It’s no secret that the healthcare landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years, and with a steady stream of baby boomers approaching their retirement years, the demand for healthcare has never been higher. The expectation for access to healthcare services, providers and information is growing exponentially each year, increasing the marketing assets required.
For healthcare marketers, these shifts present a whole new set of challenges. How do hospital systems—and the providers, clinics and vendors within them—promote their business while maintaining brand unity? How do healthcare marketers quickly get personalized assets to the locations and teams that need them without compromising brand integrity?
Fortunately, solid brand management can make overcoming these challenges much easier. In this post, we’ll look at five steps you can take to create a brand management strategy that not only protects you against the tide of change—but also carries you to greater success.
1. Assign Dedicated Brand Managers
As healthcare marketing becomes more complex—appealing to whole new audiences across a multitude of digital and traditional touchpoints makes managing your brand’s integrity more complex as well. It’s important to have a dedicated team that’s responsible for ensuring your brand is properly represented and protected.
With healthcare systems becoming more entwined and interdependent, brand management requires more focus and attention. By doing the legwork and setting the foundation, your marketing team can create the environment and tools your employees, partners and vendors need to succeed.
2. Create Clear Brand Guidelines
In an industry as heavily regulated as healthcare, failing to adhere to brand guidelines could do more than damage your reputation—it could get you into legal trouble.
Work with your marketing team or ad agency to create a brand style guide that establishes the standards all employees and vendors should follow when representing your brand—from colors and images to messaging and tone. For healthcare products and services, these guidelines might also include regulatory compliance guidelines, especially when patient communications are involved. Remember: elements like your name, logo and tagline are visual and contextual reminders of your brand promise. In an age of healthcare consolidation, consistent use of these elements ensures confusion, sloppiness or misrepresentation never undermine your objectives.
3. Get Buy-In from Stakeholders
Everyone who represents your brand—whether it’s across traditional marketing touchpoints, online or face to face—must be willing to take responsibility for maintaining your brand’s promise.
For brand managers, that means listening to the feedback of salespeople, arming vendors with the materials they need and educating employees on the proper use of brand elements. A strong brand makes selling easier, builds loyalty (essential in a referral industry like healthcare) and shores up staff morale. When everyone’s invested in protecting the brand, everyone wins.
4. Provide Access to Brand Assets
While guidelines provide a roadmap for your brand, employees also need the proper vehicles to convey it. You don’t want regional reps, clinic locations or well-meaning employees going rogue and creating their own “branded” materials. Be sure to give them access to logos, graphics, approved images and other marketing materials (with controls and technology in place to make sure they use them correctly). Anyone responsible for promoting your service or product should be armed with the resources they need to do their job effectively without risk of misrepresenting your brand.
5. Invest in a Brand Management Platform
Brand managers don’t have to do all this alone. A third-party brand management platform can go a long way toward helping streamline operations and control brand assets. Such a platform allows marketers to consolidate all their marketing assets through one custom online portal—from variable print-on-demand to digital assets and more. This gives regional offices or staff in the field the ability to personalize, order and distribute APPROVED marketing assets as needed, while brand managers retain complete oversight. In addition, having a go-to “brand-on-demand” system can dramatically decrease your time-to-market, enabling you to be more agile and cost-efficient—without compromising brand integrity.
As you’ve probably realized, brand management takes a lot of planning and work. But it’s worth it—especially when it comes to the impact brand trust has on the buying decisions of patients, payers and providers. After all, there’s a big difference between choosing the wrong toothbrush and choosing the wrong doctor, device or drug.
Why should consumers believe a brand that can’t take care of itself could ever take care of them?
Ready to Streamline Operations and Protect Your Brand?
Schedule a free, personalized demo of Stream360, Streamworks’ marketing-on-demand platform, to find out how it can help your healthcare organization get control of its marketing.