A recent Gallup poll found that 45 percent of U.S. adults have a “negative” view of the healthcare industry. In fact, just 39 percent of the 1,011 adults surveyed reported have a “positive” view of the industry. Obviously, this is a big picture view, but it might be an indicator of overall consumer trust.
Brand trust is important for all industries, however, in healthcare, trust is more personal. As Josh McQueen, long-time Leo Burnett Agency EVP, wrote in his book Building Brand Trust: Discovering the Advertising Insights Behind Great Brands, “Brands that build trust build resilience and can, like Tylenol, and Coca-Cola, recover from mistakes. Trusted brands build loyalty, and it is those loyal buyers who provide over 80% of a company’s profitable sales.”
So, as healthcare marketers, how can we improve how consumers view of the healthcare industry and our organizations?
Articulate the positive influence your organization has on society
Healthcare organizations with strong reputations manage their reputations proactively. They identify the good they do in their communities and focus on the people and outcomes of their services. If you’re running a program that impacts lives, make it personal by placing a face on it by telling the stories of the different people involved.
Identify what is unique about your services
Once you identify what makes your organization unique, link it with your mission, vision, and values, and communicate it frequently. Healthcare organizations with the best reputation over-perform their peers in communicating what makes them unique. With a greater understanding of how your vision and value positively impact society, consumers will have greater trust in your brand.
Provide online resources
Marketing can improve the patient experience by providing easy-to-understand tools and information that help them move through the care process. Many people consult online information before they make an appointment so start the conversation before the patient walks through your door by providing information on treatments, costs, and medications. Providing tools such as online health assessments are an effective way to engage consumers and identify unknown consumers needing your services.
“Social Proof” amplifies trust
Providing social proof is a powerful way for a brand to build trust. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ posts are ideal for showing the human connection between your organization and your community. According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, 81 percent of U.S. consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts. Encouraging consumer reviews and positive word of mouth will help you build trust and maintain it over time.
Trust builds brands, and distrust destroys brands. Patients are in the middle of healthcare, and organizations interacting with patients need to act in trustworthy and transparent ways.