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How to Build a Connected Brand Experience for Patient Engagement, Trust and Loyalty

March 21, 2019 | Branding

Is your healthcare organization struggling with patient engagement and winning their trust and loyalty? If so, perhaps you need help with delivering a connected brand experience.

General Hospital (Anytown, USA)

You Googled our hospital’s name, called the number in the Google My Business listing and got the dreaded “This number has been disconnected” message. You seemed perplexed but continued on your mission to reach us.

In pursuit of the correct phone number, you diligently visited our hospital’s hard-to-navigate-and-digest website. After five clicks and a lot of scrolling, you finally found the number. You looked confused.

Thankfully, that phone number worked, but the saga continues: We transferred you a grand total of three times, and you had to explain your symptoms to each person with whom you spoke. Your frustration peaked.

It’s a miracle that you came in six weeks later for your appointment. At each hallway intersection, you stopped and peered down each option: “Left? Right? Straight?” You looked lost.

Following your appointment, you checked our patient portal for your test results and questioned if you were even in the right place. No hospital branding to be found.

We had five major moments to connect with you, yet we missed out on all of them. So we’re hoping that you read this listing and will be interested in giving us a sixth opportunity to get to know you…

Newsflash: There’s no “missed connections” board for your hospital.

That’s why as healthcare marketers we need to build connected brand experiences and deliver them at every opportunity.

What is a Connected Brand Experience

We build trust in our relationships through being consistent — consistent in our communication, keeping promises and following through on our commitments. The same holds true in relationships between organizations and their consumers. And when healthcare is the product, this consistency becomes even more important.

So when people see discrepancies in character or brand identity, they quite understandably are quick to lose trust. These discrepancies cause them to question everything they’ve experienced.

To win your consumers’ trust and loyalty, they need to see a consistent brand identity (look, feel and messaging) across each channel and touchpoint. We call this a connected brand experience. Those channels include:

  • Owned media such as your website, blog sites and social media platforms
  • Paid media such as advertising
  • Patient portal
  • Phone system
  • Intranet

Disconnects in Brand Experience

Many healthcare organizations miss out on the opportunity to build trust or gain loyalty based on how they’re delivering touchpoints. And it often comes down to how they’re organized: in silos.

Organizations are siloed when they have individual groups driving very distinct initiatives with little to no cross-departmental collaboration. For example, IT manages electronic medical records (EMR), the patient portal and the phone system. Unfortunately, silos lead to missed opportunities and redundancies, negatively impacting brand experience.

Missed opportunities

In addition to the original intended purposes of EMR, patient portals and phone systems, these platforms offer a lot of opportunities for patient engagement and establishing trust and loyalty. But when marketing — the department that knows the patient audience and how to engage — doesn’t have a seat at the EMR, patient portal or phone system tables, engagement simply doesn’t happen. These missed opportunities translate into consumers missing out on your organization’s life-changing care and taking their business somewhere else.

Redundancies

We live in the day and age where so many industries offer personalization, consumers have a subconscious expectation of constant personalized experiences. However, when they call your healthcare organization, they’re often getting an experience much like the missed connections post described above.

This redundancy leads to a botched experience, causing patients to lose whatever trust and loyalty they had for your healthcare organization. As you know, trust is harder and takes more resources to win back than it did to win in the first place.

Other concerns

Siloed operations also create other concerns that ultimately affect patients and consumers and your healthcare organization’s bottom line:

  • Lack of efficiency leading to loss of resources
  • Lack of unification under the organization’s mission, vision and values, leading to low employee morale

Easy Tips for Building a Connected Brand Experience

We recognize that you can’t restructure your organization overnight. But there are some things you can do to get started on undergoing a digital transformation and building a digital experience.

Collaborate with IT

Open up the lines of communication with IT and other groups that drive the initiatives that offer opportunities for patient engagement. This may include your organization’s patient experience team.

A key pain point for the Marketing/IT relationship is that the teams talk two separate languages. That’s where a martech (marketing technology) manager comes in. This tech-savvy individual would report to marketing but serve as a liaison to IT.

We realize that hiring a new position is a lofty goal. But remember, the problem stems from the way organizations are structured, in silos. So, you may need to consider restructuring your organizational chart to fix the problem.

Streamline your messaging

Identify three to five key messages for your brand. Thread them through all channels — not just your owned and paid media channels — and explore opportunities to include these messages in your patient portal, phone system scripts and intranet.

While consistency is key, you want to avoid repetition. For example, if a consumer landed on your website by clicking on a digital advertisement, don’t repeat what they just read. Consider their journey through your marketing channels, and serve them with information that leads them farther down the marketing funnel.

Get cozy with data

Data reveals the most important things about your work such as information about your audience, how you should reach them and whether you’ve been effective. Data guides us, and if we listen to what it’s saying, it can uncover those costly missed opportunities and allow us to recalibrate to achieve ROI. Speaking of ROI…

Develop systems to show ROI

Partner with your IT, finance and business strategy teams to develop systems to show true ROI by measuring cost per acquisition. Cost per acquisition shows how much money your organization spends on converting a consumer into a patient. Measuring cost per acquisition will not only prove your effectiveness but will also guide your marketing strategies.

Our Ten Adams Team of Connectors is Ready to Help

Need help with building a connected brand experience for your healthcare organization? We offer all levels of support, from building a plan for your organization to execute to helping you execute it. Drop us a line at brainpower@tenadams.com to learn more about how we can help.

About Ten Adams

Ten Adams is a healthcare branding, marketing + advertising agency. We are strategists and creatives that transform business challenges into powerful brand experiences for hospitals and healthcare organizations. Relax. We know healthcare.

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