Healthcare branding is the same as any other type of branding and if anyone tries to tell you otherwise it’s time to walk away. Of course healthcare is special and so are the people involved in delivering it, however why would you abandon core branding principles that work for everyone else for no good reason?
Here is what matters in healthcare branding.
Whether you call them customers, patients, clients or something else you must remember that it is their satisfaction that is the driving force behind the success of your GP surgery, pharmacy, opticians, hospital etc. Yes, there are other factors however customer satisfaction is the most important and the only one you can’t remove and still hope to succeed in the long term.
This is important because customers have an unprecedented amount of choice about where and how to access healthcare. While some services are profession-specific others are becoming a little blurred with multiple professions offering the same services. Healthcare providers across the board are closely looking at every service and offering remote access in an ever growing range of ways. Private providers, both start up, focusing on niche services, and global, focusing on building healthcare ecosystems into our everyday lives are offering increasingly attractive private healthcare that people are willing to pay for. This choice is changing the dynamics in healthcare and putting the customer in the driving seat.
Add to this the fact that the vast majority of providers offer an almost identical set of services to meet standard service level agreements and most healthcare brands have a problem around customer choice.
Choice is increasing but the service offering is the same.
How customers make a choice about where to access healthcare is a growing issue for providers that is being missed by most.
Healthcare branding and the consideration set
To be in with a chance of attracting a customer your healthcare brand must be in their mind when they realise that they have a healthcare need and they are deciding who can help. The list of potential providers in their mind is called the consideration set. If you are not in the list then you can’t be chosen and your customer will go elsewhere.
A huge raft of factors affect the consideration set from location to parking, from what the customer’s plans are for the day to the mood they are in when they wake up. You can’t affect some of the factors however you can aim to increase the chance that your enterprise will feature near the top of the consideration set through healthcare branding.
Healthcare branding is a huge topic and incredibly interesting which is why we specialise in this area at DOSE Design. There are two important factors when aiming to place your enterprise in the customers’ consideration set.
The first is memory.
To be in the customer’s mind you need to make sure your brand is memorable enough to appear there amidst the clutter of your customer’s day to day. To achieve this you can take one short term action and one long term action.
The short term action is to be distinctive. Invest in a professionally developed visual and verbal identity based on your brand positioning and activate that identity across all of your customer touch-points. This will ensure that wherever and whenever your customer comes into contact with your enterprise that they know without a doubt that it is your work and they will begin to associate the two. This is what DOSE Design specialise in.
The long term action is to manage the customer experience over time to ensure that they associate your enterprise with the key ideas that you are aiming for. Perhaps you want to be known as the ‘caring’ optician or the ‘fast’ pharmacy. Whatever it is you must work hard and long to deliver that idea consistently to build memories in your customers’ minds about your enterprise that they can the associate with the visual and verbal identity they see every time they come into contact with you. This is why it is called ‘brand building’ and seen as a high-level, long term element of your marketing strategy. At DOSE Design we work with clients to identify their brand positioning and develop brand identity that helps to communicate it.
The second factor is recency.
With a tsunami of information passing through the minds of even the most reclusive of customers every day, entering and maintaining a position in their consideration set is an ongoing task. That is why large brands invest a lot of money in communications of all types. To remind customers that they exist. Once you have gained a hard won place in the consideration set you want to stay there and to do that you have to re-inforce customer’s memories regularly. The recency or how recently a memory has been made or re-inforced has an impact on whether your enterprise will remain in a customer’s consideration set.
There is a reason that many healthcare enterprises are only just waking up to these ideas and how they can help them grow.
They are run by healthcare professionals who are very, very busy working hard to deliver great care despite many challenges.
As healthcare professionals ourselves we understand the pressure which means we can get straight to it when we are commissioned to develop robust marketing strategy and world class brand identity.
Get in touch for a no obligation consultation about your healthcare brand and we’ll be glad to help. STAT.