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Marketing Your Latest Healthcare Award

October 9, 2015
Healthcare Marketing, Marketing Strategy

Your hospital just won another award! Nice job! Isn’t this something that everyone in your market needs to know?

Yes, definitely! And, possibly, no.

DEFINITELY: When you’ve been recognized for excellence, internal stakeholders and potential patients need to know about it.

AND, POSSIBLY, NO: While medical excellence is understood and appreciated by everyone, not every award is.

Let’s face it, we all have far more respect for awards we’ve heard of than the ones we haven’t.  The general public has heard of the Nobel Prize, the Academy Awards and the Cannes Grand Prix. As for consumer quality ratings, everyone knows the various J.D. Power Awards. Each of these awards – regardless of its objective meanings – brings its own emotional resonance within each of us because of its longstanding fame. And a winner of one of these famous awards is consciously and subconsciously offered renewed attention and an increased level of respect.

The Coveted Akil Koci Prize

What if you were contacted by the latest winner of the Akil Koci Prize? What if he invited you to attend an Albanian classical music recital? Would you drop everything you were doing to be part of that opportunity? No? Why not? Haven’t you heard of the coveted Akil Koci Prize? It’s okay, neither have most people outside of the Albanian classical music industry. But here’s the important thing: Your stakeholders and your potential patients tend to feel the same way you do about awards they’ve never heard of.

If the public is already familiar with an award, your hospital winning one will be a pretty big deal. If they already understand exactly what goes into winning a particular award and how rare it is to receive one, this will be a very, very big deal indeed.

So What About Healthcare Industry Awards?

The problem is, the awards and recognitions that mean a lot to us in the healthcare business and that we want patients to care about – HealthGrades, 100 Top Hospitals, AHA Get with the Guidelines, The Joint Commission, etc. – patients don’t necessary care about. Do you just ignore the fact that you won them?

No, don’t ignore it. But within your communications, your award shouldn’t be the beginning of your story. We don’t suggest proclaiming to the public, “WE JUST WON A TOP HOSPITAL AWARD! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???” Especially since two minutes after patients read that, they’ll be reading about your competitor winning a similar award with a big medallion that looks just like yours. The two awards will negate each other in the consumer’s mind.

Instead, we advise beginning your messaging with the accomplishments that led to your award, something like this:

“Here in our hospital, nothing is more important than saving lives. And in this community, the greatest number of lives can be saved with superior heart care. So we’ve put deep effort into assembling the very best cardiovascular team. And that is why we were just recognized by the national organization of …”

Now you’re telling a story, one that anyone can appreciate, even if they’ve never heard of any medical award. You’ve reinforced the things you’re doing best and being recognized for. Once you’ve crossed that storytelling threshold, the name of the award isn’t all that important and neither is the organization it came from.

Here’s what each new award allows you to explain:

  • We’re very good at this specialty/procedure/service.
  • In fact we’re so good we’re getting national recognition and winning awards for it.
  • So when you’re in need, you have some of the most talented and experienced experts in the country, right here, in your neighborhood.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that REALLY what you wanted to communicate in the first place? 

Jeff Goldman

Jeff Goldman is an Associate Creative Director at Brown Parker & DeMarinis with a 20-year track record of success covering most aspects of business communications, driving sales and consistently winning an array of coveted industry awards for clients as diverse as healthcare providers, tech properties and leading beer brands. He has worked all over North America as a writer, a creative director and as a principle in his own marketing agency for brands such as AOL, Exxon Chemical, Goodyear, Jiffy Lube, KFC, LexisNexis, Microsoft, Miller Lite, Northern Arizona Healthcare, the Seton Healthcare Family, Southwest Airlines, Taco Bell, the Walt Disney Company and many more.

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