Archive for category Branding
Just as people grow, so do companies and their brands. Yet even with normal change, the indications that an established business or organization should reassess and recalibrate their name, logo, positioning, messaging and/or visual identity can be fuzzy. So how do you know when a rebrand is the next step, or when a simplified brand refresh or marketing strategy revamp is the best course of action?
Regular checkpoints proactively address the brand’s position in the market, and should occur when…
…there has been (or will be) a diversification in products or services. With additions or changes in offerings, a stagnant brand may misrepresent the customer experience. This causes confusion and lack of trust with consumers, which doesn’t support long term relationships or brand loyalty.
…the company is establishing groundwork for growth. On a larger scale, if a company is expanding its geographic footprint or broadening its audience base, the brand strategy must reflect the bigger vision and represent the values as a whole.
…there has been a change in leadership. New leaders often come with new ideas and direction, or at least a variation of what’s been in place to date. When the brand doesn’t align with their vision, there is no longer internal buy-in. This leads to lack of brand consistency internally, which translates directly to lack of external brand power.
…the company is losing market share. A decline in sales can indicate a loss of brand relevancy and the rise of a competitor whose brand, products or services resonate stronger with customers. To maintain an edge and reclaim market share, it’s imperative to analyze the source of the change and respond in a strategic manner.
…the industry has changed. From electronics and software, to healthcare and even fashion, business segments change as technology advances and new generation’s behavior evolves. Companies must keep up to date to survive industry development, and the same goes for their brand and marketing strategies.
The decision to rebrand is challenging, involving a significant amount of time, energy and emotion. Yet, the rewards of reinvesting, at the right time with the right people involved and with the right approach, are substantial. The opportunity is a powerful brand that resonates with strategic leadership, is believed by internal audiences, embraced by consumers and a successful organization that truly achieves thriving brand leadership.
A hospital website is a platform to showcase general as well as new and updated information about patient services, treatments and technologies, upcoming events and community involvement. A hospital website is valuable by providing this information to patients and the community, but first and foremost, the website is an extension of a healthcare organization’s brand. The look, functionality and content are demonstrations of a brand’s values and reinforce brand perceptions in the marketplace. According to OLAA Lead Strategist, Integrated Advertising Alyse Stranberg, “You build your patient experience from a quality and character standpoint the second a patient walks into your hospital. The same concept applies to the website; the patient experience is translated into your web user experience.” When the online image is consistent with the experience within the hospital walls, it establishes and sustains trust, credibility and consumer loyalty.
To ensure a consistent, quality web experience for all audiences, it is important to implement a responsive website that is optimized for all devices including desktop and laptop computers, smart phones and tablets. In the case of emergency or urgent care situations, the access to a provider’s information by mobile phone can be key in helping an individual in need of immediate healthcare assistance.
User-friendly navigation is also a key component of a positive web experience. “Not only is it important to have a responsive design, the website needs to be intuitive, easy to navigate and the design should make it easy to find information on any device,” shares Mary Ellen Kubik, OLAA Integrated Advertising Coordinator.
“In this day in age, people are always on the go and people want their information fast. You need to have all relevant information; however, learning to condense it is important,” adds Michelle Regrut, OLAA Integrated Advertising Coordinator.
Hospital website content should be organized in a strategic manner and group relevant information together for patients, community members, donors, etc…. Using lists and minimal word usage assists in being able to navigate the overall site and digest complicated information. However, services and treatments should still be communicated as appropriate, and service line names should be consistent throughout the hospital and website to limit confusion.
Blogs have also become an effective content tool for healthcare organization’s to showcase knowledge, leadership and expertise; establish credibility; and showcase a knowledge and awareness on current health issues facing the local community and the population as a whole. A content strategy including press releases and announcements, updated health facts, case studies, new research and patient stories keeps page content fresh and acts as a source of discussion and interaction.
A current website with a modern look, responsive functionality and evolving content shows that a hospital is up to date, current, and is invested in communicating these changes to their community. “Things change so often in the healthcare industry, from the types of technology used to the different treatment options to the newest award rankings. If a hospital website is out of date, then it can appear that the hospital’s practices are as well,” shares Michelle Torr, OLAA Sr. Integrated Advertising Executive.
It is important to maintain a current web presence to keep the brand story relevant, and focus user flow for key audiences. “You have to switch your mind into the patient, physician, donor and current or prospective employees that are looking at your website or looking for a piece of information. Make sure the content is prominent and easy to find,” states Alyse.
When a real person shares an authentic story with conviction and passion, they become your brand ambassador. Yet patient privacy and HIPAA concerns, along with the desire to honor and respect individuals’ health care experiences, often complicate a testimonial approach to marketing strategies. It is possible to achieve both, and leverage the power of testimonials in brand storytelling.
Be transparent, and document. Openly communicate from the first request what’s needed from the patient and where their image and story will appear. If they are on board, ensure all of the appropriate release forms outline all potential activity and are approved.
Treat the patient like a celebrity. Making the patient feel special and that their involvement is deeply appreciated will go a long way in opening up what the patient shares and ensuring a smooth experience.
Involve the patient in the process. Have a photo shoot, record or videotape an interview and share all footage and materials with them for personal use. Allow the patient to review and approve any and all materials before they are made public.
Keep the patient in the loop. Making sure a patient is informed and excited about the end result will increase the likelihood of them having pride in the campaign, and that they will talk about it with their friends and family – taking your ad dollars one step further.
Why should a hospital or medical group spend resources on marketing and advertising?
When a person is encountered with a health-related injury or situation, either for themselves or a loved one, he or she immediately thinks of finding the right facility for treatment. Whether it’s past experience, insurance, location, reputation or ambulance-directed, there are many reasons why a particular facility may come to mind and which hospital or care site is visited. Top of mind awareness is extremely important in these moments and advertising and marketing is a key component in maintaining brand presence.
“A common misperception is that people will choose a hospital based on facilities approved by their insurance; however, average and higher-income individuals have the ability to choose where they receive treatment. At the end of the day, there is still a choice,” states Michelle Regrut, OLAA Integrated Advertising Coordinator.
Advertising has a way of forming reputation over time. “It’s being able to define yourself in a competitive landscape,” community, it showcases the strengths, the quality of service and the distinguishing characteristics it has over competitors. Advertising creates enticing public opinions and at times, judgments; however, “people like to see that a name is out there, the brand is out there. Advertising is one way to be ahead of someone’s thought process, should they have the ability to choose where they are being treated,” states Alyse Stranberg, OLAA Lead Strategist. says Mary Ellen, OLAA Integrated Advertising Coordinator. When a hospital takes the initiative to advertise in its
Hospital advertising is also important for community education, as healthcare organizations have an inherent responsibility to support health and wellness of the community they serve. “Healthcare organizations can look beyond their one facility to capture the attention of the community and give the right frame of mind when it comes to what healthcare truly is,” states Alyse. This is achieved through education, which often includes events, classes, collateral materials and mass marketed awareness messages – all of which are functions of marketing and advertising.
When hospitals are present through marketing and advertising, they maintain a positive brand image, are top of mind in the community and benefit the local economy. They provide hundreds of jobs and deliver care that allows individuals to stay focused on their families, their careers, their hobbies and other important aspects of their everyday lives. Hospitals can become local symbols and their reputation reflects on the city, the neighborhood and the people.
Hospitals can maximize their impact on the community through external communications such as public relations, physician relations, marketing and advertising. With a commitment to an ongoing strategic advertising plan, Hospitals can provide education and valuable information so that when someone is in need of a healthcare facility, they are informed and can make a choice that suits their personal needs.
Before the days of technology and tweeting, the mailman was the key communication source for marketers. Times have clearly changed, and you might be wondering why a direct mail strategy is still relevant in today’s world of marketing and advertising. With faster, inexpensive ways of communicating with internal and external audiences, who in their right mind would spend the time, money and the resources on “snail mail” just to have them “organized into the trash?”
Despite the increasing shift in using digital media for communication, sharing of ideas and spreading awareness, many target audiences are still in-sync with the good ole fashioned paper mail. So what does this mean for you?
With a direct mail strategy, you are able to segment your mailing recipients into very specific categories depending on the audience’s demographic, including age, household income, lifestyle habits, health concerns and of course, location. Expert lists and databases are available to refine your search of potential customers even further.
Digital media continues to evolve and has made it easy for businesses to target potential customers online. However, some consumers have adapted by applying filters to their emails to avoid spam or any unwanted email, by utilizing private browsing sessions with disabled cookies. Direct mail is a way to reach these individuals and improve the odds of making an impression. This is also true for those that are not up to date on the latest technologies or choose not to even use email and social media. Direct mail can be a key vehicle to connect with these individuals, with direct response and brand awareness messages. Even with younger generations who are undoubtedly in tune with the digital world, a relevant and thoughtful direct mail piece can make an impact.
In addition to tailoring the recipients of a direct mail strategy, the pieces themselves can and should be developed with the audience and objectives in mind. Personalized messages, creative mail pieces, unexpected paper and printing methods, unique shapes and customized letters go a long way in the eye of the consumer. Direct mail is undoubtedly a more costly tactic when taking account postage and paper costs, so it is extremely beneficial to use focused, personalized bait and cast a line rather than a giant fishing net and hope for a big return.
In terms of advertising as a whole, it is important to evolve with the role of digital technology as well as understand traditional strategies like direct mail, broadcast, print and outdoor. A well-rounded integrated marketing campaign covers all of your bases, implementing tactics that are relevant and impact your key audiences and maintaining consistency with each to truly break through and elicit response.
Nike, Adidas, Puma. These are all brands that could come into mind when thinking of athletic goods and active lifestyles. But what distinguishes these sports-focused brands? What images come to mind when thinking about them? Do you know what they stand for? Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple, states “In the real world, you don’t have infinite resources; you don’t have a perfect product; and you don’t sell to a growing market without competition. You’re also not omnipotent, so you cannot enforce what people think your brand represents. Under these assumptions, most companies need all the help they can get with branding.”
See what Kawasaki, an icon in the advertising industry, has to say here: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140317131156-2484700-the-art-of-branding?trk=prof-post
OLAA brand developers Sheri Audette, Alyse Stranberg and Micah Panzich agree, and share their viewpoints on Kawasaki’s art of branding:
A mistake a company can make in the branding process is having more than one message in one brand campaign. When it comes to creating a branding statement, make it simple and to the point rather than try to reach multiple markets with different messages. Sheri Audette, Art Director, Integrated Advertising states, “Less is more when it comes to branding a company statement. Trying to fit everything in one piece/campaign is misguiding and creates confusion in your audience.”
Examine the bounce back. Alyse Stranberg, OLAA Lead Strategist, Integrated Advertising states, “This is critical. What you may believe to be clear and direct, can easily be missed or misunderstood. And because your audience is often made up of a variety of consumers, it’s always a good reminder to ask those around you who relate to the target demographic. This can be a small sampling (you don’t want too many chefs in the kitchen), and the findings can be hugely beneficial. It’s important to step back and look at a message newly, as a potential consumer. Re-review the goals and objectives of the campaign’s message, and then ask yourself, ‘what’s the brand, what’s the call to action, what’s the differentiator, the WHY.’”
Strive for humanness. “This may be something used in marketing, but can also be seen in things as simple as song writing. Take it from the Beatles. Song titles like, I Feel Fine, All MY Loving, From ME To YOU, Drive MY Car, Can’t Buy ME Love, Hide YOUR Love Away, Please Please ME, She Loves YOU, I ME MINE, I Want YOU, I’LL Be Back, Etc… They figured out from the start that the audience really connected with a song when the lyrics became personable. This no doubt led them to some great success, even when the Stones were actually a better band,” states Micah Panzich, OLAA Graphic Designer, Integrated Advertising.
Consumers want to be targeted as an individual, not as an entire market. A crucial component of developing a personal connection with your target market is creating a personal experience for each consumer. When developing your brand, always envision the consumer’s personal ownership of the product or service and how that will translate into a relationship to a brand as a whole. For example “My Nikes, My Adidas, My Pumas.”
Although the art of branding is a continually evolving component of marketing, using these fundamentals has proved to be helpful when working with our OLAA clients when developing brands.