Core Exchange: Healthcare Brand Positioning
Dave: (music) I’m sitting here today talking with Stephanie about healthcare brand positioning. Let’s talk about first off, what is brand positioning?
Stephanie: Brand positioning is really a classic marketing strategy that allows healthcare organizations to claim a position or a spot in the market that’s relevant, believable, true to their audience and really differentiates itself from the competition as well.
Dave: Why is it so important today for healthcare systems to differentiate themselves in the market?
Stephanie: In addition to one of the complex and confusing industries in the world, we’ve also got healthcare reform, we’ve got health insurance, and the consumer really isn’t able to differentiate one healthcare organization from another. We’ve got to help them along by establishing our position in the market, again, making it relevant to the consumer and clear.
Dave: What are some of the common mistakes that healthcare organizations make when trying to position their organization?
Stephanie: The first is trying to be all things to all people, uh, being the leader in research, and the leader in quality, and the leader in patient satisfaction. Pick one and stick with it. The second is this “me too” mentality that we see happen. The competitor wins an award.
We say, “But we win awards too,” and we go toe to toe with the competitor in this award warfare, is what we see so frequently in healthcare.
Dave: How can a health system position itself effectively in a crowded market?
Stephanie: Tapping into your key stakeholders, tapping into your customers or your patients. What are those core qualities or values that really rise to the top? Look for themes. That will help you as you’re positioning. The other thing that we encourage our clients to do is look for blue ocean opportunities, is what we call them. It’s almost like backing in to a brand position. It doesn’t make it any less true or relevant, but it’s looking at where your competitors are swimming, what are the positions they’re going to market with, and seeing if there’s opportunity elsewhere for you to really stake a claim.
Dave: What are the benefits of establishing this clear and discernible brand position in the market?
Stephanie: We start to see greater efficiencies across the board because now instead of trying to promote ten different messages, we’re really promoting one very strong message.
Dave: For people who may be looking at this in terms of all of the different messages they’re trying to get across, they might be asking themselves, “Why can’t I just list a series of bullet points of all the features of the communications that I’m trying to get across?”
What would you say to that.
Stephanie: As you and I both know, in this industry it’s about benefits, how can our patients stand to gain that which we have to offer them? It’s not about features. Secondly, the really important word there is “patients”. It’s not about us as health systems. It’s really about our patients. We have a responsibility and an obligation to make sure that we are providing them with information that is tailored to their needs, that’s easy to understand, and is relevant as well.
Dave: Top three takeaways of what we’ve been talking about today.
Stephanie: Number one, make sure you position yourself differently from your competitors. That’s differentiation. It’s at the core of brand positioning. Number two, brand positioning is really going to help extend your marketing budget. You can get more bang for your buck, and that’s a really good thing in today’s healthcare world. Number three, brand positioning is really about the consumer. It’s about making your brand that much more accessible and understandable for the consumer audience (music).