Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hospitals care about brand building too

Branding initiatives in the healthcare industry are getting an emphasis they’ve never had before. So, you have pamphlets on preventive healthcare from the neighborhood clinic, advertisements of a new facility at a big hospital in the city, and health tips on radio sponsored by another hospital. Health care providers are are going all out to make sure their respective brands stay in people’s minds by doing sponsored events, banners and audio-visual ads.


"Brand conveys trust and that is more important in this industry than in any other", says Ratan Jalan. “Research has shown that in healthcare, the customer has a limited rational framework in decision making. In this context, a brand becomes important.” Hospitals take a wide range of channels to highlight the brand — sponsoring events for the medical fraternity, continuous medical education programmes, medical camps, awareness seminars in colleges, literature on specific ailments, and the reminder media.


Manipal Health System MD R Basil says: “Our external branding is directed at specific groups — doctors, corporate houses, insurance companies, students and general public. We conduct continuous medical education programmes on the latest in each speciality and what the hospital is doing in that field. We also use the reminder media like radio and traffic canopies to remind people about help numbers.”


Manipal Hospital has earmarked about Rs 1.5 crore for its external brand development activities for the current financial year, Mr Basil says. It has also laid much emphasis on internal branding efforts. “A hospital’s brand is built from the point of view of a patient or his relatives and visitors walk into the hospital interacts with any staff member,” Mr Basil adds. The hospital, thus, has in place “patient care coordinators” and gives out education material on common diseases to patients.


With a budget of Rs 6 crore for mass media promotions, Apollo Hospitals carries out campaigns through the print, radio and TV media on preventive healthcare, Mr Jalan says. “We have not been very aggressive in the conventional mass media advertising.

But we do have commercials promoting preventive health care, and to advertise technological breakthroughs or a new facility at the hospital,” he says. For Wockhardt, promotions are not done on an on-going basis but are event-based, Wockhardt Hospitals CEO Vishal Bali says. “In Bangalore, when we made the transition from cardiology to other specialties, we had a large campaign that was very effective. The objective is to let the consumer know what is available,” he says.


Delhi-based Max Healthcare conducts doctor-driven customer meeting events and has in the market a pre-paid health check-up package, which together give mileage to the brand name, Max Healthcare director, sales & marketing, Sanjay Rai says.


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/223373.cms

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