Feb 17, 2012

Healthcare Re-branding

I've been working on and around a lot of branding and re-branding projects of late. Here are my thoughts, some born from seeing things done very badly, and others from seeing things done very well. That's the way it goes for most things, right?! 

It is obvious (but not always evident) that when it comes to your healthcare re-branding, it’s important that leadership exhibit the same behaviors that your communities, customers, and patients now expect from your brands: actions speak louder than words.

For any re-brand to be truly successful (measured in both relationship and financial terms), your internal audience needs to buy in to the story of your brand. Too often, brand vision, values and promises are rooted among senior managers, but don’t permeate the rest of the organization. What’s required is more articulation, more communications and more demonstration of your branding to your entire internal audience.

Here are five important requisites for success:

1. Paint a compelling, inspiring and tangible picture for the future that will energize the organization and inspire high levels of optimism, commitment, engagement and performance.

2. Introduce a branding strategy that will bind the organization together, while supporting individual locations such as individual hospitals, clinics, pharmacies business offices, etc. and service line identities, and answering the question, “What do we (all of us and each of us) stand for?”

3. Prepare the Senior Team, Directors, Managers and Physician Leaders to enthusiastically and effectively champion to all employees your vision for the future, your strategy and your brand positioning.

4. Establish an on-going, two-way communication process to check progress, communicate successes, solve implementation problems and sustain enthusiasm.

5. Utilize all available formal communication vehicles to inform, inspire and engage internal audiences.

At the end of the day, your most effective brand guidelines – for building brand value – are people. They, not manuals, not posters, not logos, not new websites, are the only way to truly maximize your healthcare organization’s brand energy.