Uncovering your hospitals strengths

We’ve all been hearing about the importance of branding your organization. We all agree that it’s important and should be done. You need to be different from your competitors. However, saying you need to have a brand, or identity, and having a brand are two very different things.

Your hospital or clinic is probably great at many things. Maybe even the same things other hospitals are good at too. How do you decide what to brand? Should you just pick one department and forget about everything else? Should you brand your hospital as a whole?

There are many things you should evaluate before coming up with a branding campaign and they can’t possibly all be covered here. But, let’s start with a few of the basics:

1. What are the demographics of your hospital or clinic? Do you deliver a lot of babies? Are you surrounded by an aging population?

2. Do you have some great docs on staff that specialize in a particular area? Are they recognized by their peers as leaders in their field? If not, should they be? Is there anything you can do to facilitate that?

3. Do you offer exceptional customer service in one particular area of your hospital?

4. What type of experience do consumers EXPECT to receive from your organization, and is that the experience they DO receive? Are you exceeding their expectations?

5. Do you know the current image of your hospital in the community?

6. Write down the image your competitors have in the community. How does your stack up against theirs?

7. Does the advertising you do now meet your target audience? (sometimes it takes an outsiders view to see this one)

8. Ask people outside your hospital how they see it, and ask shareholders, board members, volunteers. What do they see as the hospitals strengths and weaknesses? How do they think the rest of the community sees it?

Here are five more steps taken from an article on branding by David Kay in health leaders magazine in 2003.

1. Know the hospital, its capabilities, history, and plans. The brand must be based on reality.

2. Determine the views of the different stakeholders, i.e. how do they see the “brand;” how do they use the hospital?

3. Identify the gaps between the images held by stakeholders. Also, identify the gap between what the hospital really is and how its stakeholders see it.

4. Determine the hospital’s “believability potential,” i.e. where the hospital can be realistically positioned in the minds of the different stakeholders. Just declaring that a hospital is like the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins won’t make it so.

5. Determine what image and communications vehicles will be effective in rebranding the hospital.

Copyright (c) 2007 A Marketing Connection