Never underestimate the power of narrative in healthcare marketing and branding. No matter the medium, storytelling is still one of the best ways to meaningfully connect with audiences. People love stories. It’s how we’ve communicated with each other for thousands of years.
What is your organization’s story? Do your associates know it? Does your CEO tell the story in a compelling way?
At SHSMD 2012, the Mayo Clinic’s Amy Davis (Division Chair, Brand Management & Business Marketing) and Laurie Wilshusen (Marketing Director) shared how to keep healthcare brands relevant through social media, and the role stories play in keeping their communications engaging. They even make sure storytelling plays a fundamental role in their media training for senior executives.
Mayo understands that healthcare is full of stories. Drama is inherent in our industry — healthcare is the business of life and death, after all.
When we think of an organization’s story, we’re not talking about chronological timelines. Very few people care about the history of your organization (unless, of course, you wrap that history in a compelling story). Take your healthcare organization’s current initiatives and map them thematically to universal story lines like:
- David and Goliath (your brand and your competition)
- Stranger in a strange land (delivering exceptional healthcare in the age of reform)
Ask yourself the following: Where is your organization going? How do you plan to get there? Who are the characters? What challenges have you overcome? Did you have to change course? Where are you on this journey?
Consider your story in three acts:
- Craft the beginning to emphasize the problem
- Shape the middle around the struggle to address the problem
- End with a resolution that ignites the listener with your call-to-action
Don’t forget to train your teammates to tell the story. Your audience will listen, whether it’s a blog post, tweet chat or in a patient room with a nurse as the storyteller. Who knows? Your audience might even share a story of their own– about how much they love your brand.
Inspiration for this post came from our friends at Mayo, plus a really great book that’s been shared around the Franklin Street campus, Tell to Win by Peter Guber.