5 Ways To Optimize Your
IDD Company Brand
What is your IDD company brand? If your answer begins with ‘Ummm….…….’ read on. Whether you’re aware of it or not; whether you think it’s a big deal or not; whether you actively manage it or not – your company has a brand and optimizing it can go a long way to increasing consumer numbers and ultimately growing your business.
Put simply, an IDD service provider’s “brand” is what your prospective client thinks of when he or she hears your company name. All of us should be able to describe what we want our clients to think when they hear our company name in 1-2 sentences. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your company offerings—both factual (e.g. Coca-Cola the refreshing carbonated drink), and emotional (e.g. relaxation and good times) or Apple computers – good-looking and reliable electronics (factual) for the electronic connoisseur (emotional). Your company name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.
With consumer and consumer advocates now having easy online access to provider audit results, citations and license revocations as well as social media making it almost too easy for clients to go viral with negative or positive posts about interactions with your company; the need for brand management amongst IDD service providers has never been greater! Let’s review 5 easy (and mostly free!) ways you can take control of your IDD company brand today.
So many IDD service providers are all appear the same. This means in the minds of consumer advocates and other decision makers when it comes to choosing a provider they might as well just close their eyes and pick any one at random. The goal is NOT to present yourself as just any old provider; your company needs to differentiate itself from the competition. Find out what the competition offers or looks like in its website, residential locations etc and ask yourself how it might be different while still serving the needs of the consumers. Establishing a brand that is authentic, reliable, enduring, communicates value and is in keeping with your company mission is key.
At the end of the day, the goal of positioning is to create a unique impression in your customer’s mind that sets your brand apart. Of course, to accomplish this, first you have to define what makes your brand unique. This requires consensus among key stakeholders on things like your brand category, target customer, competitive advantage, and brand promise. Authentic answers (see our blog on integrity) to each of these questions lead to genuine differentiation.
One of the most obvious ways to make your healthcare brand stand out is by refreshing your corporate identity. Most special needs service companies have seriously lackluster identities and some providers think a humdrum appearance is the image any serious and self-respecting healthcare entity should project. This belief is a holdover from previous eras and is no longer tenable.
Think about refreshing your visual identity and consider how to work in the essential company mission and values into a meaningful image representative of company beliefs eg the Mercedes-Benz logo represents it’s drive toward universal motorization with its engines dominating the land, sea, and air (three points). Nike’s “swoosh,” is emblematic of the winged goddess of victory and all the swift and triumphant values she represents. By utilizing symbols to convey positioning, your identity is the most immediate way you have of expressing your brand’s distinctiveness.
Your visual identity tells your customers why you are different from your competition.
Your brand is your public identity, what you’re trusted for. And for your brand to endure, it has to be tested, redefined, managed, and expanded as markets evolve. Brands either learn or disappear. – Lisa Gansky
Make sure your website and social media vehicles are fresh. This will take some commitment on your part but it is well worth it. Make sure any content is compelling, engaging, and, most of all, useful. Be careful you don’t run afoul of HIPAA laws but consumer stories are always engaging and sometimes inspiring. Or take the easy route and let Focused Software do all the work for you! Just add a link on your company website that points all of your visitors to the fresh, useful and educational Focused Blog page! We always have something new – no need for you to post new blogs when we will do it for you. It’s hard to overstate the importance and power of content when it comes to healthcare branding and if you can work in some humor all the better because when done right humor is always a winner (see this hilarious ad from UnitedHealthcare).
Healthcare, is the second most-searched-for service online. The provision of some healthcare knowledge is therefore one of the most valuable ways an IDD company can engage with its audience and improve consumer and consumer advocate engagement. It starts with a clean, user and mobile friendly website that’s a dynamic embodiment of your brand.
You might want to consider investing in a social medial presence eg FaceBook and LinkedIn. However this can be time consuming and you must commit to keeping it up to date otherwise this can end up being counter-productive. Digital marketing is arguably the most powerful way to increase brand awareness and foster brand loyalty amongst your customer base.
Consumer (and consumer advocate) satisfaction as well as value-based metrics mean that the ultimate judges of your brand’s success will be those you serve. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure your brand is aligned with your customers’ needs and expectations (not just fulfilling state audit requirements). It is also crucial that your brand is consistently and authentically transmitted across your organization from the smiles on your employees’ faces to the user-friendliness of your website’s interface. Strive to have all of your staff be intimately familiar with the company’s brand (that means you have to be absolutely clear on what it is). This also means everyone should watch for, openly recognize and encourage good staff behavior (and swiftly reprimand staff behavior inconsistent with the company brand). An authentic and inspiring culture drives employees to serve as brand ambassadors, and better equips them to handle customer concerns and complaints.
The best way to gauge your brand’s performance vis-à-vis customer experience is with customer research. As IDD service providers you can use state required tools like the Consumer Advocate Committee Review as a source of actionable information. Insight gained can really help ensure your brand is standing out—and doing so in the right way.
Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice, and then communicate consistently in those terms.
– Simon Mainwaring
We hope this article has helped you understand exactly what a brand is and how to take control your IDD company’s brand narrative. Another way to improve your IDD company’s brand presence is to use efficient and mobile friendly tech tools such as Focused Software. Our EHR not only brings practical value/benefits to your organization and saves you money it presents your company as efficient, modern, informed, focused on quality and ready for the future. Having an easy to use mobile friendly EHR can change the way your consumers, their advocates and even regulatory agents eg auditors feel about (and therefore treat) your company.