How are you building a strong hospital brand?

To engage patients and promote loyalty, hospitals should focus on improving service and interacting with the community at large.

Health care is a competitive business, and it takes a strong brand to give your hospital a mark of distinction.

Building that brand starts with focusing on a few key areas:

Branding challenges

Branding a health care organization means recognizing the needs of the typical customer base and catering to them. This creates a unique challenge for hospitals.

A recent case study discussed the influence of a brand on customers:

Every hospital deals with diversity issues, and doing so takes careful analysis and a thorough understanding of the role that geography plays. Balancing the needs of the community a hospital serves is as important as meeting the needs of individual patients.

Consider these steps to a stronger brand:

Deliver on your promises.

We often see claims on billboards and in print ads for hospitals with emergency room wait times shorter than elsewhere. However, those who wait for care at these hospitals often tell a different story.

Well-regarded hospitals are those that keep their promises. Health care is a value-driven service, so consumers take it personally when hospitals fail to keep their promises. If your emergency room wait time isn’t your greatest strength, focus on your maternity ward or the care and attention of the physicians.

Develop brand identity values.

Hospitals develop a brand through unique values. It’s important that your staff buys in to these values and is dedicated to promoting them:

Market your core values prolifically and through multiple forms of advertising. There’s no need for a memorable slogan or jingle in hospital branding, but patients should immediately identify your brand with quality.

Know your health grade.

High-quality care is by far the most important factor for every health care system. You can attract patients simply through knowing and promoting your health grade, which is based on consumer rankings, including patient satisfaction scores and reviews.

Most health grades and patient satisfaction rankings are recorded on sites such as HealthGrades.com, where you can read reviews that will show your strengths and weaknesses.

Knowing your health grade offers several key advantages. It reveals positive values that can be used to promote your company. If your health grade is good, it can be a powerful branding tool.

Your health grade will also spotlight areas that need improvement. Use that information to promote better care.

Your health grade isn’t set in stone, and it can be improved if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Take care of your staff.

Hospitals tend to have limited resources that make it difficult to understand their patients and how to attract their attention. Creative thinking is essential in the branding discussion for those lacking ample resources.

Another way to strengthen your organization’s brand is to focus on your employees. Besides being aware of promoting your vision and values, your staff should embody those values; they are, after all, your primary brand ambassadors. Consider creative and inexpensive ways you can provide stress-relieving perks to keep your staff balanced and productive.

Build a lasting brand by balancing patients’ needs for top-quality care and personalized experiences with your organization’s core values and employees who embody them.

Anna Johansson is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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