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Brand Strategy For Healthcare

Brand Strategy And Healthcare Reform


Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. We regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Dan, a VP of Marketing in New York, New York who writes…

“With the arrival of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, my healthcare insurance brand will have to advertise a point of difference. We will have to win in a B2C situation. This is completely new territory for us. Please share the process for gaining an advantage.”

Thanks for your question Dan. Certainly the time to evolve is now for many healthcare marketers. The first step in any branding effort is to identify all of the most promising consumer segments and then figure out how to most effectively and efficiently connect with them. Most of these will likely be the uninsured including the previously uninsurable. Many will be young adults, a potentially profitable market for medical insurance companies. And don’t forget about the fastest growing demographic markets in the US, such as Latinos.

Given that you will be marketing more directly to the individual (versus corporate) market, you will need to understand not only how to reach these individuals, but how their needs may vary from the needs of business customers. For instance, do you know the following for each target market segment?

  • Their hopes, fears, aspirations and anxieties
  • How they perceive their health and their health risks
  • How they perceive the medical insurance market – the good the bad and the ugly
  • What they believe they can afford and not afford
  • Of which medical insurance brands they are aware
  • How they perceive your brand and its competitors

Taking this information, which will come primarily from qualitative research but perhaps also from some quantitative research, you will need to develop campaigns that appeal to people on an emotional level. While medical insurance plans may seem “cut and dry” (subject primarily to analytical thought), most brand decisions are based on emotions. Every brand needs to have a unique value or selling proposition, one that is believable and emotionally compelling to its target audiences.

You mentioned that the brand campaign also needs to work in a B2B situation. I assume you are talking about corporations, professional associations and other organizations that offer insurance to more than one person.  In this case, you will first need to understand the end consumer’s needs and then the B2B decision maker’s needs. You will need to factor both sets of needs into your brand positioning and messaging to the B2B decision maker.

Dan, focus on customer targeting, marketing research, brand positioning and storytelling and you will be on your way to building an advantage for your healthcare brand.

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Twitter: Diplomat_Serge
on December 21st, 2013 said

Yes, emotions is one of the most vital instruments in marketing strategy. Using this tool appropriately we can get our brand as popular as we need it to be.

Twitter: arshadaminkpk
on December 23rd, 2013 said

Good points Brad, I would like to add my own 50 cents, I believe there is another efficient and effective way to branding, to do this approach “The first step in any branding effort is to identify all of the most promising consumer segments and then figure out how to most effectively and efficiently connect with them.” That is by utilizing or pushing USP (1) or unique selling proposition approach on all customer touch points (mass media, social media, print media, company outlets, PR so on and so forth) to brand your business, product/service in an effective way.

The first step here is similar to the one I went through in the article but here along with identification of the most promising target market segments you have to identify what was mentioned in the post is “Their hopes, fears, aspirations and anxieties, How they perceive their health and their health risks, How they perceive the medical insurance market – the good the bad and the ugly, What they believe they can afford and not afford, Of which medical insurance brands they are aware, How they perceive your brand and its competitors”
Now to do that effectively, like to get the exact, right insight you have to research your target market by conducting qualitative and quantitative research, as both of these approaches can provide the precise and exact data on target market, their structures, key competitors, trends, consumer behavior and attitude (2). Utilize each and every research approach, as each of them has their strengths and weaknesses so the weaknesses of one approach are covered by strengths of other and vice versa. (3) And to refine that data further, to get even better picture about your target market, utilize web and social media research approaches (4). It gets you those pieces of picture (Target market data) that you couldn’t get clearly with traditional research approaches (qualitative and quantitative).
So once you have the real target market/customers insight it’s time to use that insight by connecting it with your brand, product/service (this would be your USP) and then pushing that USP on all customer touch points.
That’s it, my 50 Cents!

1. Frazer, C.F. (1983), “Creative strategy: a management perspective”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 36-42.
2. Proctor, T. (2000), Essentials of Marketing Research, Pearson Education Limited, Essex.
3. Deshpande, R. (1983) ‘Paradigms lost’: on theory and method in research in marketing. Journal of Marketing, 47, 101–110.
4. Mahr, D. (2011), “Customer co-creation of knowledge during the innovation process”, European Marketing Academy Conference (EMAC 2011), Ljubljana, May 24-27, 2011.

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