The MVP of Hospital Marketing

How a great patient experience can turn care consumers into loyal fans

The underdog, the long shot, the little guy. Sometimes, you have to defy all odds to become the best. That was the situation in Game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers, which were facing a historically great Golden State Warriors team and needed to complete a first-of-its-kind rally from a 3-1 series deficit.

Oh, and the city of Cleveland hadn’t won a major sports championship since football’s Browns in 1964.

The Cavs completed their comeback and ended their city’s title drought Sunday with a historic victory. That game took place in California, yet thousands and thousands of the Cavs’ fans gathered together in downtown Cleveland to watch the game together as a community. Their dedication to their hometown team, the brand that represents them as a people, brought them out that night.

Community hospitals are a lot like the Cavs in Game 7. They’re often viewed as the underdog and need the patients’ support to prevail. Unfortunately, it’s extremely rare for a hospital to have the same following as an NBA team. However, it is possible to make a comeback with your community, drive patient engagement and create loyal fans.

Larger academic medical centers with superior clinical reputations make it a challenge for community hospitals to compete on even ground. But, these healthcare giants have flaws. Their collective Achilles heel is their inability, due to sheer volume, to deliver personalized care.

We understand that community hospitals need to act smarter and be more strategic to stand out from the perceived stronger competition. But, above all, we find that community hospitals and health systems see dramatic results in brand loyalty when they offer what the competition cannot: a better patient experience.

Patients are your hospital’s greatest advocates and should become your biggest fans. A higher level of customer service can boost your hospital’s reputation and ultimately lead you down a path to success. If you haven’t done so yet, you should define what a great patient experience means to your organization and create core values or an inspiring brand promise that the staff can use as a guide.

LeBron James, the MVP of the postseason, repeatedly said the Cavaliers owed their championship to the fans — the same way a hospital or health system would trace their success back to its patients.

Hospitals and health systems do not need the stamina of LeBron James or the gallantry of David to overcome a Goliath competitor. They just need to focus on the patient experience and get their teams to rally behind their brand promise.