During the recent Wisconsin Healthcare PR and Marketing Society (WHPRMS) webinar, “Inspiration Interception: Brand Lessons from the Super Bowl,” we discussed three “truths” from the country’s splashiest ad season that can be applied to healthcare marketing.
1. Be real time
Strive for advertising that takes into account the moment we’re in (job loss, real estate decline, rising gas prices), and how people’s lives are being impacted – in order to create branding that is relevant and impactful.
2. Know your audience
Even by just using sweat equity, you can learn more about your audience – their lives, values, aspirations, and struggles – and create campaigns that connect with them on a deep level. Try informal groups, hanging out in the waiting room, even going to a competitor’s ER and sitting/observing.
3. Connect a bigger truth
We’re in the business of life and death, and our branding should reflect that. We should strive to connect our hospitals with a larger story, which is ultimately more meaningful to our audience.
One participant asked which would be the most important “truth,” given the reality of limited marketing budgets.
That’s tough. Each one could resonate more strongly than another, given your specific market influences, audiences and conditions.
All things being equal, Real Time might seem to have the edge – as we discussed. There’s a reason Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” spot remains one of the most memorable and discussed as from this year’s big game.
But maybe the real answer isn’t just one answer. The GE “Stories: Healthcare” spot shows the Bigger Truth of connecting to something more important than the feature of an imaging machine – but it also blends in a Real Time idea (that in a tough economy, seeing that your good work matters can be powerful.)
The idea of Maturialism also underpins our second “truth”: know your audience and talk up to them.
We also reviewed three different brainstorming exercises, such as This or That, Picture Comparison, and finding Linear and Non-Linear parallels. Chrysler chose to do a unique length (two minutes), subject and timing (halftime).
Steward Healthcare in Massachusetts launched a brand campaign with a regional buy during the 2011 Super Bowl and they plan a similar buy during this year’s Summer Olympics.
Some say we’re experiencing an “era of disruption” in healthcare. How can we challenge our thinking or challenge the way we’ve been doing things? What might you do next to push your hospital’s brands forward?
If you need a little more inspiration, look for lessons from these leading brands.