Healthcare Branding & Marketing: Do Blogs Fit In?

Health care marketing and strategic positioning are not an activities that manipulate the intrinsic properties of a product or service. Instead, positioning is a process by which you influence a consumer’s opinion of the value of a product or service relative to its competition. The main goal of strategic positioning is to differentiate an organization from other similar organizations within the market. Then the organization must monopolize on those differences to gain a competitive advantage over others.

Deciding on a positioning strategy for a health care organization requires that administration:

examine the strengths and weaknesses of the competition,

communicate and listen to clinical staff regarding perceived internal strengths and weaknesses

listen to customers desires, needs and wants.
From there, we can begin to understand the possibilities for changing customer perceptions of an organization in order to improve customer loyalty and probability that a customer will utilize an organization’s services.

Corporate branding is a method health care organizations can use to differentiate themselves from competitors. The branding process is more that selecting corporate names, logos or advertising tag lines. Instead, it is structured business process that is planned, strategically focused and integrated throughout the organization.

At its very heart, the branding process is designed to create an emotional, rational and community image of an organization within the mind of the consumer that allows him or her to rank the value of an organization and their services against those of competitors.

We know that insurance contracts are important to a healthcare organization, but ultimately it is the patient that must be convinced to choose a service provider. What is important to them? A provider that cares and who well versed in the “Art of Medicine”. Also they want to be cared for by organizations/people who practice the best, research supported, cutting-edge medicine.

While the informal and personal tone of the blogosphere, to date, has been identified as a risk of a healthcare organization starting a blog, there is the very real possibility that these very traits of blogs could play well into marketing and branding endeavors. What’s the harm in letting patients know a little bit more about you as long as it is presented professionally?

Author’s Bio: Carol is the Vice President of The Promedica Research Center. She has a masters degree from Mercer University in Health Policy and Administration and currently teaches a master’s level course on Health Care Organizations for the University of Phoenix (Online), College of Health Sciences.

In October 2005, Carol started a blog for her continuing education company to help to provide a value adde

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