Why is it, for most hospital marketing, that the original, brave ideas do not make it out of the client presentation alive? It seems a bit ironic that the idea death rate is so high in this industry.
Being safe is a natural characteristic for a healthcare company, maybe it just feels right to do the expected? Or maybe average ideas are a product of trying to please too many people on the client side? We’re told by the marketing director that all the key people need to review the campaign and give feedback. Unfortunately, along with leadership, everyone includes: 15 physicians, the entire healthy hearts club, and Buster – the volunteer who has been at the hospital for over 50 years.
You know, maybe I’m shining the light on the wrong side and the real issue is what advertising agencies are putting in front of their healthcare clients. We’re not selling originality. Instead we’re taking the safe route by falling back on the easy-to-sell solution — hero shots of doctors with emotional music supporting a tired voice over with terms like “advanced technology” and “leading physicians”. I’ve written these words, often. So, I stand guilty as charged. There seems to be this agreement between hospitals and advertising agencies to not push too hard from either end. Looking as good as the competition has become acceptable, even appreciated. But, the truth is, the work done and investment made to create a “looks like most other hospitals” campaign is a disservice to clients. And for creatives, it’s a depressing waste of our time and talents. You hit the local bar for the wrong reasons after the completion of these campaigns.
What works in marketing is identifying a leadership positioning the product can own. Through this, you declare what the product/company does best and what separates it from its competition. By owning and embracing this, the client builds equity in its brand differentiation. And a meaningful tipping point is formed in consumers’ minds why they should select this product/company over another. If we follow this process for hospitals, our ideas focus in an area that forces the messaging and execution to be unique. Maybe with strategic and brand position buy in, we can get our hospital account to cuddle and care for that brave idea that reflects the facilities leadership position and it will grow into a healthy engaging campaign effort that people admire and appreciate.
Here are a few of my favorite healthcare campaigns we have done recently at EXIT.