What's the story? Branding Hurley Medical Center

Guest post by Andrea J. Simon, Ph.D., former marketing, branding and culture change senior vp at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich. 

I have had several requests to share my experiences as interim senior vice president of branding, marketing, physician services at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich., from 2008-2009, and again from 2010-2012. To help you in your own efforts to brand, market and build your organization, I've segmented the story into four blog posts, each with a specific focus.

This post explains how you find the key essence of an institution and turn it into a real advantage--that brand story that answers the question "Why You." The next two posts focus on online experiences to build the brand story in an inbound marketing world. And the fourth installment is about physician services.

Hurley's then-CEO Patrick Wardell and I had worked together earlier in our careers. He was then leading efforts at Hurley to reverse its financial losses. But he needed a hand.

In a saturated market, Hurley and its two other hospital competitors were going in different directions: Genesys Health System was a member of the Ascension Health System and McLaren Health Care had its own healthcare system. Hurley was a standalone safety-net hospital. Each hospital had a similar number of admissions but a decidedly different payer mix. The commercially insured went to the other two hospitals and the uninsured and Medicaid went to Hurley. That was its role, more or less.

The challenge was how to grow the hospital with a better mix of payers and patients that could sustain it as the healthcare environment and the demographics shifted.

Read the full commentary at Hospital Impact