Sharing the Secrets of Successful Healthcare Brands

Insights from branding expert Susan Meier

Jan 29, 2024 | Kate Domin - Doximity Marketing Manager

Developing and telling a cohesive brand story is not always an easy task. Layer on complications like brand changes, acquisitions, or rebrands, and the challenge can intensify. Luckily, branding expert Susan Meier shared her secrets for successful healthcare brands with Doximity on a recent webinar. Here is her advice for healthcare brands that want to drive growth and foster lasting connections. 

According to Susan, a brand story is a promise. It’s essential to tell a relevant, consistent story that resonates with your audience. The basic framework for building a successful brand is:

  • Know your audience 
    • Consider what is important to your audience, their primary pain points, and what helps solve their problems. 
  • Know yourself 
    • Good things happen when you know yourself. Identify your strengths and unique points of differentiation. It’s equally important to know who you are not. Focus on how you provide value to your audience. 
  • Know your promise 
    • Your promise should be specific enough that your audience can identify it as uniquely your own. But, it should also consider all relevant constituents. 

Healthcare Branding Challenges 

The core brand-building framework is applicable across industries, but there are additional challenges that healthcare organizations face. One important consideration is that healthcare organizations typically answer to many different constituencies, including patients, providers, payors and more. Marketers need to develop a clear brand message that speaks to all of these groups. And remember, when you speak to one, you speak to them all. Even if your messaging is tailored and targeted to one audience, your public messaging will not always stay contained to one group. Of course, you can (and should) highlight different aspects of your brand to different audiences, but maintaining consistent positioning is essential. 

Positioning Strategies

When considering your positioning strategy, there are a few different approaches. Selecting a focus will help establish a consistent brand identity. Do you want to position yourself around a population (e.g. children’s hospital), a specialty (e.g. surgery or cancer), or an attribute (e.g. innovation)? Once you define your positioning, developing consistent messaging becomes straightforward.

Acquisitions and Rebranding 

Acquisitions and rebranding are common in healthcare. Various factors come into play when approaching brand development for an acquisition or rebrand. Start by carefully considering what brand equity exists. You’ve spent a lot of time building that brand equity, so protect it. However, you will need to resolve dissonance across your brands. One recommendation is to refresh rather than reinvent the brand. Provide a bridge on the branding journey to allow your audience to travel with you as the brand evolves. This can also help you correctly identify what aspects are worth protecting. As you consider your acquisition and rebranding strategy, answer these five questions: 

  • How strong are your brands? 
  • How important is branding in driving awareness, conversation, and loyalty?
  • What is your innovation strategy, and how elastic will the master brand positioning need to be? 
  • How are various brands in the portfolio positioned and targeted?
  • How is the brand team structured organizationally? 

Curious what these considerations look like in practice? Check out our webinar for additional insights and real-world case studies from Doximity partners.