Effective health care branding helps your brand personality shine while eliciting meaningful dialogue with your audiences. Is your brand personality young, exciting and intellectually curious? Or perhaps it’s warm, comfortable and secure? Regardless of these exact attributes, all strong brands make an emotional connection with their audience, and don’t rely solely on making claims or promoting capabilities. This is an especially important lesson in health care branding, whether it applies to a hospital trying to fill beds, a health technology company launching a new mobile device or a health plan engaging its members.
Yet many corporate brands are guilty of the same missteps, and this is no different when it comes to health care branding. They talk exclusively about their products, services and capabilities with little thought to how their audience actually feels. And today’s marketing-savvy, skeptical consumers demand more. Whether your marketing is B2C, B2B or B2P, there is still a real, live person on the receiving end of your company’s health care branding messages. This seems obvious, but companies often consider their customers to be organizations rather than individuals. When we first ask our clients about their audience, they often answer, “We sell to hospitals” or “We’re targeting payers.” As successful marketers, we need to understand these buyers and influencers on a personal level, including their wants, needs, preferences and preconceptions about an industry and a particular brand’s place in it. There is one process that incorporates all of these principles into a successful brand positioning exercise: Emotional Branding.
Emotional Branding is the practice of building brands that appeal directly to an individual’s emotional state, needs and aspirations. This is also the essence of Activate Health’s approach to health care branding. We get to know the people behind your brand—and the people who interact with it—to understand how they feel about your organization. However, we aren’t the only ones touting the benefits of this approach and we don’t claim it as just our own.
Many large branding firms use some variation of this model. Think about Amazon, Starbucks and Apple, who not only tap into basic positive emotions like happiness, but also the more complex emotional states through their brand messaging. For example, Amazon’s logo and messaging reflect optimism, surprise and curiosity—“What will I find next?” Starbucks relates not just the sensory experience of taste, but also individuals’ needs to feel a sense of comfort, belonging and of being rewarded. If your brand messaging isn’t aligning with these intricate types of emotional appeal, it’s likely being ignored by many people who lack firsthand experience with your company.
This may sound difficult when a health care company is selling services or complex products—not cereal, dog food, makeup or computer parts. However, even health care branding of B2B products or services must fill a distinct, visceral need for the person on the other end of the purchase. The product may make their life or job easier (optimism). Or a new service makes this buyer look good to their boss and furthers their career (pride). These are real, tangible benefits that mean something to almost all of us in the business world.
While some health care organizations offer vague or intangible services, your company is probably doing more. Your brand may promise the potential of good health and all that comes with it. Maybe you have the ability to meaningfully improve people’s lives (and sometimes even extend their lives). Or perhaps you’re helping other companies do the same. A good marketing firm should be able to guide you through this health care branding process and develop key components of your brand. These include your brand positioning, elevator speech and value proposition—all designed to help you make an emotional, lasting connection with the individuals who interact with your organization. Read more here about how marketing agencies use emotional appeal in their health care branding to craft compelling messages that resonate.
Want to start a conversation with Activate Health? Please contact us. We’d love to hear from you.