Often, hospital marketers adhere to deeply held maxims – whether personal or as an organization – when developing communication strategies. Here, leaders from nine health systems share the mottos on which they base their messaging strategies.
Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited slightly for clarity and style.
Alexandra Morehouse. Marketing Director at Banner Health (Phoenix): We have a very explicit strategy around marketing and communications. We have positioned Banner as the “informed guide”, which means that we aspire to be an unbiased source of accurate and timely information. The average patient or consumer is overwhelmed by too many messages and also deeply suspicious of what they see on the news and the government.
Our “Wise Guide” positioning seems to reduce clutter quite effectively. We’re in the top 10 most visited health websites in the US, out of 9,800, because we focus on high-value, unbiased content.
Suzanne Bharati Hendery. Director of Marketing and Customer Service at Renown Health (Reno, Nev.): The motto that guides the strategic direction of Renown’s marketing and communications team is “creating raving fans” – which we do in many ways. The best way to build a fan base is to involve them in creating new programs, services and solutions. How do we measure fame fandom? Engagement scores from our employees and physicians, as well as net promotion and reputation scores from our community, active patients, members of our insurance plan, and active MyChart users.
Mathieu Pinzur. Marketing Director at Jackson Health System (Miami): I would sum up our guiding principle as follows: we are privileged to tell remarkable stories about people’s lives, so our joy and our job is to tell them in remarkable ways and bring them to the widest possible audience. The rest is just details and teamwork marinated in a strong sense of urgency.
Sheila Champlin at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston): The essence of our brand revolves around “changing what is possible”. Over the years, some of our most memorable marketing campaigns have featured members of our own care team as they deliver on the brand promise, working with patients and families, in community or in collaboration internally with other MUSC teams. When our team members share how they individually experience the essence of the brand, the energy and power of the brand radiates, reaching a wide range of internal and external constituents. High-impact campaigns share personal stories and evoke heartfelt connections with others. This is how you build and sustain communities.
At the onset of the pandemic, we quickly planned and executed marketing and communications campaigns specifically targeting underserved, vulnerable, and underrepresented people, including African American and Latino populations across the state. Being able to stay in touch with these communities has allowed our teachers and providers to provide the most up-to-date and verified information through multiple channels, while simultaneously working to clear up the misconceptions that were continually swirling around. Deploying efforts to connect these communities to our free telehealth diagnostics, coupled with our drive-thru testing at locations across our state, has been a tremendous source of pride for our entire organization. It is “changing what is possible” in action.
Cynthia Neiman. Chief Marketing Officer at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (California): At CHOC, our mission is “to nourish, advance and protect the health and well-being of children”. Following a marketing campaign that we launched a few years ago, our rallying cry became “Long live childhood”. We work together to prevent illness or injury from interrupting the magic of childhood, and the slogan “Long Live Childhood” has become so popular that it appears on many items sold in our gift shop, t t-shirts to water bottles.
Susan Milford. Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at OSF HealthCare (Peoria, Illinois): OSF HealthCare’s mission, “to serve with the utmost care and love”, is the common thread running through our marketing and communications strategy. Our branding work and each of our campaigns must support this goal of our sisters (of the Third Order of Saint Francis), who founded our Catholic healthcare system 144 years ago and who still lead it today.
Each campaign includes a distinct marketing strategy that provides unique value to our community. Value refines messaging and creativity for those who will benefit most from the service we provide: our focused personalities, based on the thoughts and feelings behind how they make health care decisions and where those personalities are in their stage of life. For example, a young couple has different health needs than a newly retired widower.
It is essential for any marketing strategy that the expectation shared in advertising materializes in the customer experience. That’s why our marketing is more than promotion. It must encompass all areas of our healthcare team that touch every step of the patient journey, from ease of access to wellness to care. In this way, we deliver on our brand promise and put the needs of our patients first.
Gulden Mesara. Senior Vice President and Director of Communications and Marketing at City of Hope (Duarte, CA): The credo that guides City of Hope’s marketing and communications strategy is: “There is no profit in healing the body if in doing so we destroy the soul.” This phrase was coined by Samuel H. Golter, one of our early leaders. By promoting City of Hope – a National Cancer Institute-appointed, nationally recognized cancer leader – we share heartwarming stories that showcase City of Hope as a company with a proven track record in compassionate patient care. By combining science and humanity, City of Hope is reimagining the future of patient care.
Tyra Palmer. Director of Marketing at Ardent Health Services (Nashville, Tenn.): The right information, at the right time, in the right place and at the right price for our patients.
The right information: is it easy to understand and find? At the right time: How can we stay connected when patients need us? The right location: Are we helping guide to the most appropriate level of care and is it convenient? Fair price: do we support transparency and education?
Commonwealth Care Alliance (Boston): At the heart of our mission and marketing strategy is our unique comprehensive model of care. This unique model delivers better health outcomes through seamless integration, community orientation, and a focus on the behavioral and social determinants of health that account for so many critical gaps in care. It’s based on our deep understanding of what puts people at risk, as well as our unparalleled ability to find and engage hard-to-reach people.