Brand Rehab: Healthcare Marketing for Reputation Management

by | Sep 27, 2017 | Consumer Engagement

In a tech savvy digital space, building a strong brand perception that can overcome negative press or social media fails is essential, requiring proven strategy and purposeful content.

You can’t direct­ly con­trol every aspect of your organization—such as how an employ­ee choos­es to rep­re­sent your brand or neg­a­tive online reviews. But, you can affect the per­cep­tion your com­mu­ni­ty has about you. Some­times, that means craft­ing the right mes­sage. Some­times, it means lis­ten­ing to theirs.

Here are proven ways to address three of the most com­mon chal­lenges when piv­ot­ing health­care mar­ket­ing for rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment purposes.

Scenario One: Reversing Outmigration

Your com­mu­ni­ty hos­pi­tal is los­ing busi­ness to larg­er orga­ni­za­tions. In the past, you’ve relied on your com­mu­ni­ty stand­ing to bring in cus­tomers and opt­ed not to roll out a full-fledged mar­ket­ing cam­paign. You need to build a sol­id pub­lic rela­tions presence—and soon—with your cur­rent resources.

In this out­mi­gra­tion exam­ple, you need to revis­it core val­ues, vision and mis­sion before you imple­ment a strate­gic brand iden­ti­ty and dif­fer­en­ti­ate your orga­ni­za­tion. Include your pre­ferred voice, style guide­lines, and buy­er personas—or your ide­al fic­tion­al con­sumer, com­plete with per­son­al­i­ty pref­er­ences and motivations.

From here, you’ve gained clar­i­ty on who you are, what you stand for, who you’re talk­ing to, and the tone you’re using to effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate. This means you can thought­ful­ly build brand aware­ness through a con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy com­plete with dig­i­tal and print assets. Addi­tion­al­ly, a robust and mod­ern social media strat­e­gy engages your com­mu­ni­ty on Twit­ter, Face­book, YouTube, Insta­gram, LinkedIn and beyond.

These chan­nels will man­age brand per­cep­tion over time while keep­ing you engaged with your con­sumer base. This lets them know you’re lis­ten­ing and aware of their needs while mar­ket­ing health­care for the pur­pos­es of rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment. With this sol­id base of sup­port, you’re ready to respond to a poten­tial set­back with pres­ence of mind.

Scenario Two: Crisis Management

You’ve encoun­tered recent bad press from an inter­nal mis­take or an exter­nal pub­lic per­cep­tion mishap. An exam­ple would be like Unit­ed Air­lines did in the spring of 2019. Infa­mous­ly, they over­booked a flight and removed a con­sumer using force. Unit­ed Air­lines decid­ed to act defen­sive­ly at first, only to back­track lat­er and take full respon­si­bil­i­ty for the inci­dent. That series of gaffes cost the com­pa­ny dear­ly in pub­lic per­cep­tion and mar­ket value.

Respond­ing to prob­lems your cus­tomers have is the first step in con­nect­ing with them. This is espe­cial­ly true when piv­ot­ing your health­care mar­ket­ing for the sake of rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment. That respon­sive­ness is all the more impor­tant when their prob­lem is with you. Don’t just make it right for your cus­tomer. Make it known that you made it right. Take con­trol of the con­ver­sa­tion to reit­er­ate your val­ues and improve over­all brand per­cep­tion. Defend what you stand for, not what the cus­tomer is com­plain­ing about. Oth­er­wise, any apolo­gies or fix­es you pro­pose will seem disin­gen­u­ous. Mov­ing for­ward, increase your com­mu­ni­ca­tions and include sto­ries of pos­i­tive ways you are meeting—and exceeding—customer expectations.

Scenario Three: Shifting Perception

Your hos­pi­tal has been turn­ing the cor­ner from years of poor patient sat­is­fac­tion. It has hired new doc­tors, pur­chased new equip­ment and made ren­o­va­tions to make the facil­i­ties more mod­ern and wel­com­ing. Old per­cep­tions die hard, how­ev­er. It’s still known by a large por­tion of the com­mu­ni­ty as the “bad hos­pi­tal” in town. How do you make them aware of your hospital’s transformation?

Domino’s Piz­za faced a sim­i­lar conun­drum in 2009, after a pub­lic rela­tions night­mare in which two employ­ees dam­aged the company’s rep­u­ta­tion with a YouTube video of them con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing food.

Domino’s turned into the skid with a YouTube video of their own and increased their social media pres­ence. Since then, they’ve con­tin­ued to refine their brand, own­ing up to short­com­ings and com­mit­ting to improve­ment. The neg­a­tive press of the orig­i­nal video soon turned to cov­er­age of the company’s trans­for­ma­tion, and sales shot up.

Some­times bad pub­lic­i­ty is a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to make your mes­sage heard. Rather than pre­tend­ing that neg­a­tive brand per­cep­tion does­n’t exist, own up to it, then chal­lenge it. Walk through the top five tra­di­tion­al com­plaints about your insti­tu­tion, acknowl­edge them as valid, then show off the improve­ments that direct­ly address those issues.

Peo­ple com­plained about unfriend­ly nurs­ing staff? Talk about the new hires or the beloved shift nurse who was pro­mot­ed to a high­er posi­tion and insti­tut­ed sweep­ing improve­ments. Inter­view her about her phi­los­o­phy of care and the dig­ni­ty of patients.

Was the wait time in the emer­gency room too long? Tout the expan­sion of the emer­gency facil­i­ty or the new urgent care facil­i­ty you opened down the street. This helps to relieve pres­sure and gets patients the care they need faster.

Bad per­cep­tion doesn’t have to be the end of the sto­ry. It can be the begin­ning to a sto­ry you tell your audi­ence about how your insti­tu­tion lis­tened to its com­mu­ni­ty, made changes and made a dif­fer­ence in the lives of patients because of it. How­ev­er the sto­ry begins, it’s always in your hands to fin­ish it.

Let’s Boost Your Brand Online

Our team of health­care mar­ket­ing experts has proven exper­tise in shift­ing the per­cep­tion and rep­u­ta­tion of health­care brands.

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