Why to invest in brand and the virtual experience during COVID

Build brand in person – Reinforce digitally

The pandemic lock-down and reopening phases have caused healthcare systems of all kinds to reassess their marketing. But it has also presented some very interesting new opportunities.

One of these opportunities is that patients are actually walking right into your facilities when they normally wouldn’t — for COVID testing.

Here’s a scenario that I, more or less, followed: I searched “COVID testing near me,” found a location about 10 minutes away that was open at a convenient time, and headed to the location. Because insurance and staying in-network isn’t a factor, other patients, such as myself, likely used location and convenience as the determining factors. Do any other factors impact this quick decision? Was there online scheduling available? If they called, did someone friendly and helpful pick up? Another scenario is someone asking their friends or colleagues, “Where is a good place to get tested?” So you need to ask: Are we giving an experience that people would recommend?

When someone comes to visit an office for something as potentially scary and stressful as COVID-testing, all your employees, from the front desk workers to the nurses administering the tests need to be on the top of their game. And your brand needs to be visible. If they had a good experience but couldn’t actually remember who was affiliated with a certain urgent care location, then there is huge potential wasted. Even something simple like posters in the waiting rooms and exam rooms with your organization’s logo, brand elements and tagline can make a huge difference for recall.

Now imagine someone visits you, has a good experience and later decides to look you up, maybe to finally make that primary care appointment they’ve been putting off or to see a certain specialist. This is why your brand is so important. So people will actually remember you and seek you out when they need help, and ultimately recommend you to their friends and colleagues. Your other marketing touchpoints will serve as reminders and keep you top-of-mind like TV spots, digital ads and social media posts.

So what about your existing patients? How about the ones whose yearly physical was supposed to be in March or April? Are you still keeping in contact with them? Sending them helpful resources or letting them know it’s safe to schedule their appointments again? Email is a great way to deliver personalized content. And if they click through to your website you can then drive the messaging home with remarketing display ads. Make sure these two campaigns – one for new patients and one for existing patients – are separate with different messaging, separate landing pages and calls to action that make the most sense for that audience.

When encouraging current patients to reschedule their appointments, you can’t assume everyone will be comfortable coming into the office, no matter how much messaging about safety you’re pushing out. And this is where telehealth comes in. Before the pandemic, though telehealth use has been steadily growing over the years, it still wasn’t widely adopted, especially in rural areas. So it’s very likely this year has been the first time many people have had to use telehealth services. Are you making it as easy for them as possible? Is it properly integrated with their electronic records so they don’t have to give the same information multiple times when talking to different specialty doctors within your organization? Is there more automation you can integrate after an appointment, for example, feedback surveys or a newsletter campaign relevant to which service they received (if they’re opt-ed in)? Now is the time telehealth needs to move beyond being a second thought and become a major tactic to build brand loyalty by giving an exceptional patient experience.


Interested in learning more about this topic? Join us for a Live Webinar with VP Paul Fahey on December 3, 2020!


Further Reading:
Digital Storytelling for Hospital Brands — Part I Whitepaper
Digital Storytelling for Hospital Brands — Part II Whitepaper
Your brand is not your clinical reputation
Company Culture Campaign Example