Sunday, May 19, 2013

How are you integrating your healthcare brand into your public relations?

With the rapid progression of healthcare evolving into a consumer-centric market, how much more effective would your marketing, experience and outcomes campaigns be if your messaging in your Public Relations (PR) campaigns carried your brand messaging with the value, experience and outcomes it brings to the healthcare consumer?

Simple really. More effective. More meaningful. More engagement. And if you aren't, than guess what?

That is a missed opportunity.

As healthcare organizations, we are expected by our audiences to advertise, write white papers, create case studies, write impactful sales materials, partner with leading market research organizations to present "groundbreaking" topical surveys and results, as well as other materials. That is a given.

But what is the value of these same messages being crafted in such a way through PR to your organization? The more people say they don't believe what they read and see, the more that they believe what they read and see. A positive story going viral in social media carries over to all the touch-points that the healthcare consumer sees, hears and feels. Third party credibility conferred by the publication, news organization or web content carrier that the story has some measure of truth and validity. Can't buy that in advertising, direct mail or contests.

It can all be summed up by the following:

Presence Builds Preference
Perception- Leads to Opinion- Becomes Fact

PR can provide you with a continuous brand presence in the market that you cannot afford through traditional or online paid efforts. It can successfully build positive impressions, solid opinions which after a while the healthcare consumer will come to believe about your organization, and this is an important and, allows you to build relationships with the media that can be leveraged in times of crisis.

In my experience, it is not uncommon to generate on an annual basis for small healthcare organizations $1 million plus in equivalent advertising through an aggressive PR program. For larger companies, an aggressively planned and consistent PR program generates $10s of millions in equivalent advertising dollars. Ask your Executive Suite for that kind of money for paid advertising in this or any economy and see what happens.

If you are not integrating your brand messaging into your PR efforts, your losing the opportunity of a lifetime and potentially your markets.

PS. And it's just not writing press releases.

Michael J. Krivich, MHA, FACHE, PCM, is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views read in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. These views are my own. He is founder of the michael J group, a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group, and connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pheed.

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