You can say your brand stands for xyz, but in reality, people’s perceptions, impressions, gut feelings, and understandings of who your organization is and what it stands for makes up your brand (whether you like it or not). As organizations grow and evolve, their brands do too and you want to make sure you’re steering that process. So, as with any business, your healthcare, wellness, or community-based organization needs to check in on the health of its brand. Maintaining brand awareness can ensure that your reputation and identity—two crucial components of a strong, growing organization—always remain at their best.
Brand assessments, an essential step in the evolution of any organization, help ensure that the brand’s direction stays on track, marketing efforts remain effective, and that you serve your target audience in the best way. Today, we will review nine telltale signs to look for when assessing the effectiveness of your brand.
1. Your messaging doesn’t clearly express your uniqueness.
Your organization needs clear and focused messaging—visual, written, and spoken—so that your target audience can easily understand who you are, what you do, and, most importantly, why it matters to them. Imagine your target audience in a room, looking over your marketing materials, and asking the question: “Why you over everyone else?” Your messaging should readily answer that question by identifying your points of differentiation and clearly communicating your positioning in the marketplace. If your messaging isn’t clear on these points, then it’s definitely time for a brand assessment and potentially a rebrand.
2. Brand misalignment.
Internal stakeholders having a different perception of the brand than your exterior target audience commonly indicates the need for a rebrand. Do your employees understand and agree upon the who, what, and why of your organization? If aligned properly, 1) all of your people have a clear understanding of your brand and can effectively communicate and deliver upon what your brand stands for and promises, and 2) your target audience understands the brand and believes in the promises made because you fulfill them. Without such alignment, you risk confusing and frustrating both your employees and your target audience, damaging your reputation, and undermining the value of your services.
3. Your brand messaging targets the wrong crowd.
You must know your target audience to market effectively. Take a comprehensive look at how your messaging (website, printed and digital marketing materials, email campaigns, marketing platforms you use, etc.) reflects your brand identity and ask, does it appeal to my target audience? Does it speak to their needs? Would they relate to or see themselves reflected in the brand here? If the answer to those questions is no, you should consider developing new messaging that better engages your target audience.
4. A dip in referrals, reviews or retention.
Referrals have always been and still are an important source of new business. If someone genuinely trusts and likes your brand, they probably enjoy recommending your organization to friends and family. Similar to referrals, potential patients and clients do their research, relying on online reviews to help inform their choices. Additionally, you should always monitor and address patient or client retention. Conduct a quick survey to see how likely your patients or clients would recommend your services or see why they stopped using you. The results of your findings will help inform the health of your brand.
5. Decrease in engagement.
Easily assess the health of your brand by looking at even the most basic amount of data. Is your website traffic flat or, worse yet, trending downwards? If you have a social media page(s) (which you should), have your followers increased over time? Do open job positions receive the same level of responses? Unfavorable answers to any of these questions are worth analysis. Generally, multiple reasons contribute to these issues but usually you can trace them back, to some degree, to an unhealthy brand.
6. Your marketing concepts aren’t competitive in current market trends.
Take a look at your competitors to see what’s modern in your field. What marketing tools or ideas do they use to reach and engage new patients or clients? How do your own efforts measure up? While modernizing for the sake of modernization isn’t a great idea, appearing outdated and out-of-touch isn’t good, either. Again, considering that your target audience typically explores their options, measuring your brand against the competition may show where you can improve.
7. Your brand doesn’t excite your employees.
Take an internal survey to see if your employees understand the organization’s brand and if it inspires them. Often, a passion for helping others drives healthcare, wellness, and community-based workers’ commitment to their work, but many want to know they share that passion with their employer. You can do this through clear and inspirational brand messaging that they can connect and relate to. Your employees act as extensions of your brand every day when they interact with your patients and clients so don’t underestimate the importance of a positive and energetic internal morale. They have the potential to be your strongest brand ambassadors. Plus, checking in with your team’s feelings about your brand helps them feel actively involved in the management and growth of the business, which can garner internal enthusiasm for the brand.
8. It’s been a few years since you made any changes to your brand.
Inevitably, brands age, especially aesthetically. Graphic design, photography, and websites can begin to look dated after just two years. It’s important for brands to look as modern and advanced as their services. Having a look-and-feel that appears as progressive as the care and services you provide is essential.
9. Mergers and Acquisitions.
Whether it’s two or more organizations coming together as one, or one organization acquiring another, you must assess your brand in these instances. The success of any merger or acquisition critically depends on the culture of the new entity. With mergers and some acquisitions, brand cultures blend and evolve to comprise the new entity. That blended brand needs to be supported and adopted by the employees of the new entity for a successful merger or acquisition. This generally requires a rebranding exercise.
It can feel intimidating to realize that some, or all, elements of your brand need updating—but don’t despair. Even small improvements can make a big difference. If necessary, thoughtfully implement your strategic rebrand over an extended period of time to reduce financial stress. As branding experts with years of experience working in healthcare, wellness, and community-based marketing, we can promise that the results make the effort worth it, including greater employee enthusiasm, increased market awareness, and higher ROI for marketing efforts.
Your healthcare, wellness, or community-based brand should make you proud to be a part of it, as well as support your bottom line. We can help you get there—get in touch here, and tell us about the challenges you’re facing. Chances are, we can help. To explore some of the work we’ve done for healthcare, wellness, and community-based organizations, please visit this page. And, if you’d like to receive more insights from us register here.
Mark Crow is President of Tenth Crow Creative, a strategic creative agency that works with healthcare, wellness, and community-based organizations that focus on improving social determinants of health within their communities, which can range from medical care to behavioral health, from affordable housing to elder care, from physical fitness and nutrition to mental wellbeing. Our passion and mission lie in bringing creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to help these essential organizations find their identities and communicate their missions and values to their stakeholders, all with an eye toward affecting real behavior change to improve all lives.