthcare Marketing: 42 Ideas for Building a Better Hospital Brand

Becker’s Hospital Review  published an article providing 42 tips for building and promoting a hospital brand as offered by Dr. Rhoda Weiss, a healthcare consultant, editor of Marketing Health Services Magazine and a professor of healthcare marketing at UCLA.  Her suggestions are methods for creating relationships in order to build a brand.

Many of them your hospital may already be doing.  Some may not apply to your situation.  Some are operational and some are marketing.  But it is a list with basic, very good suggestions.

Peruse the list.  You may get some ideas that will help you build your hospital brand.

  1. Write welcome letters and call new staff
  2. Encourage staff with signage such as, “through these doors walk greatest staff”
  3. Recognize newcomers as “buddies,” and assign them mentors
  4. Develop a robust orientation program for staff and families
  5. Create pride cards based on what makes staff proud
  6. Implement an employee of the day award
  7. Start a rumor or complaint line for patients and staff
  8. Go on “endless management rounds”
  9. Create professional development opportunities for employees
  10. Give out best attendance awards
  11. Create strong family wellness and fitness programs for staff and their families
  12. Develop walking challenges and circulate wellness newsletters
  13. Offer financial incentives to staff members who improve health
  14. Assign staff “brand ambassadors”
  15. Provide GED classes and scholarships for hospital staff members
  16. Put on “glad you’re here” one-year events
  17. Open an employee hardship fund
  18. Offer first time homeowner forgivable loans
  19. Recruit, retain, market aggressively, promote and elevate physicians
  20. Offer endless options for physician retention
  21. Connect physicians and their families with mentors
  22. Research; ask questions; relish data; be totally frank
  23. Reinvigorate, engage leaders — be champions of change
  24. Align strategically: Employ, affiliate, partner and integrate physicians
  25. Host networking events and dinners for physicians
  26. Meld the “personal with professional”
  27. Identify ways to make employees’ lives easier
  28. Collaborate in best-practice medicine
  29. Create “future task forces” in each physician specialty
  30. Showcase the hospital using multiple media
  31. Use benchmark data to persuade, not punish physicians
  32. Rethink hospital’s communication strategy with physicians
  33. Develop a physician navigator program
  34. Establish physician e-communities and women MD networks
  35. Put on “check the pulse” sessions and open forums with physicians and employees
  36. Market to physician office staffers, physician who are significant referral sources
  37. Promote the hospital in physician practice reception areas and exam rooms
  38. Engage referral services; offer same day scheduling
  39. Promote languages, reduce accents and improve speech
  40. Offer free screenings and complimentary physician visits for patients
  41. For physician integration and alignment, consider options beyond employment
  42. Produce quality videos that market hospital’s brand, keeping physicians and patients at the center of the story

Healthcare Marketing: 5 Ways to Improve Your Hospital’s Brand

Your hospital will live or die by its brand.  What can help make your brand stronger?  Here are five tips to improve your hospital’s brand.

Here are excerpts from an article from Becker’s Hospital Review by Lindsey Dunn after interviewing Steve Rivkin, founder, Rivkin & Associates, a healthcare branding and communications consultancy, and co-author of Repositioning: Marketing in an Era of Competition, Change and Crisis (McGraw-Hill, 2010).

1. Think of your brand as a promise. A hospital’s brand is a promise of what the consumer should expect and how the hospital will perform.  Think about a brand in the same way as a person’s reputation. You earn a good reputation by doing the right thing, doing it well, and doing it consistently. And just like a reputation, a brand is a living entity — it evolves, and it is enriched or undermined by your actions.

2. Understand your strengths, weaknesses. Any hospital’s branding efforts should begin with an understanding of its market share, strengths, weaknesses and consumers’ perception and beliefs about its services. Consumer research should ask community members what they think is important when choosing a hospital, how the hospital is perceived and how it compares to competing facilities.  This research will reveal if the hospital is preferred, and if it isn’t preferred, will give some indication of why it’s not preferred.

Mr. Rivkin notes that consumer perceptions don’t always match reality, but it’s perceptions that influence volume.
It’s action first, communications second.  Eighty-five percent of changing a perception is what you actually do, and only 15 percent is what you say about it.

3. Differentiate. After identifying areas of strength and improvement, hospitals should determine what differentiates it from competitors and whether that point of differentiation is important to consumers. Potential differentiators include:

•    The patient experience— for instance, best customer service/patient satisfaction scores in the market;
•    Centers of excellence for specific service lines;
•    Heritage/history in a community;
•    Highest rated physicians;
•    Industry awards received (top hospital lists, Magnet status, etc.);
•    Newest technology/cutting-edge procedures; and
•    Widest range of services in market area.

4. “Sell” the brand to employees first. After determining how a hospital will position itself, hospital leaders should sell that identity or brand first to its employees. “Your workforce is a critical part of a branding program. Everything starts with your own people. Don’t expect to persuade the folks outside about much of anything, unless the people inside believe it first.”

5. Market the brand and connect it to the bottom line. After gaining buy-in from employees, hospitals should take their branding messages to the public through public relations efforts, advertising, direct marketing and other methods. Hospital marketers should be careful to quantify the results of all efforts.  Measuring return on investment will direct hospitals toward the most effective marketing tactics.

Your brand is one of your hospital’s most valuable assets.  Great attention should be given to its care. The stronger the brand the more successful your hospital will be.