Stephanie Burton

How Borgess Health Used Effective Brand Storytelling to “Restore the Roar.”

By Stephanie Burton on February 19, 2016

Borgess Health of Kalamazoo, Michigan was being outspent in advertising six to one by its nearest competitor. As a result, they were losing two mission critical elements for a healthcare system: patients and employee morale.

At the recommendation of an independent consultant, Borgess’s executive team conducted an agency review process to find a branding expert who could help them “restore the roar,” i.e. to instill pride back into this 125-year-old institution.

Core Creative responded quickly by reviewing the market research, talking to patients and employees, and offering a careful prognosis: Borgess needed to boost its image – first inside its own four walls and then out into the community by being true to its Catholic heritage and caring reputation.

Core’s say it. live it. share it. philosophy, designed to help healthcare providers rally around a simple but compelling mission, provided the strategic direction Borgess needed.

While research indicated that Borgess was preferred for its “accessibility”, Core translated that patient benefit in simpler, more relatable terms. Core recommended that Borgess own the idea of “connecting” with patients at multiple touchpoints (wellness centers, clinics, hospitals); in multiple forums (community events, online resources); and at multiple levels (physical, mental and spiritual).

As Borgess employees began to reflect on all of the ways they connect with patients, the stories flooded in, and with them, a true sense of purpose, mission and pride.

Core gathered the stories and told them in both print and video form. An internal campaign entitled “This is where…” allowed employees to finish the thought with meaningful messages such as “This is where miracles happen every day,” or “This is where I can make a difference.”

Externally, patients were encouraged to recount and share inspiring stories of care and recovery under a complementary campaign entitled “That’s where.” By doing so, Core helped Borgess prove its brand promise through the use of real-life patient testimonials. The brand promise was true – even in the form of advertising: No other healthcare provider in southwest Michigan connects with its patients so deeply and in so many ways as Borgess Health.

Research conducted shortly after the campaign ran showed Borgess bested its competition in terms of unaided awareness as well as preference for primary, secondary and tertiary care. In addition, patient’s willingness to recommend Borgess rose by 11% by the time the campaign had run its course. With a little help from Core Creative, Borgess had packaged up its culture and reputation and restored its roar.

Need help convincing your C-suite that its time to unleash the power of brand storytelling inside and outside of your healthcare system? Fill out the form for a list of “do’s and don’ts” from Core Creative.

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