Branding the Future of Healthcare

BY: ZACK MISKEL, ASHLEY THORNHILL & JOSE QUIROZ  |  MAY 24th, 2022 – 5 MIN READ

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Key Takeaways from the 2022 Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit

  • Marketing execs need to have senior leadership, physicians, finance, operations and digital at the table to implement a successful strategy.
  • The healthcare industry is outdated, giving brands the chance to disrupt the status quo through innovation as they evolve.
  • Digital strategy and consumer experience are mandatory today, and these need to be fully integrated into your organization.
  • Collecting and sharing hard data is essential to building trust with your consumers.
  • “Your brand is not what you think it is, your brand is what your customers say it is.”
  • Today’s consumers view health and wellness services as commodities and they want to know that if they put their trust and money into a brand, they will get quality care.

Convincing an entire organization of the importance of branding and digital strategy is a hard task in any industry. In an often traditional and long-established field such as healthcare, it can be even more challenging. That’s why the annual Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit invites marketing leaders in wellness and medicine to learn about and master new and emerging communications, marketing, and physician relations challenges. The Antonio & Paris team was thrilled to attend this year’s summit in Salt Lake City to join those brand executives so that we can help our clients in the industry build and maintain strong brands and consumer relationships. Our global brand strategists and digital experience experts had a great time meeting innovators at the event and hope to reconnect with many of them soon!

What We Learned: Innovative Branding Solutions for Healthcare Professionals

Decision-makers who are responsible for the acquisition and retention of customers and, more importantly, the development of their brand are under pressure to find effective ways to engage the consumer. Building long-lasting and profitable relationships with your audience can certainly be done using some of the strategies and tactics highlighted at the Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit. Senior leadership, physicians, finance, operations, and digital are the major groups to get on your side.

Get with the Times: A major pitfall we learned was that healthcare is way behind on a lot of ideas that have been the norm in marketing for decades. From the way they identify and speak to consumers to the ways brands invite an initial connection, it’s clear that many in the healthcare industry could use a healthy dose of digital strategy and a more thorough understanding of what consumers are looking for from brands. The global brand studio at A&P is well-equipped to help brand executives and their team determine their current consumer journey and how to improve upon it. Building trust is paramount, andconsumers are not going to trust a company they feel cannot get with the times. One example used was the question “Would you call an airline to book your travel?” Similarly, why should you have to call to schedule an appointment with a physician? Consumers can book just about any other type of appointment online or through an app, and they are expecting healthcare to get with the program. Those who study and engage in current and innovative marketing strategies can get a kickstart on this growth now.

Embrace Digital: A digital strategy and consumer experience are mandatory today, and these need to be fully integrated into your organization. Full integration means cross-departmental collaboration, management by an outcome-focused committee that is empowered to make decisions (not just for executives), operational marketing online, and established cross-functional KPIs. New talent is often needed, even going so far as creating new titles/roles such as Technology Marketers, Head of Patient Engagement, or Chief Internet Security Officer. Workflows are sensitive, but need to be adapted to digital systems in order for brands to survive today. Digital technologies and solutions need to have the buy-in from all departments, because it will impact them; it’s important to get input internally before making decisions. This offers brands the opportunity to streamline internal processes. Additionally, collaboration with cross-departmental colleagues will help identify possible shortcomings and opportunities in your new digital transformation and consumer experience.

Data Is Not Dead: “Voice of the Consumer” research is crucial to communicating with audiences and getting invaluable individual feedback. Still, brand leaders in healthcare are showing that their consumers also want and need to see hard data to back up their marketing. Collecting hard data is essential to building trust and being transparent with your consumers. It can be supported by sentiment and insights but needs to be presented clearly and factually, especially today as so much misinformation is spread across the internet and social media. To make your Voice of Consumer even more powerful, we recommend layering on top a Content Mind-Mapping strategy to help identify content themes that move the needle (i.e., drive visitations, inquiries, enrollment, and more).

Never Forget the Customer Journey: As with any industry—and perhaps more than most—the healthcare customer journey is key to identifying marketing opportunities. During patient journeys, data points and information should be collected for marketing purposes so that brands can better understand what their customers need, want, think, and feel during interactions and experiences with the brand itself. A key takeaway from the summit was: “Your brand is not what you think it is, your brand is what your customers say it is.” You want to be able to monitor and maintain your reputation both online and off, and intimately following and improving the consumer journey will help you do that. Customer experience meetings can be held in clinics, hospitals, call centers, and other patient facilities to effectively tap into the customer psyche.

Improving Healthcare for All: Brands must recognize, acknowledge, and communicate with consumers what they are doing to address issues in the overall healthcare industry or system. Today’s consumers view health and wellness services as commodities and they want to know that if they put their trust and money into a brand, they will get quality care. Brands can level with consumers and gain trust and loyalty by addressing topics such as insurance, the disparity of essential healthcare services among different groups and what they are doing to combat it, what their physicians are doing to help research and advancement of care, and more. For best results, be honest and communicate often.

As always, marketing professionals must be diligent in continued communication within the organization, especially with leadership, on the brand vision, promise, and goals to continue to grow brand awareness with consistency among consumers. Recognizing branding as a crucial element of marketing is also essential to success. As one of the summit’s speakers shared, “Marketing and digital are the rhythm section of a company; they set the pace, keeping it consistent.” Having an overall brand look, feel, and strategy will keep your company’s platforms streamlined and grow recognition among audiences in-person and online.

Reading List

These books were among those mentioned during the 2022 Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit and can prove to be great reading for healthcare marketing professionals looking to improve strategy:

  • Strategy Is Your World by Mark Pollard
  • How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp
  • The Long and Short of It by Les Binet and Peter Field
  • How Not to Plan by Les Binet
  • Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Taddy Hall, David S. Duncan, Karen Dillon, Clayton Christensen
  • Planning to Win by Roger Martin
  • Measure What Matters by John Doerr
  • The Patient Will See You Now by Carey James Kriz
  • Joe Public 2030: Five Potent Predictions Reshaping How Consumers Engage Healthcare by Chris Bevolo

More About Antonio & Paris

Antonio & Paris is led by smart rebels with expansive expertise in strategy, creative, research, analytics, digital, and design. We are a global agency that works as one combined team with a worldwide perspective that transcends multiple industries. This allows us to tap into the code that highlights cultural differences as well as similarities of humans around the world. Our proprietary tools help to enlighten us with regard to where the intersection lies between the practical and emotional (humanity) needs that start the spark between our clients’ brands and their target audience. This humanity is then embedded in everything we do, from Brand Strategy to Digital Strategy, Brand Identity, and Brand Experience.

Get in touch with our team to ignite your brand’s love affair with the consumer!

Zack blog profile image

CO-AUTHOR
Zack Miskel

Short Bio — Zack joined the Antonio & Paris team at the beginning of 2019 after spending the previous five years running two start-up companies in the Bay Area. Now a strategist, Zack works alongside the strategic planning team at Antonio & Paris to deliver a big-picture perspective for clients such as MINI USA, Barco (Belgium), and Brookdale Senior Living, to name a few.

Ashley blog profile image

CO-AUTHOR
Ashley Thornhill

Short Bio — Ashley came to Antonio & Paris in 2014 following a successful career marketing both off and online art and antique auctions for one of the major global auction houses. After nearly a decade of managing countless estate sales and significant collections, overseeing complex client projects came like second nature. Ashley has a hand in every project that A&P undertakes from consumer apps for AT&T to positioning political campaigns to new product development for Wrigley Gum to re-defining aging for Brookdale Senior Living or launching a fully integrated marketing campaign for Star Trek Beyond in seven countries.

Jose Quiroz

CO-AUTHOR
Jose Quiroz

Short Bio — As the VP of Digital Engagement at Antonio & Paris, Jose Quiroz continually researches and develops exciting new ways to make connections between brands and consumers through technology. Born in Orizaba, Veracruz, Jose is a “dreamer” who began his tech career over ten years ago and is now the digital operations and digital strategy specialist for this global brand studio. Although he is a digital nomad who loves traveling, backpacking, and heading wherever his laptop may take him, he strongly holds onto his family roots and Mexican culture. When he’s not learning or teaching the latest in digital strategy, you might find Jose practicing combat sports or poring over topics such as aliens, ancient civilizations, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology.

Zack blog profile image

CO-AUTHOR
Zack Miskel

Short Bio — Zack joined the Antonio & Paris team at the beginning of 2019 after spending the previous five years running two start-up companies in the Bay Area. Now a strategist, Zack works alongside the strategic planning team at Antonio & Paris to deliver a big-picture perspective for clients such as MINI USA, Barco (Belgium), and Brookdale Senior Living, to name a few.

Ashley blog profile image

CO-AUTHOR
Ashley Thornhill

Short Bio — Ashley came to Antonio & Paris in 2014 following a successful career marketing both off and online art and antique auctions for one of the major global auction houses. After nearly a decade of managing countless estate sales and significant collections, overseeing complex client projects came like second nature. Ashley has a hand in every project that A&P undertakes from consumer apps for AT&T to positioning political campaigns to new product development for Wrigley Gum to re-defining aging for Brookdale Senior Living or launching a fully integrated marketing campaign for Star Trek Beyond in seven countries.

Jose Quiroz

CO-AUTHOR
Jose Quiroz

Short Bio — As the VP of Digital Engagement at Antonio & Paris, Jose Quiroz continually researches and develops exciting new ways to make connections between brands and consumers through technology. Born in Orizaba, Veracruz, Jose is a “dreamer” who began his tech career over ten years ago and is now the digital operations and digital strategy specialist for this global brand studio. Although he is a digital nomad who loves traveling, backpacking, and heading wherever his laptop may take him, he strongly holds onto his family roots and Mexican culture. When he’s not learning or teaching the latest in digital strategy, you might find Jose practicing combat sports or poring over topics such as aliens, ancient civilizations, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology.

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