It starts with understanding the customer journey
A few years ago, GE Healthcare found that 81% of patients1 were unsatisfied with their patient experience, and the happiest consumers were those who interacted with the system the least. The findings reflect the reality that many of us have entrenched, negative emotions about our health and the health care industry.
So how do you create a positive brand when entrenched consumer attitudes are so challenging? It takes more than brand awareness.
Health care brands must be emotionally engaging, convenient and value-driven to gain positive brand equity.
Connecting with your audience requires a convergence of brand, marketing strategy and patient experience. The hallmark of health care providers should be compassion, making care easier and making it more efficient for patients. These critical elements of brand and patient experience are what should power the marketing strategy because they will capture the audiences’ emotional drivers. The goal is to use positive creative to shift mindsets from reactive to proactive by instilling patients with confidence to act.
Confidence has the power to drive and enable behavior change.
That is especially true if the message is reinforced by the patient experience. Even when a patient faces a negative health diagnosis or outcome, establishing empathy can combat natural feelings of confusion, fear and loss of control. The entire experience must provide clarity and empowerment.
This position activates the core mission of your organization because empowering patients can support good health outcomes. Studies have shown a positive emotional connection does more than just make patients loyal to your brand. Positive emotions are the fuel of behavior change.2 In health care, they are health protective by inspiring and sustaining positive health-related behaviors.3 If a patient can relate to your brand and sees positive results, they will be more likely to continue engaging with your services.
Connect with patients by telling stories.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to make your message connect. Your audience hears health care stories from their friends, family and acquaintances. Their ideas and decisions are shaped by these stories.
It is imperative that health care brands tell their own stories to activate and validate their brand.
Storytelling is the perfect complement to the brand, marketing strategy and experience because it will do more than promote increased brand awareness. Patient stories encourage action as the answer to negative emotions, even in populations that would rather turn their attention away from the circumstances at hand. And they showcase a providers’ unique value proposition.
In the digital age, storytelling means video content. While patients in need of answers will still default to search engines and find text-based content, compelling video ads that tell a story can do a tremendous amount of work to motivate and drive action. And relatable video cases can strike a critical human note while educating consumers and inspiring their confidence.
Reviews play a role in positive storytelling as well. Consumers rely more heavily on digital reviews in general, and health care is no exception. Sixty percent (60%) of consumers have chosen one provider over another based on a positive online reputation, according to a recent Doctor.com report.4 No marketing strategy that is built on patient experience can afford to ignore online reputation.
Online reputation management is part of a wider, complex digital presence that is more interconnected than ever. To respond, brands need a holistic approach. Managing reviews, maintaining accurate online information, coordinating SEO efforts with paid search and content development are just some of the areas that can become powerful proof points for a brand story when they are deployed as a singular, patient-centric experience.
The patient experience is the foundation for building a strong health care brand.
In health care, it is crucial to build from a customer journey that stretches across the entire customer experience. All customer interactions should be considered when implementing integrated communication strategies and choosing tactical channels. Mapping the customer journey is a place to start ensuring you are meeting customer expectations.
Positive care experiences build the brand, feed your marketing strategy and power the storytelling that inspires consumers to evangelize your brand.
These positive experiences should anticipate and address consumers’ primary needs. Your brand should include customer research-driven programs and incorporate strategic initiatives that improve the patient experience.
In the past, we’ve written about how the new, digitally-infused health care experience is an opportunity to reach Millennials. We see that insight as part of the wider convergence of brand, marketing strategy and patient experience – a convergence demanded by patients and driven by technology and data.
Success will lay the groundwork for an authentic, positive and empowering brand experience during challenging circumstances. The companies that can still provide positive experiences, even in today’s environment, will thrive and grow.