How Digital Contributes to Brand Development
Each November I attend the Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC), which is my chance to learn about the newest and coolest ideas being implemented in healthcare marketing. The 2014 HCIC was no different―it afforded the opportunity for marketing and digital staff members from some of the leading health care systems and hospitals to again share innovative ideas and best practices around the application of digital tools and systems for marketing and processes improvement.
Of particular interest was a workshop on how digital systems can simultaneously contribute to brand development and process improvement. The contribution to brand development is a goal that may or may not be outlined in the planning phase of web projects, but each of the cases presented revealed the influence of brand development in the digital world. Brand perceptions are formed by everyone interacting with the organization, including site visits, and those digital experiences are powerful in forming a positive impression of the brand.
Case One: Elevating Your Web Experience
As consumers, we expect every organization’s website to deliver a great experience and make it easy for us to find the information and services we need. But, executing is not as easy as waving a magic wand. Katie Adam from Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin took us through her journey and the challenges she faced in building a website with the goal to reinforce the brand, eliminate potential brand confusion with two prominent names, increase the depth of the user experience, and create the efficient and engaging experience by closing the gaps identified in research with key audiences.
A big takeaway from their site enhancement project was the effective integration of user testing and feedback. The message of simplicity and ease of use while incorporating the latest content and improved processes provided clear guidance to the team during the development phases. The outcome was a collaborative effort that eliminated duplication and reinforced the brand in a consistent fashion with strategic objectives. These strong brand impressions are elevating the brand with all stakeholders, including employees. A key takeaway is the commitment of the team to integrate a strong brand component into the plan and implementation.
Case Two: Great Patient Portals Build Brand Loyalty
Another digital opportunity is in the emerging implementation of patient portals. Kelly Fagen at Sharp Health outlined the process of advancing this practice to deliver outstanding experiences. These portals are a terrific opportunity to not only improve processes, but also to create strong impressions with users that the brand is being delivered in each transaction or visit. And, as experiences are a major driver of brand perception, this digitally based experience can have a huge impact on the brand. With the guiding objectives of “transforming the healthcare experience and being the best place to work and receive care” the team had a clear goal of brand building with the revised patient portal.
MySharp was developed and launched with the goals of improved convenience, incorporating user input, and breaking the traditional call center experience with an innovative approach for their patients and families. Among the many services provided by the new patient portal are: appointment scheduling, access to medical information, demographic overviews, and many more. The refreshing takeaway is the conscious effort to reinforce and deliver on the brand attributes and create a competitive advantage.
Case Three: Engage Your Organization to Build Your Brand
Finally, New York-Presbyterian showed us how they utilize web technology to minimize brand confusion internally and externally and to create a resource center for brand management. The New York-Presbyterian Brand Center is a resource for internal audiences, agencies, and vendors to support marketing and brand development at all levels. Dick Tulimieri of New York-Presbyterian explained many of the issues the site addresses, including better compliance with policies, flexibility to meet future needs, less oversight required at the corporate level required, and ease of use which compels the user community to engage as part of the brand building process.
The site incorporates a number of leading digital approaches to asset management and delivery, best practice sharing, marketing collateral customization within the browser, instant logo artwork generation, and customization of PowerPoint presentations.
The result? A process that is much more effective for all users that drives a cultural shift toward creating brand ambassadors by empowering them with the proper digital tools to do their jobs. New York-Presbyterian recognizes that its greatest brand assets is its employees. Investing in the latest digital tools is a powerful way to achieve brand goals by proving that the hospital is serious about putting the power of brand into employees’ hands.
All three cases incorporate conscious brand building objectives into their digital projects. The approach demonstrates how improved processes lead to better experiences for everyone visiting a brand’s website, which creates stronger brand perception, resulting in better brands.
Mike Reinhardt is Senior Director, Brand Sustainability at Monigle.