Telling Your Unique Brand Story
A good story takes us on a journey, engages our curiosity and helps us make sense of our world and how we function in it. Crafting a well-told brand story in health care is both an art and a skill, and with today’s health care market, it is simply a necessity. Not only does this drive relevance and build brand loyalty, it has the potential to inspire action among those you want to reach.
Your brand story matters. For health systems in particular, storytelling is a way to demonstrate your investment in successful health outcomes, but telling the story is only one step. The brand story needs to be reinforced and felt with every interaction a consumer or stakeholder has with you and embedded into your internal culture.
Maybe your story might come to life through how you provide an excellent patient experience. Or, how your organization leverages innovation that leads to patient engagement and improves the health of your community.
There are endless ways to tell your unique health system brand story.
However, there are two elements that every brand story must possess: authenticity and differentiation.
Leading with Authenticity Is Key
Your brand story is a rallying cry that breathes life into the ways your organization delivers upon your mission and vision. The story activates your business priorities. It paints a picture of the patient experience and the feelings it evokes, and it should leave a lasting impression of your brand.
Brand stories should also be grounded in who you truly are. Consumers tend to gravitate toward brands that feel real. In fact, 87% of consumers say they’re more receptive to a brand’s messaging if they know the company’s values, and 44% are more trusting of brands who showcase an authentic identity.
Your brand story isn’t just clever words on paper; it’s a tool to spark emotion and inspiration among your target audiences. When a brand story is built upon the foundations of your authentic identity, it allows you to demonstrate how your organization lives its mission, vision and core values.
You can accomplish this by:
- Connecting with your internal audiences to learn about your organization’s authentic brand story. These individuals are often on the front lines interacting with your patients and consumers, delivering on your brand story. Conduct internal town halls or focus groups with department leaders and workers to learn what defines your authentic brand identity from the inside out.
- Engaging with your audiences to understand what matters to them, what motivates them and what deters them. Conduct voice-of-customer research or social listening analysis to fine-tune these insights.
- Aligning what you say to your audiences with what you deliver to them. This ensures the brand story connects who you are, what you do, how you do it and, most importantly, why you do it.
- Taking the time to fully understand how your audience’s needs, values and pain points align with your services and your values. This ensures your brand story clearly communicates your value to resonate deeply with your audience.
These elements affirm that your brand story is grounded in authenticity, inspiring emotional connections with your consumers, stakeholders and community members.
Avoiding the Sea of Sameness
As in many markets, health systems operate in a crowded space. Health care brand storytelling can often sound like an echo chamber with similar messages being shared by competitors vying for the attention of the same audience. Plus, consumers expect and demand more from brands than ever before. Break through the competitive noise so that you are top of mind, before a patient needs your services, so you remain their first choice.
A fresh perspective and messaging strategy that are grounded in what sets your organization apart from the competition, along with communicating the value you deliver on a daily basis, are crucial to winning the attention, business and confidence of your patients, stakeholders and community members.
You can accomplish this by:
- Communicating with your patients, consumers, stakeholders and employees to understand how they play a part in your story. This can be accomplished by hosting external focus groups to tap into community voices and perspectives or conducting internal surveys to gather organizational sentiment.
- Taking stock of what your top competitors are sharing and how they position their brand story in the market. Execute a competitor audit by cross-examining your competitors’ brand and messaging strategies, identifying key differentiators and activating on your market differentiation.
- Honing in on what makes your brand unique. Incorporate organizational culture drivers, topline values and elements of your mission statement to deliver the best care possible. This can be derived through stakeholder interviews to pinpoint your organization’s characteristics and brand elements.
- Staying true to your brand by implementing message discipline. Maintain a consistent narrative and create brand guidelines to act as your north star. Activate your brand story narrative across all touchpoints and experiences of your brand — from in-person and digital, to events and social media.
By leaning into authenticity and focusing on unique differentiators, your health system can tell a well-rounded story that connects with audiences in a meaningful way.
Your Brand Story Is Essential to Your Success
A unique and well-told brand story is a crucial tool that helps to humanize your health care system and make you relatable to your audiences. Showing consumers why you exist, what you stand for and why they should care creates a compelling invitation for your audience to be a part of that story and confidently choose you every time.