Branding is essential for business success – in any industry. It’s the emotional relationship you have with your customers. It drives them to – or away from – you. In today’s tough economic climate, the wellness of an organization’s brand is more critical than ever.
In the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer: An Annual Global Opinion Leaders Study, trust and credibility in brands exceeded all other corporate attributes. Where else is trust more important than in healthcare? Healthcare decisions are emotional. Sometimes it’s a matter of life and death. Studies show that people are most loyal to brands that are most personal. Brands that you feel, that you touch. Things that comfort you and make you feel better. This is where healthcare needs to see itself today.
So how does a healthcare business successfully implement an effective brand strategy? A business must clearly identify:
- What its customers or stakeholders expect and desire most
- What services it will focus on delivering to the marketplace
- What values it wishes to project, and most importantly,
- The differences between itself and its competitors
You accomplish this last item by showing how your product or service is superior — a difficult task when the market has many competitors whose offerings are similar. When the brand identity is clearly defined as being competent, responsive, caring, and modern, it instills confidence in clients and patients, and it allows them to make the informed decision to become, or remain, your customers.
A successful branding strategy must be backed up by the practices of each customer-facing employee. This is where the substance of the brand — that is, potential customers’ perception of your business — is solidified. In our next entry, we will touch on this important issue, as well as the importance of being technology-savvy with your marketing efforts.