Our stakeholders – particularly patients, who have become more empowered by the information revolution – are also transforming. Healthcare companies of all kinds must adapt to stay competitive and relevant. Most are adapting at an operational level – they see the changing needs and modify their business approaches to meet opportunities head on. However, will they think to change their brand, their communications, and messaging to match their new business approach?
It might seem simple. Of course, your brand and image should be considered as your organization evolves. Yet, sometimes a brand evolves in small ways over a few years. It may take longer to realize that the brand doesn't match the company purpose or the way of doing business anymore. At other times, a brand transforms quickly and overtly. The impetus for re-evaluating your brand could stem from any number of scenarios, but they are typically business decisions where brand considerations must follow. A few of the catalysts include changes in the customer landscape or marketplace, operational refocus, acquisitions, preparation for an IPO and new innovations.
If your executive team makes the decision to reevaluate the corporate brand, where do you start?
A brand is your ultimate promise of value in the marketplace, and if you are going to deliver on that promise, you must be realistic about how much brand and reputation equity you have. Start with research to determine awareness levels and reputation status among your stakeholders, such as patients, customers, partners, industry experts, employees, etc. You must understand where your brand fits now and test the concepts behind where you want to go in order to map your journey between how you are perceived today and how you want to be perceived tomorrow.
Of course, research is just the beginning – understanding where you stand will help define your path forward and that is where the hard work begins. How you conduct and talk about business will change across every communication and operational platform.
In the end, regardless of your brand and supporting messages, it must be articulated simply and be consistent with the vision and mission of your company by being:
- Organic because your employees believe and live it.
- Authentic because your customers would swear by it.
- Differentiating because your competitors can't say it.
Wendy Lund is CEO of GCI Health.