This might sound like a strange question, but: Do you ever feel like your job as a healthcare marketer is a cross between cheerleader and police officer? Meaning, do you feel torn between inspiring excitement and engagement in your hospital’s brand while protecting it? If this sounds like you, then — *fist bump* — you’re doing your job right.
Brand management involves a balancing act between promoting the brand identity among your audiences and encouraging participation, while ensuring that it’s executed properly. And it takes nimbleness and good judgment to balance both. As healthcare branding experts, we’ll show you how it’s done.
A Consistent Hospital Brand
The most basic requirement of a brand is consistency — consistency in look and feel as well as messaging and voice. This uniformity reinforces the brand identity among your audience, which also establishes trust and, in turn, brand loyalty.
We liken brand management to raising and socializing a child. Think about your marketing team as the parents and your organization’s employees as the child’s friends.
Parents are typically the first influences in their child’s life, and they are ultimately responsible for their well-being. But once the child gets a little older, they make friends who, over time, influence them more and more.
Just like a child grows, your hospital brand matures, as well. And you’ll need to share it with others for the best interest of the brand — chiefly, your organization’s employees.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” right? The same goes for brands. And when it comes to raising a brand, that village is your internal audience — your organization’s employees.
Employee engagement is essential to a healthy brand. It inspires commitment and shared ownership among employees to their employer by making them feel involved and valued. Employees serve as your most effective brand ambassadors, because they’ve experienced the brand frequently and deeply.
The million-dollar question: So how do you do that while maintaining a consistent brand identity?
Tips for Balancing a Consistent Hospital Brand and Employee Engagement
Not sure when it’s time to bust out the megaphone and pompoms or brandish the flashlight and handcuffs? We’ve got a few tips for maintaining a consistent hospital brand identity and involving your internal audience for the sake of employee engagement.
Always put the brand first.
In our humble opinion, a brand is an organization’s most important asset. It creates connection between an organization and its consumers.
So when requests come across your desk that sacrifice the integrity of your hospital’s brand, those are things that your organization should not be doing. But since we healthcare marketers are solution seekers, maybe there’s an on-brand spin for you to recommend.
As you engage employees in the brand, remember: You as a marketing professional are the brand manager — the parent of this “growing child.” What you say goes. Period. End of story.
Empower employees to execute the brand properly.
We’ve all seen this startling sight: a pixelated, stretched logo slapped into an email signature on top of a confetti background. *cringe*
Chances are high that your coworkers are simply clueless when it comes to proper execution of a brand. And it’s our job as marketing professionals to empower them through teaching and offering resources:
- Brand guidelines and style guides: It’s important to define for your organization’s employees how the brand is to be represented visually and in text. Brand guidelines and style guides typically exist as two separate documents.
- Approval processes: Set a process in place that requires employees to submit artwork proofs for branded material for the marketing team to review and approve before the item goes into production.
- Trademark licensing: Work with a trademark licensing partner who is equipped with digital files of the approved logo(s). For this to work, you need to require employees to order branded items only from promotional product vendors who are using your licensing partner’s software. Working with a licensing partner serves as a safety net for promotional item orders whose proofs slip past the approval process.
Don’t hand over the keys.
Some organizations think that engaging employees in their brand means that marketing needs to give up control. Not true. Engaging employees in your hospital’s brand does not mean handing over your brand assets.
Remember: Employee engagement is about inspiring shared ownership. Your organization’s employees simply want to be involved in the excitement and feel as though they matter. Involve employees in the brand with:
- Brand roll-out events: If you ever find yourself launching a new brand, make a splash by celebrating the event with your organization’s employees. Play the newly branded commercials and employee engagement videos to fire team members up. And don’t forget the branded step and repeat set up like a photobooth with all of the necessary props. Employees will naturally share these photos on social media, generating more free social media impressions and reach.
- Marketing materials: Not only do photos and video footage of real people come across as more authentic to both internal and external audiences but featuring your organization’s own people in marketing materials increases employee morale, as it makes people feel valued.
- Branded swag: Give your employees branded apparel they’ll actually use or, better yet, wear. Doing so is a win-win. Employees get stuff that tells the world something about them that they’re proud of, and the brand gets free walking billboards.
Learn about building an impressive brand inside out.
And if you do your job well, employees will join your hospital’s brand cheerleading squad and shout your brand’s messages for all to hear.
Put your brand in Ten Adams’ hands.
Discover your brand health with our free brand assessment. And when you’re ready, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk branding.