4 healthcare marketing must-do's for hospital CEOs

Hospitals looking to strengthen and differentiate their brands should start at the top. As with almost all successful healthcare brands, the CEO understands and supports the hospital's marketing goals, according to a new report published by Smith & Jones, a healthcare advertising and brand strategy firm.

To ensure an effective marketing strategy, the report recommends hospital CEOs:

Understand the hospital's competitive position. Hospital leadership must know what unique benefits and services the organization provides to patients that make it stand out from competitors. For instance, some hospitals are trying similar methods to brand their facilities. Their strategy is to focus on the benefit of the hospital (e.g., we help you live longer) versus the features that they have (e.g., great technology, world-class physicians) that all other hospitals claim to have too.

Explain the mission statement to stakeholders. Hospitals need to have a chief executive that can clearly communicate the hospital's core values to stakeholders--whether as part of a 15-second elevator speech or a 30-minute presentation, according to a Smith & Jones website post. Furthermore, the CEO should include the hospital brand story in daily conversations with board members and managers, as well as at public functions.

Collaborate with counselors, managers and staff. With every level of the staff looking to the CEO for direction, hospital leadership can guide employees to understand and believe in the hospital's core values. Through the top-down approach, employees effectively will implement the hospital's mission and deliver the desired customer experience.

Share marketing responsibility. While CEOs should remain active participants, they must not dominate the hospital's marketing and branding efforts. A flexible CEO knows to rely on others. "Understand that a CEO can be a brand steward without becoming the brand spokesperson," according to Smith & Jones.

For more information:
- read the press release
- read the Smith & Jones post