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How to strengthen your brand using awards

June 8, 2016 | Branding

St. Mary’s + Healthgrades – How to promote an award-winning brand

We all love being recognized for our accomplishments. And when there’s an award to garner, the acknowledgement can go a long way to build and strengthen our reputation, not to mention instill a sense of pride and reassurance for all connected. You can say much the same holds true for brands – that is, if you don’t let them go to your head.

Here are four simple guidelines to follow when it comes to successfully promoting your brand with awards:

  1. Act brand-centric (remember awards are not your brand).
  2. Give your awards meaning.
  3. Be prideful but not boastful.
  4. When possible, tie the award to a patient benefit or service line.

Case in point: take St. Mary’s Health in southwestern Indiana. They’ve spent decades earning consumers’ trust and building a strong reputation. And effectively so. In addition to building their brand, they’ve distinguished themselves clinically.

St. Mary’s has consistently earned multiple distinctions from Healthgrades year after year. Here are a few of their latest awards:

  • Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence
  • Five-Star recipient for Treatment of Heart Failure
  • America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Joint Replacement
  • Top 5% in the Nation for Joint Replacement

As their long-time brand stewards, we set out to leverage their award-winning achievements to reinforce and continue to build their brand.

We set out, first and foremost, to keep the St. Mary’s brand going strong (we’re proud of the fact that St. Mary’s and Ten Adams have won several awards for their advertising campaign too). Our awards campaign pulls double duty to first leverage the brand’s positioning then to support it with the distinction the Healthgrades awards bring.

The executions of our award ads carry over the brand campaign’s look and feel. We stayed true to using caregiver and patient imagery. We used award emblems and copy as proof points to strengthen our brand messaging of exceptional care.

Next, we wove a consumer benefit into our messaging. In online, broadcast, radio and print, each execution worked to give meaning to the award and how the recognition supported the overall St. Mary’s brand messaging.

Finally, we worked to ensure we expressed pride, but not come off as boastful. Being genuine is something that matters very much to St. Mary’s and Ten Adams. Our award campaign builds upon the authenticity of the people behind the award-winning care.

Awards are a powerful affirmation of the level of care a hospital and its caregivers deliver. But on their own, after all, they are just a statement, an emblem or statuette. It’s the context that gives them power. And it’s the brand that supports them and gives them meaning. Use awards wisely and they’ll provide your brand great use.

Written by John Gorski

A Chicago native, John brings big-city perspective, a polite Midwestern demeanor and more than 15 years of strategic creative experience to enhance our clients’ brand experiences. He has lent his expertise to academic health centers, health systems, community hospitals and physician networks, building an impressive portfolio of projects that have earned impressive results.

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