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Stand by Your Brand

Three simple questions to help you determine your unique brand and stand out in senior healthcare.

Recently, I spoke at one of Bild & Company’s annual client meetings in Nashville on the topic of branding. Their team came up with the very creative theme, of “Stand by your Brand,” which is not only a clever take on Tammy Wynette’s famous ballad, but it’s also a great reminder of the importance in creating and supporting your unique image in the marketplace. First, let’s think about what branding really means. I define a brand as the soul of your company– what you stand for, what you offer and what promises you deliver on. It’s more than a fancy 2.0 logo, snazzy tagline or website. It’s that gut feeling a person gets when they see and hear about you. Most importantly, a brand has to be believable and trustworthy.

As experts in the senior caregiving sector, it’s easy to fall into saying the same thing as everyone else, “We offer high quality care. Our caregivers are very dedicated. We treat residents like family.” Sure you do. Who wouldn’t say that? But branding is about delving deeper and finding your own hook, your unique selling point that sets you apart from the competition.

Here’s an example of the difference. You could have a tagline that says, “High quality care from Westhampton Care Center.” Or create a message that actually evokes a real connection and promise for the adult child seeking care for their loved one: “Westhampton Care Center. We care like you care.” Imagine the feeling that prospect would get when hearing the promise to take care of a loved one like they would. This says you truly understand. It says you empathize with their fears and their need for trusted caregiving and peace of mind. The right words and emotional positioning are meant to have a strong effect on your target audience– you want them to be curious, learn more and contact you.

The key to finding your brand difference is focusing on three seemingly simple questions. In fact, try answering them in 2-3 word sentences.

WHO ARE YOU?

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU DO BEST?

WHY SHOULD YOUR AUDIENCE CARE?

Not that easy huh? But then again, that’s the job of a branding specialist like me to take these key thoughts and produce compelling marketing. Once you find your unique positioning, like the song goes, you’ll need to really stand by your brand. This starts by sharing your brand vision with your team on a corporate and community level. It means rallying your troops and inspiring them to live up to your brand promise. If you’re touting that you have the best amenities in the business, then when a lead comes in to take a tour and have lunch, you might want to find out that person’s favorite entree and have it ready, hot and steamy. That’s living up to a brand promise. When FedEx claimed in their tagline “When it absolutely, positively has to be there,” the company made darn sure those packages made it on time, bows intact.

One more thing to remember is that you don’t have to be a global company spending millions of dollars on advertising to have a great brand. Banks, athletic companies, mom and pop pizza shops, and yes even senior healthcare organizations can rock the branding world. Just be honest with yourself as a company, with your employees and with your customers. And when you make a brand promise, you simply have to keep it and never stand down.

 

Written by: Jennifer Ruyle, Chief Branding Officer at Bild & Company.

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