By Marsha Hystead
Internal communication is an undervalued, but incredibly powerful way to ensure marketing effectiveness. In the February issue of Healthcare Marketing Advisor, a marketing newsletter from HealthLeaders Media, H.T. Klatzky offered some advice on igniting the healthcare brand internally. Here are some strategies and tips for you to consider:
Physicians, caregivers and staff are the critical interface with patients and they wield great influence on your brand. Attempting to deliver an external marketing strategy not yet aligned with internal beliefs about the organization can be disastrous. An effective internal communication program works to bridge the gap, building loyalty and ensuring everyone is on the same page before shouting your message from the rooftops.
If you have attempted to gain internal support for your marketing efforts, but encounter resistance from physicians, caregivers and staff then its time to do a Bigger Than Branding check. Healthcare has a higher purpose. To your employees and physicians, it’s a calling. It’s not merely a job. A well-intentioned internal marketing effort can fall flat when caregivers feel they are being “sold to” or sense profit is more important than purpose.
Here are some tips for generating internal communications that are Bigger Than Branding:
- Engage in active listening at all levels of your organization
- Motivate employees, leadership, physicians and stakeholders by building your identity around a higher purpose
- Involve employees and providers in your mission and story
- Make the message personal
- Foster collaboration for internal communication efforts among leadership, human resources, marketing and various departments and stakeholders
- Build excitement around your organizational purpose
- Motivate resistant groups–don’t “sell” to them
- Empower already engaged groups to become brand ambassadors
- Integrate internal and external communications
- Establish ongoing processes and measurements for internal marketing success
Internal marketing programs that are meaningful, engaging and honest will build excitement and create a movement for change–allowing your external marketing to generate a greater return on investment.
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