On Monday, October 10, 2011, Deloitte released their latest Issue Brief, The Public View of Health Care Reform. I would also recommend highly that you read the 2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers in the United States.
Anyhow two items caught my attention from the Public View report out of many. The first is that and I quote: "Consumers perceive a complex, wasteful system sensing a lack of value for what is spent". "Consumers are critical of the U.S. health care system performance: 22 percent give it a favorable report card grade of "A" or "B" while 36 percent of consumers give it a grade of "D" or "F". In the second report, 2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers: " Satisfaction with U.S. health care system is low. 8 in 10 consumers see no system improvement and 3 in 4 believe other countries' systems are better. "
When you look at these consumer perceptions, one realizes very quickly that healthcare organizations are unable to articulate value. All that time, energy, resources and creativity spent to communicate that you are a quality healthcare provider has failed.
It is simple really, healthcare organizations have never talked about value. Never defined their brand in terms of what is the value, of what you do for the consumer. Much healthcare marketing communication is about you having "best" physicians in the region, or great high-tech equipment, we care and pictures of shinny new rooms and buildings. My favorites include "spa-like atmosphere", "world-class" and "unique".
Anyone wonder, why the giggle factor goes way up for consumers when they see this nonsense? They don't believe it, and it doesn't mesh with their experience. It may make you feel good and your Board happy, but at the end-of-the-day, it's not working.
What you are is doing is damaging your brand.
Sooner rather than later, you are going to have to articulate your messaging around the value that your brand brings the consumer. You can't run away or hide from it anymore. If you're not messaging brand value, then you are not being heard in the market. Sometimes, the reality of what you believe to be true, clashes with what the consumer wants from you. If you were doing your market research, you would have known this.
At some point, healthcare organization will have to develop strong value propositions. And communicate those brand value propositions to consumer. Communicating in meaningful ways about value that refrains from insulting the consumer with simplistic, self-centered messaging, that only increases the giggle factor in your market.
If you don't, that sound you hear, are the 40 percent of people in your market (Deloitte, 2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers in the United States), that would leave for what they perceive are better healthcare services starting their cars.