[Cache – #129]
Do you know what a brand is? Far too many organizations in the health care industry do not. Or at least they act as if they don’t.
Consider the example of Humber River Hospital, which – as any Torontonian who’s been within eyesight of a billboard lately knows – has a new logo, comprised of a riff on the classic “H” symbol for “hospital.”
The logo is accompanied by the hospital’s new tagline, Patient Care Reinvented, said by the institution to symbolize “the commitments we make to patients, families, community and each other, a commitment to patient centered care.” And further: “Patient Care Reinvented informs all of our daily activities…patients and visitors come through our doors with high expectations of a positive experience. Our challenge – our obligation – is to meet those expectations.”
Let me say clearly that I have absolutely no doubt that Humber River Hospital delivers outstanding care and is strongly committed to its patients. And that it is full of dedicated staff, volunteers and other stakeholders that are doing remark-able work.
Is the organization giving that impression through its branding?
Recently I went “through the doors” of Humber River Hospital by way of phoning it, fully expecting an unusually positive experience. What I encountered was squarely at odds with what the hospital promises to be its brand.
When someone phones a hospital, they expect to be connected quickly with either a human being or an automated service by which they can be connected with the object of their call. Often they are calling in an upset emotional state – to find out if a loved one has been admitted to hospital, for example, or to receive an update on the condition of a spouse, sibling, child or parent.
What they do not expect is to hear a prolonged promotional pitch – almost a full minute in length, which can seem like an absolute eternity for someone seeking information immensely important to them. Neither do they expect to be given no option to reach a patient until 42 seconds in, a timespan during which they are informed of facts including that no one is allowed to smoke in the hospital.
“Hello. This is (name here), President and CEO of Humber River Hospital. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 9-1-1. Our hospital is now 100 percent smoke free.
“Thank you for calling Humber River, now building North America’s fully digital hospital at 401 and Keele. As we look forward to the opening of our new hospital, the entire Humber River team is committed to giving our patients the care and caring they deserve, today and in the future.
“If you know the name of the employee or the department you wish to reach, please say it, or dial the extension at any time. You have reached our Church site. To reach a patient, please say ‘patient inquiry.'”
Phew. And then a further quarter-minute ensues with other dialling options.
What do you think: how well is Humber River conveying its brand story? Because what you think is all that matters. Because a brand, rather than being a logo or a tagline, is what people think of you.
BOOK: Buy the #1 Globe and Mail bestselling Brand: It Ain’t the Logo at Books for Business: http://goo.gl/vvC8uq
RADIO: interview on CBC Radio One about unhappiness with Microsoft Windows 8
TV: BNN interview re. Lance Armstrong’s brand (starts at the 3:30 mark, after the ad).