We all know that building brand equity is hard work and takes time. When branding a hospice agency, it can be even harder to build that so desired equity. After all, most hospices are truly great organizations. In fact, everyone we’ve ever partnered with has told us that they delivery the best care, most compassionate care and have the best team. And you know what? When we survey their patients, patients’ families, physicians, case managers, SNF partners, they agreed, ‘that’ hospice has the best care and most compassionate caregivers.
I recently watched a 30-minute YouTube presentation on a hospice that paid a large agency to rebrand them. The agency decided their brand was ‘caring’ because when they interviewed those same groups ‘caring’ was the word they heard over and over. But I bet if they interviewed those who used the services of other hospice providers in their service area they would hear that same word over and over. It’s hard to build a brand around a word that others can also authentically claim. Does saying your hospice cares open the door to earlier end of life care?
So since this is truly a field of great providers who provide great compassionate care, how do you stand apart? How can you help improve access to care? It’s all about being in the minds of the consumer, being a category of one, and breaking out of the pack.
We got a call from a client last week. One who indeed provides incredible compassionate and quality care. They called to share reaction to an ad campaign we had just launched. One born from intensive research and authentic rebranding. They had a couple of stories for us. That day an elderly gentleman walked into their office, in his hands was a fold, crinkled newspaper. On the outer side of the fold was our ad. He asked if he could sign himself up for hospice care. He said he saw their ad and he never felt so understood, that they seemed to really ‘get’ him. Earlier that week a woman called their marketing director and told her she was at Kinko’s making copies of their ad. “I have never seen such a great message. I work at a large PR firm and rarely respond to advertising. But you really understand what I want, who I am. I am copying this for friends who are going through what I am, they need to talk about hospice.” This is just a small sampling of the huge reaction to this brand and campaign, and to what a hospice brand can do – lead individuals to great care. Like Bill Bernbach said, “Forget words like ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell.’ That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.”
Lesson learned? Discover how your hospice can truly connect to those who need your care. Understand exactly how to have a conversation about something people rarely want to talk about in a way that truly helps them understand what your hospice can provide; what is important from their perspective.
Icing on the cake – these individuals are getting the end of life care they deserve. And at the end of every campaign, that’s what it’s really all about.