BRANDING IN HEALTHCARE14 Reasons Why Strong Brands Win
STRONG BRANDS PROVIDEIMMUNITY IN TODAYS CHALLENGING MARKETPLACE
Todays healthcare market provides ample challenges for businesses: increasing
competition and commoditization, significant merger and acquisition (M&A)
activity, and uncertainty with regulatory and government oversight. Healthcare
companies have more than doctors to win over they have to reach patients,
providers, and payers too. The pressure is not on companies to perform its on
the brands. People dont buy into a company and its set of products or services.
They buy into the brand, and what it means to them. They buy into the security
within the brand promise and they buy into the way that brand relates to their
individual human journey.
WHAT IS BRANDING?
Branding should not be confused with marketing, advertising, or public relations.
Those are ways of communicating your brand. In order to communicate your
brand, you must first build it.
A brand is a recognizable identity that has a personality, values, and traits. It is
an active business asset that provides differentiation, shareholder value, and
GOOD BRANDS ARE:
1. THREAT OF COMMODITIZATION
Disruptive technology, substitute products or services, and global competition
entering U.S. markets are all forces that threaten to make your product or
service a commodity. Branding off ers an opportunity to provide consumers
with a unique experience that cant be replicated. Brands are one of the only
business assets that provide long-term competitive diff erentiation.
2. MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS & PARTNERSHIPS
More and more healthcare businesses are either joining forces with other
brands, or acquiring other brands to strengthen their portfolio of products
and broaden their capabilities. In order to attract M&As, you need a strong
brand. Your brand identity should clearly communicate the strength of your
company so that other companies perceive your company at a high value.
3. INCREASING FINANCIAL PRESSURE
National tax policies, the medical device tax, pressure to cut costs, and
additional factors are putting increased pressures on healthcare companies
financials. According to Interbrand, brands create economic value by
generating higher returns and growth, and by mitigating risk. In addition,
brands provide the intangible asset of goodwill that can increase company
value and market capitalization.
4. STRONG BRANDS PROVIDE SECURITY IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
Strong brands attract loyalty, and loyalty is protection for when your
company has a PR crisis or the economy gets shaky. Brand loyalists will
defend your brand even when youre not there. Strong brands can earn
benefit-of-the-doubt, whereas weaker brands with slip-ups are more likely
to be called out.
5. KNOWN BRANDS REDUCE PERCEIVED RISK
People choose brand names because known brands are trustworthy. Known
brands with a proven track record provide reassurance and comfort. Branding
is so powerful that consumers are willing to pay more for brand names than
lesser known brands even when the products are virtually identical. This
is evidenced by shopping data collected by Nielsen on OTC Pain Relievers.
That research shows 24% of aspirin sales by volume, and 59% by expenditure,
is devoted to Bayer. Even when there are generic alternatives at significantly
lower costs, people choose the branded aspirin. What do you think attributes
to consumer preference? Brand. The brand not only allows the company to be
the preferred option, but it also allows the company to command higher prices.
6. RISE ABOVE THE NOISE
According to the book, The 24-Hour Customer, people see more than 34
billion bits of information per day an equivalent of two books a day. Todays
consumers (whether B2B or B2C) are inundated with messages. Expertly
crafted messaging is no longer enough to break through the clutter and
reach your target market. Companies can no longer purchase peoples
attention they must earn it. Strong brands that resonate with people win
the privilege to speak to consumers.
7. SIMPLIFY THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
During the decision-making process, consumers search for information
to analyze the differences they perceive between competing brands. Brand
awareness and brand knowledge play an important role here. Branding
positions a company as relevant to a consumer in order to gain their attention.
8. HEALTHCARE DECISIONS REQUIRE TRUST
While branding is important in all industries, branding plays an especially
important role in healthcare where purchase decisions have greater
implications than, say, the restaurant industry. Healthcare decisions impact
our lives on a greater scale - varying from quality of life to life-or-death.
Before a consumer decides to let a doctor implant a medical device in their
body, they need to trust that it will be safe. A doctor isnt going to use a
medical device or drug theyre not confident in either. Branding creates trust
by delivering on brand promise and through relationship building.
9. EMPLOYEE MORALE
Attracting and keeping the top talent is important. High turnover rates are not
only bad for a companys finances, but they also erode company morale.
If your employees dont believe in your brand, theyre more likely to spread
negative word-of-mouth. Employee morale affects performance and the
overall bottom line. A strong brand with a compelling mission provides
meaning and purpose for employees, contributing to overall employee
satisfaction. When employees can feel a part of the mission, theyre more
dedicated to the work.
10. TARGETING PHYSICIANS, NPS & PAS
The MM&M/Ogilvy CommonHealth Healthcare Marketers Trend Report for
2013 found that overall, marketing directors allocated around 75% of their
total budget to healthcare professionals and 25% to the consumer space.
But healthcare companies must adapt to a changing environment, and
deploying an army of reps doesnt work as well anymore. Instead of
communicating on an individual, per physician level, brands need to be able
to speak for themselves. Today, physicians can be reached through a variety
of touch points, including multiple digital channels. The challenge for
healthcare companies is to develop an overarching brand strategy to guide
all communications. This maximizes brand equity, aids brand awareness and
recognition, and establishes the brand as the superior choice. In addition,
companies need to create positive brand experiences for the nurse
practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) that interact closely with
patients and play a crucial role in patient education, product adoption, and
11. PATIENT SATISFACTION
Is your brand voice human or corporate? Your brand has to be consistent
across platforms and audiences, but it should be nimble enough to speak to
the patient. This means producing the right content and delivering it at the
right time, to the right people, with the right tone and style. According to the
Pew Internet and American Life Project, 72% of internet users say they looked
online for health information within the past year. As a healthcare company,
you need to provide patients with the information theyre looking for about
your products and services. Patients are empowered decision-makers and
are asking their doctors for specific brand name products.
72% of internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year. Pew Internet and American Life Project
12. PAYER PRESSURE
Healthcare companies are adjusting to the shift in bargaining power to the
payer. Payers now play a key role in the commercialization process, making
them an important stakeholder to please. The onus is on healthcare
companies to demonstrate value. Branding influences perception, and the
right value proposition can prove the true value of a product or service to
patients in the mind of the payer. Because of healthcare reform, convincing
the payer to provide coverage and reimbursement is a bigger priority than
before, and healthcare companies will have to step up their game.
13. THE PROVIDERS DECISION SET
With healthcare reform, the process of purchasing medical devices within
hospitals has become increasingly sophisticated with a longer, more complex
decision-making process. In more complex decision-making processes,
companies must fi rst earn a spot within the decision set. A strong brand
strategy that communicates value and is easy to recall is key to becoming
part of this coveted selection set.
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