The healthcare industry is in transition. Our much-loved NHS is suffering under the strain of increased demand and budget cuts, and as such we are seeing a cultural shift in the way people engage with healthcare providers.
As a result, the role of a healthcare brand has never been more important in helping patients make the right choice.
Whilst a large number of people still rely on their doctor for recommendations when choosing a healthcare provider, there is an ever-growing number who are demanding a more active and ongoing role in their health decisions. People are actively researching the alternatives to determine how and where they will seek treatment.
Healthcare decisions are an overly complex and confusing proposition for many. There is a lack of clarity and transparency throughout the industry, from understanding access options and pricing to deciphering medical terminology, there is a need to simplify.
Patients need to feel reassured, knowledgeable and empowered in order to make clear and informed decisions, often at a time when they are feeling emotional or vulnerable.
A healthcare brand that embraces simplification will stand out in the marketplace, attract new patients, and the very best consultants.
1. Develop a brand positioning that clearly differentiates you from your competitors
There are too many me-too healthcare brands fighting for space. It’s no longer enough to deliver exceptional quality healthcare to remain competitive.
For a healthcare organisation to be successful it must differentiate itself from the competition in the minds of consumers and this difference must not only be relevant, but more importantly, it must be simple to understand to both the employees inside the organisation and the people outside.
It takes rigorous thinking, discipline and focus to get to a simple, differentiated and relevant brand positioning. Healthcare brands must focus on distinct areas of expertise and resist the temptation to be ‘everything to everyone’.
Doing this will result in a powerful and memorable healthcare brand that people can connect with and become advocates. They will understand what your organisation stands for and use this as a shortcut to their healthcare decisions.
- Use a consistent, strong message and articulate it clearly. This will resonate with internal and external audiences alike.
- A refined promise, personality and language will ensure that your organisation speaks with a coherent voice.
- Developing the right brand story will serve to knit together all that is best about your brand positioning.
2. Provide a simple patient experience
Healthcare consumers are not like typical consumers. Their experiences are varied and complex as they engage with multiple parties on emotional and personal topics. Healthcare consumers face a myriad of options for services and a multitude of access options.
Given these complex and evolving dynamics, having an in-depth understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviours has never been more important. Consumers want to be heard, understood, and given clear directions through a personalised healthcare experience. Individuals seek simplicity to feel in control, increase confidence and achieve peace-of-mind.
This shift in consumer needs means the industry is becoming more competitive and customer experience in many cases is the deciding factor when patients are choosing their healthcare provider. The key to standing out and creating a great customer experience is to find a simple way to connect with patients on an empathic level. Instead of relying on differences in quality or expertise, the best customer experience providers tell a unique story that is simple to understand and builds an emotional connection. It’s this clarity which is not only more valuable to consumers but they are willing to pay a premium.
- Define and articulate the type of experience your brand wants to deliver. This statement of purpose can be translated into a set of simple principles or standards to guide behaviour all the way down to the front line.
- Above all else, the patient experience should be easy, simple and consistent. Creating a seamless experience across all your touch-points will foster consumer confidence.