When it comes to healthcare, branding might be the last thing that you might consider. As an industry that is always in high demand no matter the season, the importance of branding and marketing is often overlooked by many healthcare businesses.
As patients become more empowered consumers, organisations that are looking to stand out amongst the competition need to focus on building their branding to grow.
Read on to find our recommendations gathered from our years of expertise that can strengthen your healthcare branding.
To put it simply, branding is all about perception—more precisely, how your organisation is perceived by people. We don’t mean just your patients either. It also includes your employees, your shareholders, and pretty much everyone who interacts with your business.
And for these people, good brands tend to be those that are memorable, relatable, trustworthy, and likeable.
Creating a strong, consistent brand creates a lasting impression on consumers. It automatically distinguishes you from your competitors, as you highlight to them how your offering adds value and makes you the better choice.
Is branding truly something that applies to healthcare? Definitely. In fact, it isn’t simply a necessity, but a critical factor for the success of any healthcare brand.
Trust is undoubtedly one of the most essential qualities of a healthcare organization. People turn to healthcare or medical outlets when they are at their most vulnerable, so it’s crucial that they can feel the trust and security with your brand.
And unlike other sectors, if the trust is broken by bad experiences, it can do irreparable damage to your brand. A 2021 focus group survey done by Deloitte found that 55% of respondents lost trust in a healthcare provider after having a negative experience with them. Subsequently, four out of 5 respondents mentioned that nothing could convince them to reconsider that same provider.
Investing in your branding allows you to actively shape your brand’s reputation, building the trust that is necessary for your business to survive.
Patients are now more digitally-savvy, informed and empowered. They can research the best doctors, clinics or devices, compare prices and find reviews. To them, your healthcare brand is simply one of many choices available.
Branding grants you the right to be heard amongst the noise. The more you resonate with people, the more your consumers choose you. In turn, you’ll also find more opportunities that allow you to further differentiate yourself.
Engaging in healthcare branding efforts can play a significant role in driving both of these outcomes for your business. Increased economic returns can be achieved through an increase in patient satisfaction, better health outcomes, and reduced costs.
Healthcare branding can also help healthcare providers increase their market share by positioning themselves as leaders in their respective fields. This positioning can lead to increased revenue and opportunities for growth. It also makes your brand more attractive for investments from other stakeholders, such as employees or shareholders.
We’ve spoken a lot about why you need to differentiate yourself, now let’s get to the how.
The entire process of branding involves creating a unique identity for your business, helping you stand out from your competitors and making it easily identifiable. This is made up of the following five components:
Your brand identity is the most obvious differentiator for your brand. This includes your logo, colours, font, as well as messaging elements such as your tone and word choice.
As a healthcare brand, you may be tempted to go for a safe and ‘common’ choice. Remember that your identity is meant to make your company distinctive in the minds of your consumers. Make use of meaningful symbols to convey your message. For example, Amazon’s logo shows an arrow pointing from A to Z, conceptualizing the company’s ability to deliver customers everything that they are looking for.
Your positioning help to define what makes your brand unique to your customers, and why they should choose you over the rest.
Everyone can be ‘cutting-edge’ or a ‘top provider’. But what makes them truly stand out? This is where you’ll have to consult with your key stakeholders on your competitive advantage.
From here, you’ll be able to get a stronger, more powerful claim that will communicate to audiences about your brand.
The ultimate success of your brand relies on the people that you serve. How are you actualising your brand’s values, mission and vision to your stakeholders?
This means ensuring that your patients’ experience with your brand is consistent across every touchpoint. When they are clear about what they can expect from you, then they know how reliable you are. In turn, this earns you better value through referrals.
Stories are how we connect. It makes your brand more relatable, and more human.
The key to sharing your brand story is to show, not tell. For example, research may be at the forefront of your brand, but that may not be tangible for your audience. Instead, consider sharing real experiences of your patients, or perhaps even your staff members, and see how it breathes promise into your brand.
Often one of the most overlooked aspects of branding, brand activation is all about how you express your brand and engage your stakeholders. One of the simplest ways to do it? By activating your audience through a brand ambassador programme.
Mayo Clinic has a great example of this, by inviting past and current patients to share their stories and provide community support with their ‘Social Media Champions Corner‘ initiative.
Developing a brand strategy for your healthcare brand is no easy feat. These tips above give you a great starting point to develop your brand and generate value.
INL Agency is a marketing and creative agency that specialises in brand building for healthcare organisations. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you streamline your brand strategy.