There was as time not so long ago when most company could generate sufficient brand awareness through a simple television or print ad campaign. Those days, of course, are long gone.
Now companies need to navigate a complex world of print advertising, social media, heightened customer service demands thanks to sites like Yelp, digital marketing—and the list goes on. This challenge is even more acute for health plan providers who must effectively show that their brand can be trusted.
Therefore, how can health plan providers increase their brand awareness while not breaking the bank or over-saturating the market? Here are some tips.
Revisit your logo. Is it outdated? Does it speak to a different target audience? Customers will likely be exposed to your brand through your logo first, so get this one right.
Keep things consistent. Once you've agreed on the logo, keep your logo, catchphrases, colors, and images consistent across marketing materials, your web site, and social channels.
Provide excellent customer service. Customers shopping for health plans want two things. One, to be able to quickly talk to an experienced associate, and two, to be able to purchase a plan within minimal friction and confusion. Satisfied customers will naturally be inclined to recommend your firm to their friends. This, of course, is good for the brand!
Position yourself as an expert. One of the key tenets of inbound marketing is to use content to exude expertise, rather than to overtly sell a product or service. This mandate is even more important in the field of health care, where customers are understandably turned off by in-your-face sales tactics. When your content and social media presence reflects expertise on things like wellness and navigating the health care system, customers will associate your brand with trustworthiness and experience.
Segment your target audience. Another principle of inbound marketing states that different types of content can be sent to leads based on their position in the customer purchasing funnel. After all, a high-quality lead clearly understands your brand more than a first-time web visitor. Therefore make sure your branding and messaging is targeted based on how, when, and where leads and prospects interact with your brand.
Tell a story. We can't think of any other industry that's more attuned to the importance of putting a "human face" on a product than health care. Better yet, the rollout of the ACA provides countless examples of previously uninsured Americans getting insurance for the first time.
Learn from the leaders. According to recent research, social media is still one of the most underutilized methods for generating brand awareness in the health care field. For example, MIT Sloan Management polled health care executives in 2012 and found that only 54% of respondents found social media to be "important." While the statistic may be outdated, it suggests to us that as recently as 2012 barely half of respondents thought social media was important. That number should have been far higher! The Mayo Clinic in particular has emerged as a nationally-recognized leader in using social media to generate brand awareness, and we suggest you check out their work here.
What do you think? How often does your firm revisit your brand? What are other effective strategies for generating brand awareness?