The Need to Manage Your Brand

The following is reprinted with permission from strategicplanningMD.

Brands are like children; they need constant attention, lots of love and an occasional time out. Because the brand is merely a reflection of the organization's mission and culture, it can never be left unattended for long periods of time. The more you imbed the brand into the organization's operations, the more sustainable — and impervious — it becomes.

What does brand integration mean? It means this: Do you hire with the brand in mind? Do your organizational policies reflect the brand? Is the brand aligned with your leadership team's management style? If you answered no to any of these — or the 87 other questions I would like to ask you (really, we have 90 questions that will tell us everything we need to know about the current state of your brand) — then your brand is destined to crumble.   

Maybe not next week or even next month, but crumble it shall. And no amount of really cool strategic planning or brand positioning advertising will save it.

I have seen too many hospitals develop really solid brands, but built on the backs of advertising, not operations. Consumer preference begins to climb, market share shifts start to occur, volume rises and so does revenue. Everyone is happy.

In every case, these hospitals have taken a nosedive. Some within 12 months, others held on for as long as three years. They were never able to sustain the brand because the brand was fictitious, the handiwork of great communicators and an even greater creative team.

In these hospitals, as volume began to rise, more and more patients were exposed to the flaws, the chips and the cracks. And after they were discharged, they told their family, friends and neighbors about the real brand — the brand they experienced, rather than the brand they saw on TV.

The only way to build an enduring, market-dominant brand is to first create an experience that is brand-worthy; second, manage every aspect of that experience every day; and third, once the brand experience is solidly in place, only then communicate the brand through marketing. This is the basis of every sound brand strategy.

More Articles on strategicplanningMD:

How to Measure Your Brand
6 Brand Strategy Rules of Great Hospitals

Balanced Scorecards Revealed

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