During earlier years, the significance of healthcare was not that immense. All the services were a matter of availability, not choice. Lately, there has been a massive shift in this outlook. Customers do not just engage with your brand because of its presence but because it offers something unique that interests them.
Any organization is more than just a name or logo. It should project something that is easily identifiable and can be connected with the masses. This competitive advantage is an outcome of exceptional branding that has been expertly mapped to drive you apart from the competition.
Healthcare branding shapes the audience’s perception and how they view your organization in the market. It helps in creating a positive image by building a trusted, attentive, professional, and competent entity. This includes perceptions of those who directly interact with your organization and its services like – patients, doctors, nurses, hospitals, med-tech companies, clinics, pharmaceuticals, etc. Depending on the facility arena and specific services it inculcates, the target audience and the strategies to pitch them will keep alternating.
For instance, a hospital’s target could be getting new patients and highly competent doctors who can represent them and give the best treatments. But, for a pharma company, the target audience could be the patients directly, in the case of over-the-counter drugs or the doctors, if otherwise.
Since the patients have become your certified consumers, the benefits of healthcare branding have evolved, leaving no scope for altering the practice. You need to back your presence informed by solid research and driven by a unique strategy to attain long-term objectives.
Let’s get into the details of how you can achieve excellence in creating the right brand.
1. Carry out market research– It will help to gather information about your products, services, competitors, and audience. Ask questions and have follow-up discussions with the consumers or patients about how they choose a service, the way they view your brand, and what they think drives it apart compared to other competing models in the healthcare industry.
For instance, a doctor or a hospital could carry out one-on-one patient interviews or wide online surveys to understand what the patients think about their health clinic. On the other hand, a med-tech or pharma company can interview both the patients and doctors to analyze customer experience with their products.
Any foundation is built with the collaborative effort of the industry experts, medical staff, patients, and administrators. Considering their individual thoughts and recommendations will help you address the market in a personalized manner.
2. Position your services to maximize returns– How you position your services decides its future and how it will grow in the industry. Developing a reliable brand amidst acute situations (e.g., treatment and medicine research during a sudden disease outbreak, new biotechnology technique for diabetes treatment, etc.) is a great chance to endear your organization with its customer base.
The primary aim of the positioning is to distinguish your presence in the eyes of your customers. To do so, you must first identify what it is that makes your business unique. This necessitates agreement among important stakeholders on issues such as your core demographic, strategic edge, and vision statement.
3. Create an appealing identity– The identity represents your visible label and the accompanying text, tone, graphics, and word choice. It should be such that it strikes an emotional chord with the customers. The visual identification must be engaging in a way that leaves a lasting impression and hence, is easily recognizable.
4. Share stories that add value– Emotions act at high stakes in the healthcare department. What’s better than to use something personal and life-transforming to evoke the interest of your audience? Convey the stories of people who have benefitted from your services to connect with more potential patients in the long run. Efficient brand story-telling builds faith that you can be a trusted fit for any medical needs.
5. Recruit specialists & experts – In a hospital or clinic, you are exposed to various sorts of medical trajectories that get reported at your center. For exceptional management, you need a team of highly competent doctors, nurses, administrators, and support staff who can assist your patients with utmost precision and high-level expertise.
Experienced doctors will also be able to share their expertise in the growth discussions and decisions. With their guidance, your organization can grow in terms of the latest healthcare technology usage, testing & treatment methods, and even larger patient attendance.
6. Hire healthcare brand strategists – The brand strategist will guide you through creating a long-term relationship with all your patients and extended customer base. It will be only possible to achieve an unparalleled audience growth rate if you simultaneously hire a good brand strategist who can boost your brand image.
For e.g., One strategy could be linking your brand to top insurance companies that promote medical tourism to bring you international recognition for offering the best services. This will provide brand recognition amongst international patients who are looking for cost-effective and safe treatment in India.
Engaging with Continuing Medical Education will ensure better clinical outcomes as a result of the high competence of healthcare professionals hired under your organization. CME will train employees towards medical advancements with extreme vigor and precision.
7. Build trust– Trust is one of the most important things when we view the healthcare sector. Your brand will be created or hampered depending upon the extent of faith your patients hold in your hired professionals (doctors, nurses, administration, associated pharmacists, etc.) and the services they offer. Share your expert stories and emphasize on your ability to provide top-quality services and aspire for best results. Presenting detailed information about your brand’s processes is a great way to establish trust and reliability.
8. Enhance your digital footprint – Creating a digital presence distinguishes how somebody connects with you. Be it a patient or a medical professional, all of them research the growing trends and how the organization acts on them before deciding to engage with it. Updating regular information about the services on the official website and helping through it can build trust and turn any probable leads into regular customers.
If you are a hospital or clinic, you can receive patients’ reviews and feedback on your services which will help you understand their needs better and accordingly fulfill them. These reviews can be accessed by others on the online portal creating transparency.
Strong branding will offer greater control over the market space and your business’ future assessment. These effective measures give customers more control over the organization-customer relationship and are extremely helpful to fulfill individual healthcare needs.
In our next article, we will discuss the strategies you can embrace to forge a strong brand presence in the competitive sphere surrounding distinguished medical institutions.
Pramita Sen is the Founder of WeYou Partners and a healthcare brand strategist
Vartika Srivastava is interning with WeYou Partners, and a student at Christ University, Bangalore