Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Will There be Brand Conflict Between Traditional Healthcare Organizations and an ACO?

Have you considered the question of your brand, or brands, the ACO brand you may create, or as an ACO participant? This is really a much more important question than you may think. For some healthcare organizations, it won't be, as they have a highly developed brand architecture and strategy. For others, that haven't been paying as much attention to their brand architecture and strategy, it will.

I would surmise that large healthcare systems and payers will be ahead of the branding game, and able to seamlessly create and launch an ACO under their current brand umbrella. I think the brand challenge for healthcare systems, will be when they have to contract for services outside of their traditional system.

In those organizations that have more brands under the sun than stars in the galaxy, it will be a challenge supreme. That is what happens when there is no clear marketing leadership in most of these healthcare organizations. If you did the brand market research as well, you would probably find in these organizations, no clear brand recognition and brand confusion in the marketplace.

Creating a brand for your ACO or participation isn't just throwing a name and logo up. Some items you need to consider:

How does the ACO fit into the brand architecture of the organizations?

What will be the ACO brand impact on the existing organization? If you are reducing cost, providing higher quality medical services and better outcomes, you need to consider that impact on other populations served not in the ACO. If they are not recipients of all these ACO benefits in their care, regardless of payment model, you are in for a world of hurt.

Does your brand promise for the ACO fit in with the brand promise for the traditional healthcare organization, outside of the ACO?

Are you a house of brands, needing to create and implement a brand architecture, fixing all those service and clinical program line brands?

What are the resources you have committed to creating the ACO brand, its brand promise, brand value and brand awareness?

Did you consider the need for market research to fully understand you current brand position and how the ACO will make an impact on existing brands? Did you budget for that expense?

Are you ready for the expense of fixing you multiple brands, creating a clear, definable brand architecture and strategy?

Will you create and implement organizationally, a brand manual that everyone is accountable to follow?

Will senior management support marketing in being the "brand police"?

This list isn't all inclusive. But, you have to start somewhere. Sooner rather than later.

On another note, Healthcare Marketing Matters is now read monthly in 49 countries. With some of the request for information and comments I receive, the U.S.A. doesn't have sole ownership of cost and quality issues. Others around the world are facing the same things more or less. And from what I can tell, have been far more successful than us.

Medepage (you can find a link in my notable sites), is an Australian- based international healthcare job search site, has added a blog feed from Healthcare Marketing Matters to its site. Thank you Tony!

With the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday next week in the U.S., I am not sure if there will be another post. The kids are off high school and the wife took off a couple of days. So maybe it's time to step back and recharge for a few days.

Thanks for reading

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