Prescription Phase – Define your position

Identifying your brand position, core values and creative direction

The insights gained in the Diagnosis phase help identify what makes a hospital or practice different, desirable, relevant and worthy of the audience’s consideration. The prescription phase includes developing a competitive brand positioning statement, identifying the organization’s core values (or brand pillars), establishing strategic and creative direction for brand development, outlining short-term tactical priorities and getting buy-in from key decision makers.

The Healthy Brand Board™ for Vassar Brothers Medical Center

Stake out your competitive position

So what’s that shimmering, golden kernel of truth that makes your healthcare brand more desirable than your competition? Why are you the best at what you do?

Your brand positioning statement should be:

  • Concise, a short explanation of why you’re the best at what you do;
  • Distinguishing, so it sets you apart from other brands;
  • Honest, believable and deliverable so you can live up to your promise every day;
  • Relevant to your audiences’ interests and emotional needs;
  • Memorable, so people think of you when they need healthcare.

Don’t be afraid to write a position statement that’s very different from what your competitors are saying – in fact strive to be different. If you’re not distinguishing yourself as the best or only choice for a specific emotional reason, then you’re just selling features and benefits. Stake your claim and prove your superiority.

Identify core values (your brand pillars)

Brand pillars are similar to your organization’s core values; the behaviors and characteristics that support your desired brand position and the expected patient experience. Individually, these may not be ownable or differentiating, but no two brands should share the same set of brand pillars. Often core values are a translation of the company mission: a trickle-down of the hospital leadership’s vision for how people need to think and act to achieve the common goals. Brand values may be more directly related to your position statement or desired patient experience, however.
If your competitive position really captures the essence of your organization, then identifying your core values should be fairly easy. Make a list, test them against your position, and narrow it down to the top three to seven words that truly fit your brand.

Establish creative direction for brand identity

The Healthy Brand Board™  is a device that we use to help establish the personality and visual identity of healthcare brands. It’s a combination of images, graphics and words on a single panel that express the identified brand position. Together these elements should provide an illustrated example of the brand position; imparting the energy, mood and spirit of the brand.

A Healthy Brand Board™is very helpful as a discussion guide to test ideas, a presentation slide for approval of the competitive positioning, and as a decision-support tool to check whether communications are on-brand or off-brand.

Get buy in from all key decision makers

At this stage, you should have all the elements you need to present your recommendations to all key decision makers in your organization (anyone who participated in the initial stakeholder input meetings). This is the second feedback stage in the branding process and an important opportunity to review your findings, share your recommendations and get buy-in to move forward. The goal of this presentation is to confirm the logic of your positioning process and connect the dots from the stakeholders’ input to the resulting brand position. When all of your organization’s leaders agree on your process and decisions up to this point, it virtually eliminates the likelihood of a significant challenge to subsequent steps.

To learn more, download the white paper “The How-To-Guide for Brand Building.