As with any business or organization, from time to time, it’s important for healthcare organizations and medical practices to check in on the health of their brands. Brand assessments are a natural, essential step in the evolution of any organization and can help ensure that the brand’s growth is on track, that marketing efforts aren’t being wasted, and that your target audience is being served in the best way.
There are many telltale signs of an ineffective brand. Today we’re going to review six of them, to help you determine if your healthcare brand is at its best. First, let’s touch base on an important premise: why is having an effective, up-to-date brand important, anyway? That question can be answered by simply reviewing the meaning of a brand itself, which can be defined as the way people feel about your company, services or products. It’s an impression, a gut feeling, an understanding of who you are and what you provide. Do you want this gut feeling to be anything other than positive? Being aware of the efficacy of your brand is a key way to ensure that your reputation and identity – two crucial components of a strong, growing organization – are always at their best.
1: Your employees aren’t excited about your brand. Take an internal survey to see if your employees understand the organization’s brand and are inspired by it. Often, healthcare workers’ commitment to their work is driven by passion for helping others, but many also want to be inspired by the unique essence, messaging and brand of the healthcare organization they work for. It’s important to ensure that internal morale is positive and energetic because your employees act as extensions of your brand every day as they interact with patients. Plus, checking in with your team’s feelings about your brand can make them feel actively involved in the management and growth of the business, which can be a great way to garner internal enthusiasm.
2: 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 antiquated after even just two years. It’s important for healthcare brands to look as modern and advanced as their services. Patients shop around and compare options; having a look-and-feel that is as progressive as the care that you provide is essential.
3: Your brand doesn’t express your unique positioning in the market. Imagine that your target audience is in a room, looking at your healthcare marketing and branding materials, and asking the question: “Why you, over everyone else?” Your positioning, as reflected by your brand, should be able to clearly provide an answer for them. If your positioning isn’t clear, your marketing materials likely won’t be either.
4: Customer referrals are low. Referrals are an important source of new business for healthcare organizations and practices, and it’s much more likely for a person to refer their friend or family member to a brand that they trust and genuinely like. It could be worth conducting a quick survey to see how likely your clients or patients would be to recommend your services, and to determine the health of your brand from that feedback.
5: Your marketing concepts aren’t competitive with current market trends. Take a look at your competitors to see what’s modern in your field. What marketing tools or ideas are they using to reach and engage new patients? How do your own efforts measure up? While modernizing for the sake of modernization isn’t a great idea, appearing antiquated and out-of-touch isn’t good, either. Again, considering that potential patients typically explore their options, measuring your brand against the competition is a good way to see where you can improve.
6: Your messaging is targeted to the wrong crowd. “Know your audience” is one of the primary rules of effective marketing. Take a look at your brand (your website, printed marketing materials, the types of services you provide and their costs, your email marketing, your local advertising) and ask yourself, do these appeal to my target customers? Do they speak to their needs? Would my target patients see themselves reflected here? If the answer to those questions is no, developing new messaging may be in order.
It can feel intimidating to realize that some, or all, elements of your brand need to be updated – but don’t despair! Even small improvements can make a big difference, and a strategic rebrand can be implemented thoughtfully over an extended time to reduce financial stress, if necessary. As branding experts with years of experience working in healthcare marketing, we can promise that the results of the effort are well worth it, including greater employee enthusiasm, increased market awareness and higher ROI for marketing efforts. Your medical brand should be something that you’re proud of every day, and that is supporting your bottom line. We can help you get there – get in touch here, and tell us about the challenge you’re facing. Chances are, we can help!