"Steady brand investment is rewarded by lasting competitiveness." This quote from the UK Design Council sums it up perfectly. If you treat your brand as an asset and constantly invest in its creation, promotion, evolution and management it will pay off in terms of your success. This post is part of a series discussing 10 web marketing tips your healthcare staffing agency should do right now.
3. Branding and Rebranding for Your Healthcare Staffing Agency. As a healthcare staffing agency, your brand is the represenation of all your company stands for. Developing and promoting your company brand is not simply the job of the marketing team, it must be an integrated component of all your business practices.
What is a brand? A brand is more than a logo or a trademark. It's more than a slogan, sales pitch or mission statement. A brand is an identification or a representation. It can even be as intangible as a feeling, understanding or an association.
Identify your brand. To identify your brand, the best thing to do is to first analyze and understand your business. Make sure that whatever you're delivering is of the best quality it can be. Nothing destroys your brand faster than having a reputation of not delivering on the promise of your products or services.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What is it you deliver and how do you deliver it?
- What is the core audeince for your product or service? Be as specific as possible here. For example, “healthcare systems” is not a target audience. “Primary care hospitals, with 500 – 1,500 beds, that spend more than $5,000,000/year on allied healthcare staff, in urban areas, of the southwest” is getting closer.
- What is the value and overall benefits of your product or service to this audience?
- What message are you trying to send and what message will resonate most with this audience?
- What is the “voice” with which you want to communicate this message. Is it professional? Fun? Experienced? Laid back?
- What is the one thing you want people to think of when they interact with your brand? Quality? Professionalism? Great customer service?
- What makes your company stand out from your competition?
- What are your company values and what benefits do you bring to the market?
Every brand is unique. The point of branding is to identify your company's uniqueness and promote it in an effort to distinguish you from your competition. Every good brand contains the elements numbered below. Refer to this list as you develop a brand from the ground up, or measure your existing brand against them.
Your brand must first be appropriate to your market, audience and product and should actually communicate who your audience is. For example, Apple is a great brand, but if you’re marketing to hospitals and healthcare professionals, you wouldn't want to necessarily emulate Apple. You need something more specific to your audience.
What is the message? From the logo to the slogan, to the collateral, are you instantly conveying the right message to the right audience? It’s easy enough to test. Show different variations of your marketing assets (ads, brochures, business cards, logo) to people you don’t know. Can they easily identify your target audience? Can they clearly describe the message you’re trying to promote?
A brand’s promise can be intangible but can also be the most powerful component of the brand. Your brand's promise must be meaningful to its audience. Brand promises are almost always unspoken, although they can be part of the slogan or actual logo. They can also be more about the actual delivery or performance of your product or service.
If your company image and reputation is primarily based on highly skilled and qualified nurses, you must consistently deliver on that promise. If your clients experience with your brand doesn't match their expectation, the value of your brand will be negatively effected. The trust and loyalty of your customers will decline and quickly turn into an issue that is difficult, if not impossible to fix.
The key is to get the promise of your brand firmly planted in the back of your customers mind. When a brand consistently delivers on its promise and provides a good customer experience, the return it brings in references, recommendations and testimonials can be invaluable.
Again, branding is more than a marketing function. Promoting a good brand is an integrated business practice who’s responsibility lies with the entire company. Therefore, once you have created your message it’s critical that this message doesn’t change and is clearly and consistently communicated in all of your efforts.
We’ve worked with several companies that, in the past, had multiple groups working separately on their branding and messaging. Their print designers weren’t talking with their web group and the PR department wasn’t talking to anyone. These efforts resulted in several mistakes, wasted money and an overall poor brand experience for their customers that was hurting their company. Consistency is key.
5. Easy to Identify
Once you have your message in place and your entire company onboard with consistently communicating that message, it’s time to figure out how to get your message out to the public. There are a lot of distractions in every industry today and getting people to hear your message can be a difficult challenge.
That's why, in addition to consistency, patience is also key here. Not necessarily patience in terms of seeing positive returns, but being patient enough to let the message filter out into and resonate with the public without modifying or changing it.
A great way to ensure this is to develop a communication strategy and stick with it. Create your message and then promote that message consistently with press releases, social media channels, web and print ads, and email marketing campaigns. Give these channels enough time to work. A good campaign should be promoted for at least a full business quarter.
6. Calls to Action
How can your customers and healthcare staff relate to your message? Why should they care and what is it they should do? A great message is only half of the challenge. The end goal of building and promoting a good brand is to create action with your customers. Many companies forgot this critical step. Basically, don’t forget to ask for the sale. A call to action should be inherent in your brand’s message: "We have the best nurses at the best rates so work with us.” Or, "You can trust us because we've been in the staffing industry for 30 years (so work with us often and more than any of our competitors)."
If you're just now building a brand for your company or a new product or service offering, hopefully you will find this information helpful. In addition, if you've failed to succesfully invest in your brand over the years you might want to consider rebranding. Many people we talk to think rebranding is risky. It certainly is if you don't do it right but no more risky than not steadily investing in your existing brand. In addition, if the largest healthcare staffing agency in the nation (AMN) can rebrad – so can you. Right now is actually an excellent time to rebrand your staffing agency and present your company in a new way.
All of this might seem like a big effort and perhaps a bit difficult to get under control. However, developing a successful brand for your healthcare staffing agency can be accomplished quickly and easily with the right team.
If you determine that you need a new brand developed or to take on a rebranding effort, start with the information provided in this post. Once you have answers to your questions and your goals in mind decide if this project is best run internally or sent to a professional branding company that will let you keep focused on your day to day business efforts. If the latter, Staffing Robot can help. Contact us if you have questions or would like a free estimate for your healthcare staffing agency's branding effort.
Next post – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Tips for Your Healthcare Staffing Company
With all the changes search engines continue to make, it's critical you stay up to date in order to keep ranking high for your targeted key words. In the next post of this series we'll discuss the advantages of implementing an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign. The more effort you put into your SEO campaigns the more you'll move past your competition in this area.