Monday, May 31, 2010

Branding of a Maternity Hospital

A maternity hospital as the word defines is a place that provides care for women during pregnancy and childbirth and for newborn infants. Maternity hospitals are usually run & managed by gynecologists.
A lady mostly consults when she first takes pregnancy urine test and it shows a positive result. The lady usually meets her gynecologist after a period of 30 days or less depending on the criticality of the pregnancy.
These nine months can be an important branding exercise for a brand manager of a pharma company or companies marketing products for children between one to two years.
Let’s analyze, how a brand manager can translate this opportunity.
  • The number of visits of the pregnant lady 12 and waiting time 15 min, which a/c's to 180 minutes to focused viewer ship for any brand. Most often the lady is accompanied by her husband of a relative, so double the viewer ship.
o These companies can distribute reading material, with co-branding
o A TV screen can be displayed in the waiting room, and visual education material can be shown, like yoga exercises during pregnancy, diet to be followed, interview of the gynecologist, etc
  • Maternity hospitals are usually branded on the lines of hospital, but most fail to understand that the lady is not suffering from any diseases, its just a new phase in there life, her transformation to motherhood. So the hospital set-up should change. The lady should feel at home, decorate it as a place where she is feels more at home
  • Give or suggest books to read, coz their are many things she wont know. The companies targeting would be mothers should publish informative books for these ladies.
  • Suggest some instrumental music she should hear which will help in the development of the foetus. There are studies to indicate that you can teach you child in the womb itself.
  • The first consultation is first impression; give her accessories with the maternity home branding e.g. "Admit me to Ankur hospital in case of emergency". This will be a good branding initiative for the maternity home. The accessories can be t-shirts, teddy bears, etc.
  • Conduct pregnancy classes for would be mothers as they are going through lot of changes like psychological, hormonal, diet, etc. These classes can address their queries and also teach them yoga & exercises, which are very important. Though we will find maternity hospitals in each and every corner, but hardly any gynecologist is interested to run such classes.
  • Post delivery have the room decorated with balloons, this will create a moment of joy, so she will forget the pain of delivery. Also a lot of relatives visit the family after delivery, have a small flower boutique next to the hospital as they can buy flowers for the lady.
  • Post delivery the clothes of mother and child, should be branded on the lines of the maternity home colours and logo. This will have a good brand recall.
These are some of the branding exercises which can be undertaken by a maternity home, one example which I can think of is about Cradle in Bangalore.
If Branding and PR strategy is done properly the maternity home will reap huge benefits.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Why should doctors market themselves?

This is what we say most often as they get references through word-of-mouth publicity.

But only doctor understands the reason behind it. After completing specializing most of the doctors attach themselves to various different hospitals as consultants and start their own clinic. The doctors believe this is the only route they can reach out to patients and market themselves. Well I am afraid as this is just one route of strategy!

There are many other ways of marketing and promoting their own brand and services, here I have tried listing a few which could help:
  1. Peer-to-peer marketing: It is very important for a doctor to inform the GPs and hospitals about services offered. This is from where most recommendations will happen. A doctor’s recommendation is worth more than patients references.

  2. Patients follow-up: Most of the doctors hardly follow-up with their patients well being or enquiring about follow-up visits. Also the charges of follow-up visits should be revised, like doctor charging Rs. 200 on first visit should charge Rs. 20 for follow-up visit and these patients should have different appointment schedule. The doctor can also send a get well card to the patient.

  3. Delivery of medicines: The doctor should tie-up with nearest medical store for delivery of medicines. This will ensure that medicines reach the patients and a service the patients will cherish. This will also benefit the pharma store.

  4. Suggesting medicines: Lot of patients hate taking medicines, the doctor can discuss with the patients and recommend only those medicines which are required. This will also ensure that patients will take the dosage.
There are many ways which can help the medical practitioners to market themselves, but most important is they should be compassionate and humble towards their patients.