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#HITMC 2018: Remarkable Healthcare Brand Transformations

James Gardner

nightviewLast week, I had the pleasure of joining hundreds of healthcare marketing, public relations, and IT pros in New Orleans for the fifth annual “Healthcare IT Marketing & PR Conference” (#HITMC).

I saw two impactful presentations showcasing the importance of brand awareness and perception. More importantly, how these two organizations used this research to create successful campaigns.

Lawrence General Hospital armed themselves with their extensive data to dramatically improve their consumer ratings, and, more importantly, patient volumes for key service lines. Renown Health, a locally beloved organization, was charged with growing the reputation regionally and nationally. A comprehensive thought leadership strategy and clever, innovative content marketing initiatives proved success.

Lawrence General Hospital’s brand perception 180

Jill McDonald Halsey APR, (@Jill_McDonald2), Chief Marketing & Communication Officer at Massachusetts’ Lawrence General Hospital (LGH), shared the journey she and her team undertook in turning around the hospital’s difficult brand perception.

The hospital is located in an underserved community north of Boston and was overshadowed by preconceived opinions and health giants like Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. How could Lawrence General more successfully attract patients from its own community, let alone its surrounding affluent areas?

Consumer research made the difference. Lawrence General’s marketing team conducted extensive qualitative and quantitative research to understand what people really thought of the organization. Armed with that knowledge, Halsey and her team launched a series of rebranding strategies. The results have been impressive: brand awareness and reputation have improved dramatically in consumer ratings, and, more importantly, patient volumes for key service lines have increased both from Lawrence and non-Lawrence zip codes.

Healthcare is not the same as other industries in so many ways. But one factor ties all industries together: Customer perception and branding matters, and thorough consumer research can drive a reset in perception.

Renown Health‘s thought leadership success

speakerCristal Herrera (@cristalwoodley), Director of Marketing and Customer Engagement at Nevada’s Renown Health, shared a story of brand growth through content marketing. While Renown Health is known and beloved locally, the marketing team, led by VP and Chief Marketing Officer Suzanne Hendery (@healthmktr), was charged with growing the organization’s reputation regionally and nationally.

To achieve the goal, the team developed a comprehensive thought leadership strategy that included a series of clever and innovative content marketing initiatives. They began with president and CEO Tony Slonim (@RenownCEOTonyMD), an inspiring visionary and leader who’s also a cancer survivor. The team helped Dr. Slonim learn Twitter and supported him in an effort to leverage social media to reposition Renown’s brand from a regional healthcare powerhouse to a brand of national stature.

A second initiative included the production of a series of monthly videos. The marketing team conducted intense two-hour interviews on several topics with Dr. Slonim and edited them into two- to three-minute segments. The team shared the short versions on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and their blog.

The videos were successful because of Dr. Slonim’s passion, buy-in, and time commitment, as well as the thoughtful planning and distribution efforts of the marketing team. As more videos were published, Dr. Slonim and the team were approached with subsequent requests for thought leadership pieces, contributions to journals, and speaking engagements that furthered their national imprint. Renown Health intends to continue their video series, and has extended the interviews to include other hospital leaders.

How can you make branding waves in 2018?

Successful brand transformations rely on much more than a lucky viral post or one well-planned event. As Lawrence General Hospital and Renown Health showcased at HITMC, transformation of brand perception requires research, data, and stakeholder buy-in. Like these healthcare organizations, you can effect change in your community or region – or nationally – with the right focus and a digital strategy that’s on point.

Ready to take your brand awareness idea to the big stage? We’ll help you kick off your initiative in a big way! Connect with us today to make a positive difference in healthcare.

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