The most powerful companies in the world live and die on their brands. It has been estimated that at least half of Coca Cola’s market capitalization ($178 billion, May 2014) resides in its brand alone. The same can be said of Apple, the world’s most valuable company.
I would argue that a hospital’s brand is even more important to its success than it is for these global companies. Just think about it. Your hospital’s reputation (brand) is everything to its success. It’s one thing to trust Coke to taste good or your iPhone to work consistently, but trust in a healthcare environment is something else altogether.
Yet, some hospitals, particularly the smaller ones which have greater brand challenges than anyone, don’t invest a lot of time, effort or thought into building the brand – even though we know from decades of research that brand building pays great dividends. The fact that brand building is so important is why even the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, the Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson devote millions to building their brands annually.
The benefits to building a strong brand are many:
- Increases consumer confidence
- Reduces consumer risk
- Creates customer loyalty
- Signifies quality
- Is more memorable
- Provides differentiation
Building a hospital brand takes dedication. It’s not a once every other year campaign. It’s an every day focus. You start by understanding what the public’s perceptions are of your hospital, then evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and determine not only what you desire to be, but also what you realistically can be in your community. Once you’ve determined your message, it’s a matter of deciding what’s necessary to convince your community of your vision.