When I speak to behavioral health organizations about the health of their brands, the response is, more often than not, “We aren’t a consumer brand.” Therefore, they think they don’t need to worry about it or invest as much into it.
If this sounds like you, it might be time to adjust your position. Here’s why you need to think and act like a consumer brand.
1. You engage diverse audiences.
Similar to a Nike, Target, Starbucks or Pepsi, your behavioral healthcare brand must cater to distinct and varied audiences. These don’t just include patients/clients. You have to think about influencers (family and loved ones), providers, staff, government agencies, insurers, payers, donors, community organizations and more. Yes, that’s a lot. And how you engage them is directly correlated to your sustainability and success.
Your organization must effectively identify and understand each audience segment – their needs, wants, challenges and opportunities. You also need to communicate your brand position and values to resonate with each segment. Why? Because your consumers are more informed than ever before. Just like they research every other purchase in their lives, they investigate who you are and what you do. If your brand doesn’t align with their needs and values, they’ll choose another organization. And this brings us to our next point.
2. You face steep competition.
But you don’t just compete against other behavioral healthcare brands for market share. You compete for funding, referrals, talent and more. You also face increasing payer control that includes reimbursements tied to volume and outcomes.
Remember, your audiences are confronted with SO many options today. You aren’t the only organization that can serve their needs. Ultimately, they need to understand how you align with their values compared to other behavioral healthcare enterprises. Your brand needs to validate that their investment in you, whether it’s time, talent or money, is worthwhile.
3. Managed care changed the landscape.
Since the Affordable Care Act, many behavioral healthcare providers have folded or been swallowed up by larger competitors. Growth and sustainability are required for survival, which makes your brand even more important. It enhances your credibility and makes you more appealing for mergers, funding and positioning on payer lists. For instance, Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) desire partner organizations that not only offer integrated services, but also a strong patient/client experience. Especially one that drives quality outcomes.
4. Branding is everything.
Your brand is more than a logo, tagline or website. While those are essential brand components, true brand connections happen through repeated positive experiences with you. Experiences where people see and feel that you do actually deliver on your promise. Ultimately, you need to care about your brand because it is the heart of your organization – your background, mission and promise.
Everything from your visual identity and strategy to your staff and culture impact these experiences. You create a strong, lasting impression with key stakeholders when these areas align with your brand’s purpose and promise.
It’s time to invest in your brand
A healthy brand – one that sparks attachment and loyalty – doesn’t just help your bottom line. It energizes every aspect of your organization and empowers you to do a world of good for the people and communities in your care. When you win, they win.
Are you ready to take your behavioral healthcare brand to the next level? That’s what we’re here for. Connect with us today.