Effective Communication Strategies After a Healthcare Brand Merger

by | Jul 16, 2017 | Healthcare Industry Insights | 0 comments

If you’ve been in healthcare marketing for some time, chances are you’ve lived through a healthcare brand merger — or will very soon. Here are four principles when announcing a new or expanded healthcare brand to your community, caregivers and other constituents.

The num­ber of health­care brand merg­ers and com­pa­ny acqui­si­tions remained con­sis­tent in 2019. The trend won’t be slow­ing down any­time soon with COVID-19 hav­ing a dra­mat­ic impact on finances for many health­care orga­ni­za­tions. In fact, near­ly a third of hos­pi­tal and health sys­tem exec­u­tives are con­sid­er­ing a brand merg­er, acqui­si­tion or part­ner­ship in light of COVID-19

The com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy is inte­gral to launch­ing a suc­cess­ful brand­ing ini­tia­tive fol­low­ing a hos­pi­tal merg­er or com­pa­ny acqui­si­tion. Strong mes­sag­ing pairs along­side the HR, finance and oper­a­tional plans asso­ci­at­ed with these trans­ac­tions. Hav­ing helped guide the con­tent strat­e­gy for hun­dreds of hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems, we under­stand the most effec­tive meth­ods for your paid, owned and earned media to announce a new brand iden­ti­ty or expand­ed network.

Our expe­ri­ences in part­ner­ing with health­care orga­ni­za­tions dur­ing times of tran­si­tion have informed our cur­rent strate­gies. Here are four keys to suc­cess when plan­ning and deploy­ing your com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy dur­ing a health­care brand merger.

Start at home

Best-sell­ing author Simon Sinek said it best, “Cus­tomers will nev­er love a com­pa­ny until the employ­ees love it first.” This is a high­ly influ­en­tial group as most hos­pi­tals are among the largest employ­ers in the com­mu­ni­ty, so ensure your employ­ees’ voic­es are heard by involv­ing team members—including physi­cians, nurs­es, vol­un­teers, and oth­er employed or affil­i­at­ed personnel—at every step when craft­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­e­gy to announce your hos­pi­tal merg­er or com­pa­ny acquisition.

Begin by cre­at­ing a com­mu­ni­ca­tions task force or cross-func­tion­al review pan­el to glean ideas and feed­back as you’re flesh­ing out the plan. By invit­ing employ­ees to par­tic­i­pate ear­ly in the process, you’ll have their buy-in through­out the launch and imple­men­ta­tion of your new or expand­ed brand.

Let your team tell the story

Human­ize the brand by fea­tur­ing your care­givers ear­ly and often when com­mu­ni­cat­ing a new brand iden­ti­ty and promise. By show­cas­ing those on the front lines who are clos­est to your cus­tomers, the mes­sage will be more authen­tic and cre­ate an emo­tion­al con­nec­tion to your audience.

Also, empow­er your employ­ees to share key mes­sage points, video seg­ments, info­graph­ics, and oth­er assets via their per­son­al social media accounts to fos­ter pride in the orga­ni­za­tion while pro­lif­er­at­ing the new brand.

Share experiences over statistics

When orga­ni­za­tions merge, it’s tempt­ing to tout the num­ber of facil­i­ties, affil­i­at­ed physi­cians, and oth­er “by the num­bers” infor­ma­tion that result from the trans­ac­tion. While this can cer­tain­ly be part of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan, don’t lead with data. Rather, focus on the ben­e­fits like more con­ve­nient loca­tions and bet­ter out­comes that patients and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers will enjoy when engag­ing with the new or expand­ed organization.

Be consistent in the message and the medium

While com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies of divest­ed hos­pi­tals that are in place pri­or to the trans­ac­tion should be re-eval­u­at­ed, be care­ful not to send the wrong mes­sage by pulling the plug on tac­tics too soon. New­ly acquired orga­ni­za­tions may change logos and even lead­er­ship, but you can main­tain a con­nec­tion with the com­mu­ni­ty dur­ing times of tran­si­tion by con­tin­u­ing to deliv­er rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion through mag­a­zines, email newslet­ters and oth­er chan­nels that patients and care­givers have grown to trust.

Learn More

Get more use­ful tips, tricks and best prac­tices deliv­ered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our blog

Sign up for updates!

Sign up for updates!

Get marketing tips delivered straight to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!