4 steps to uncovering your hospital’s compelling truth

Every hospital or physician group has brand truths that it can use to position itself in the marketplace. By brand truths, I mean the essential qualities that differentiate a hospital or practice from competitors. So the question is, how do you figure out what brand truths are relevant and worth sharing with your target audiences? And once you’ve chosen them, how do you use the truth to emotionally engage patients?


Our experience shows that there are four steps to uncover brand truths and determine how they can contribute to a believable, memorable brand story for your hospital or physician group.

Peel back the onion

Take a good hard look at your hospital brand from an outsider’s perspective and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where did it come from?
  • What does it offer?
  • How has it been presented in the past?
  • What is its current market position?
  • What are the people behind it thinking and saying?

Tell the truth and nothing but the truth.

Analyze the competitive idea space

Take a look at all of your competitors and reverse-engineer their communications to see where they are focusing and how they are positioning their hospital brands.

  • What are other hospitals saying?
  • How does each differ from other hospitals in the area?
  • How is each the same as other hospitals in the area?

After you’ve completed this, you should have a good idea where there is saturation and where there is opportunity in the world of ideas.

Identify the true relationship drivers

Identify the the key qualities or features patients look for in hospitals and do a gap analysis to determine which of these are the relationship drivers for your hospital.

  • Are the drivers tangible or intangible?
  • Which attributes do you need to do well?
  • Which offer the highest return on investment?

Get intimate with the patient

Next, put yourself in the shoes of the patient.

  • What are the patients’ current perceptions of your hospital and the hospitals you compete with?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What interests them, makes them happy, and can improve their quality of life?

Focusing on the relationship-building drivers, ladder up the list of attributes to get to the place that resonates with patients emotionally.

The bottom line

It may not be so plainly evident, or as easy as telling a lie, but uncovering the truth is the key to finding a position that will differentiate your hospital or physician group from competitors.