With the latest dramatic shifts in the healthcare landscape, it is now more competitive than ever before. Although the barriers to entry may seem low, companies are struggling to exist after just a few years in operation due to the saturation of the market. However, there are some successful healthcare brands today that are dominating the industry. One attribute that all these companies have in common is their invincible brand platform. What is a brand platform you ask? Well, to put it simply, a brand platform is the foundation of all your company’s future marketing efforts. In order to build this strong foundation, you have to make sure you ask yourself and your team members these fundamental questions during the brand development process:
- What are our objectives? Be SMART! Before doing anything else, you have to make sure you are setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-specific short and long-term goals for the company and its individual departments. These goals will be the benchmarks for future achievements.
- What is our company’s SWOT? I am sure you’ve heard of this a million times by now, but we cannot stress its importance enough. It may be simple but it is very critical. By investing some time to analyze and identify your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you are getting a clear image of the current state of your company. This will impact all other branding efforts set in the future.
- Who is our target customer? Before you start developing your brand, you have to have a clear understanding of who your customers are and what are their specific needs. Conduct extensive market research and build specific customer personas. This will help you in tailoring your brand and ensure you are building the appropriate marketing and sales messaging efforts that’ll target the right consumers.
- Who are our direct and indirect competitors? You have to dedicate some time to researching the current healthcare marketplace. Who are the current players? What are their attributes? What value do they bring to their customers? Once you answer these questions, you can then take a look at your offerings and how they compare to your competitors.
- Where are we positioned? You determine where you fit in the marketplace by having a clear understanding of how you are perceived by your customers, your unique characteristics and offerings, and where your competitors are positioned. You have to find the strategic sweet spot that’ll bring in the most value. Here’s how to make your positioning stronger and unforgettable.
- What’s the vision? This is the Van Gogh painting of your company’s future. It is an aspirational statement representing what you want your company to be known for and what its future achievements will look like. Once it is created, you have to make sure that all your employees are fully aware of it and are supportive of it.
- What’s our mission? Once the Van Gogh vision is painted, you now have to build a more succinct, specific, and actionable mission statement of what your company hopes to accomplish. Take a look at these examples of hospital mission statements for inspiration.
- What value are we providing? Based off of your SWOT analysis results and understanding the needs of your target market, you should now be able to build a value proposition that provides a clear, easy-to-understand message of the overarching benefit that your healthcare brand delivers.
- What’s our brand personality? In order to have an impact on your consumers, you have to have a genuine and unique brand personality. This can be achieved by coming up with a:
- Creative tagline that encapsulates your entire brand
- Messaging strategy to relay salient points to your target market
- Brand personality that will make a remarkable impression
- Brand voice that will capture your customer’s attention and represent your company’s values
Once you ask yourself these questions and spend some considerable amount of time answering them, you will be able to build a brand platform that’ll align your healthcare company’s objectives. Build out your brand platform document using a template to outline each component. This is an extensive process and requires a considerable amount of planning and hard work. Check out our Branding in Healthcare Whitepaper below to learn more about the importance of building a robust brand in today’s healthcare industry and give us a call to team up in furthering your brand platform optimizations.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.