Navigate Health Care Consumerism With Targeted Public Relations

Dec 6, 2017 | Healthcare

In the market for a new appliance? You’re likely to spend a lot of time researching. What brand and model receives the best ratings? Which retailer is offering a sale? Is it worth it to pay for delivery?

For an expensive purchase that you might use nearly every day, it makes sense to shop around and make the best decisions for cost and quality.

More and more people are applying this same mindset to health care. Often facing higher deductibles, higher premiums and fewer insurance options, patients are “shopping around” in efforts to make the best choices with their health care. This trend has been called health care consumerism, and it’s influencing decisions made by providers and health care leaders.

Providers and practices are feeling increased pressure to operate similarly to corporate businesses, developing plans aimed at attracting consumers.

Want to stand apart from your competition? Our team has the strategy you need to navigate health care consumerism challenges.

We use public relations to lend third-party credibility to our clients’ organizations, heighten awareness of the services they offer and differentiate them from their competition. A strategic approach to public relations also educates current and prospective consumers — turning health care consumerism into opportunities for organizational growth.

So, where should your health care organization start?

Streamline your messaging

Ensure that leadership has identified and is comfortable sharing the key points of differentiation for your health care organization. Why is your service, offering or product unique? How do you outshine your competitors?

From this, consider your brand persona. If your brand were a person, who would that person be? How would she present herself? What are your key brand values?

In asking these questions, health care organizations can better identify their messages — what do you want your target audiences to know about your company? — as well as the best tone and voice to present your messages.

Create opportunities for education

Once you know your messaging and brand persona, consider opportunities that match your values. This may mean looking beyond the traditional realms of your community newspaper or local TV news. Public relations can extend to trade publications, blog content, regional influencers and digital platforms like social media and video.

A media article on the importance of patient engagement in their health care may feature an interview with the CEO or a provider within your organization. Because the reporter considers you a valuable or credible source of information, the implication is that a reader can also place his or her trust in your organization or services.

Of course, not all consumers will engage with information on the same level. Depending on your target audiences and how varied your customer base may be when it comes to health literacy, it can also prove worthwhile to segment your patient populations and target specific audiences through separate efforts.

Owned and shared platforms like your website’s blog or a Facebook Live Q&A video can create opportunities for education with audiences who are already online — and it’s a surprisingly large percentage. A 2017 poll found that 42 percent of U.S. adults seek news on Facebook several times a day.

Embrace transparency to build trust

Increased awareness and increased trust lead to an intent to purchase — driving action and increasing your ROI.

By embracing public relations, your organization has the opportunity to educate and therefore influence current and prospective consumers’ behavior — gaining their trust and impacting their health care decisions to seek the best quality of care at a fair cost.

Not sure where to begin with messaging development or crafting a media strategy for your health care organization?

The Gavin team has worked with companies in various sectors within the health care industry. Start the conversation today.