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From the Heart, to the Heart

By Kelly Farrell | October 31, 2017


Brands that market from the heart will create strong, enduring bonds. I have seen it work.

It has been over a week, but I am still feeding off the energy from the Admissions & Marketing Symposium in Los Angeles. My first-ever west coast presentation went well. It won’t be my last!

I was challenged by conference founder, Nanette Zumwalt, to teach people working in Admissions and Marketing for addiction treatment and behavioral health organizations how to activate their brands in daily interactions.

Admissions and Marketing: a new audience for me.

Usually I present to C-level executives about the importance of healthy branding and its impact on revenues. I tell them:

  • Identify what makes you special
  • Plant a stake in that ground
  • Make a promise you can keep
  • Share that narrative consistently, inside and out

I also explain the importance of culture and staff alignment with the brand. After all, Admissions and Marketing staff usually deliver that first brand interaction. And initial brand interactions are critical to forming brand affiliations in your audience. The first brand experience is critical.

Healthy branding can shine in every interaction.

Today there is no excuse for not helping your brand to shine in every audience interaction. For my M&A audience in L.A., I explained what healthy branding is, why it matters, and shared examples of healthy brands – just like I do with my CEOs. Then I shared key aspects of sharing brand, including:

  • Branding is everything (vision, mission, people, culture, values, prices, etc.)
  • Your organization is positioned, whether intended or not
  • Identify what your organization stands for & what makes it special
  • Know your audience
  • Know what your services/products do for your audience
  • First impressions are where bonds are formed
  • How you enter a room, answer a phone, introduce yourself, hand someone a business card, matters
  • Sharing your emotional connection to your brand can make all the difference

That last one might be my favorite. I’m very emotionally invested in the work we do, and who we do it for. So I like to finish with this quote from Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks:

“…the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart…”

When Admissions and Marketing teams fully embrace this, they’ll bring added life, and success, to their brands.

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Kelly Farrell

Kelly has a unique talent for uncovering what's special about her clients. It’s her specialty, and the heart of how designRoom approaches branding.Kelly learned design and branding while working in advertising as an Art Director, Designer, and Account Representative for several national/regional brands; Cellular One/Ohio, Northfield Park, National City Bank, and Mr. Hero. Her future, however, included a more passionate approach to the work and more direct engagement with her clients.In 1990 designRoom was born. One room. One designer. And lots of room to grow.Today, under Kelly’s leadership, designRoom is a national, award-winning branding and design firm. With her innate ability to see the right solution and her passion for helping clients reach their goals, Kelly is a fierce brand advocate for behavioral health organizations across the U.S.Her unique approach makes her a sought after national speaker on the importance of branding in behavioral health. Kelly focuses on how branding can unify an organization internally, amplify their unique market position, and help them move in a positive, sustainable direction.

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