Ten Adams

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Branding Agency Before Hiring Them 

May 19, 2022 | Branding

Yes. You need an agency fluent in “healthcare” to lead your rebranding effort.

Overhauling the brand identity of an entire health system takes time, planning and expertise. When done correctly, it can completely transform a hospital’s reputation and forge a path to future success.

So, why would you trust an endeavor of this magnitude to someone other than a healthcare expert? Because that’s the agency you’ve always used? Because it’s too much work to evaluate new vendors?

*Reality Check*

The agency partner you choose is as critical to your rebranding outcome as a surgeon is to restoring function. In both cases, your ability to move forward and thrive is in their hands.

To continue the metaphor and help you choose wisely between agency candidates, we repurposed a list of questions designed to help patients select a surgeon.

Here are 5 questions to ask a potential branding agency before hiring them.

1. Does your agency offer the service I need?

Before seeking out an agency, make sure you know what issue needs to be addressed. (There’s a huge difference between joint replacement and open-heart surgery.) Will a general practitioner be enough, or do you need a highly specialized provider? Does the potential agency offer that service at a level consistent with your needs?

2. Is your agency qualified to do this specific work?

Most agencies you consider will look good on paper. A quick way to find out if they can lead a healthcare-specific rebrand is to listen as they talk. What words do they use to describe processes, goals and outcomes? If you hear more about point of purchase and up selling than you do patient volume, reducing provider leakage and HIPAA compliance, move to the next group. Healthcare experts speak the language.

3. Does your agency know – and follow – the rules?

Healthcare is among the most heavily regulated industries. That means requirements shift and change frequently to match advancements in technology or new laws. Before you select an agency to help with rebranding, test their knowledge on topics like

The Privacy Rule addressing the use and disclosure of protected health information for marketing purposes

The nondiscrimination provision of the ACA requiring use of the top 15 languages in your community on all “significant publications”

4. What are your client results?

Agencies well versed in healthcare know what to measure. They synthesize dozens of potential KPIs to find the numbers most meaningful to you…and your finance department. It’s one thing to have data and another to use that data to resolve problems and show growth. Pick a partner who can demonstrate the relationship between improved reputation and reduced readmission rates or enhanced market reach with increased elective procedures.

5. What do others say about your agency?

Ratings and reviews aren’t relegated to online shopping or restaurants anymore. They’re an integral part of healthcare marketing and choosing an agency partner. To get a feel for a company’s reputation, go online. Dig around a bit. Who are the clients of this agency? What do they say about working together? Can you find a case study? What metrics were reported? Did the agency deliver what was promised?

Award bonus points if the agency’s staff members have actual healthcare knowledge and experience. More than likely, they will be doing the detail work and not the owner or CEO. A highly skilled, competent, and confident agency team is really the secret to rebranding success!

Like surgery, leading a health system rebrand requires precision and expertise. That’s why you need a specialist who understands your unique situation and the most effective way to resolve your pain points. Hopefully these questions will help you find an amazing partner and develop an epic campaign.

For 36 years, Ten Adams has focused its marketing and branding work on hospitals and health systems. We employ top talent from some of the nation’s best healthcare organizations and they love to flex that medical vocabulary whenever possible.

If your team needs an expert to guide a rebranding initiative, let’s talk!

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