Important tips for healthcare branding and marketing in the midst of M&A’s
Hospital merger and acquisition activity remains robust. In 2012, the number of deals was more than twice that of 2009 (Irving Levin Associates).
Readying For M&A
Regardless of the reasons for the transaction, being able to position the new healthcare organization for success, attract and retain patients and create a new growth trajectory requires coordinating the three related activities of Brand, Buy-In & Marketing.
Without this brand marketing planning and oversight, hospitals and healthcare systems in the midst of transitioning through a merger or acquisition (regardless of which side of the M&A an organization is on) will encounter:
- a healthcare brand that struggles to support the newly-formed organization’s vision, promises, values and goals
- lack of internal employee engagement that must be relied on to deliver unified marketing messages and customer experiences
- external marketing promises that aren’t synchronized with delivery of patient care
- inefficiencies resulting in sub-optimal return on marketing investment
At Trajectory, we’ve guided many healthcare organizations through these healthcare transitions. And we understand the unique challenges they face. Here’s a checklist of ten activities to consider as your healthcare systems, hospitals and physician groups transition from pre-merger competitors to post-merger partners:
1. M&A brand team
Created across your organization’s to proactively act on and communicate leadership decisions and to navigate the range of tangibles and intangibles on the table, e.g. logistics, preparation, training.
2. Brand compatibility
Short-term financial and market share strength will not overcome the need to develop foundational branding strategies – singular brand vision, brand story, brand positioning, brand personality, core values, brand value proposition and key messaging framework.
3. Portfolio efficiency
How will the merger or acquisition impact your brand portfolio and brand architecture in terms of overlapping organizational, facility and service line capabilities? You can check here to begin to determine if your portfolio is delivering maximum ROI.
4. Cultural fit
What’s the process of integrating medical staff and employees, across all functions, and all initiatives, on both sides of the M&A table. And whose brand culture leads?
5. Open communication
Have you established feedback mechanisms (both offline and online) for both internal and external audiences to share their perspectives about the impact the M&A will have on them personally.
6. Engagement & Alignment
Are your organization’s really on the same page in regard to both tangibles and intangibles? You don’t know, and can’t act upon, until you measure.
7. Marketing philosophy and approach
Is marketing considered an investment or expense inside the organization? Does marketing spend tend to be brand or service line-driven? How will you align your two organizations relative to each one’s key revenue generating, strategic and mission-driven service lines?
8. Healthcare social media practices
It’s not likely that each of your organization’s have the exact same philosophy, goals, strategies and tactics as it relates to your healthcare social media. How will you best harness the power of your “social currency”, i.e. the value you’ve created and the conversations, communities and advocacy you’ve worked so hard to cultivate?
9. Local community commitment
Do your organizations have the same commitment to patient engagement within your local communities; does a bigger organization now mean less touch in order to serve the health needs of the larger region?
10. From follower to leader
How will you adjust your approach from being the #2 or #3 player to becoming a stronger market share leader?
Have you experienced these issues as a healthcare marketer in the midst of a merger or acquisition? Reach out to Trajectory for a no-obligation consultation.