When is a hospital’s name just a name, and when does it stand for something bigger? And if a hospital changes its name but doesn’t follow it up with a well-thought-out branding and marketing plan, will consumers understand, or even care, what the new name represents?
Dr. Andrea Simon, corporate anthropologist and Founder/President of Simon Associates Marketing Consultants (SAMC), examines these and many other questions surrounding the flurry of hospital name-changing in her latest article, “A Hospital Brand Is A Terrible Thing To Waste,” currently featured in Becker’s Hospital Review.
Recognizing that one of the primary reasons hospitals choose a new name is to differentiate themselves in the minds of consumers, Dr. Simon writes, “Nationwide, more than 100 healthcare organizations have changed names over the past two years. Given the latest healthcare reforms, that list continues to grow, as healthcare systems struggle to stand out amid an increasingly competitive landscape.”
However, change for change’s sake can bring with it a significant downside, Dr. Simon warns. Abandoning what the original name stood for can alienate, rather than reassure, consumers who may have cared deeply about the old name and the brand behind it. Administrators have an uphill climb, she explains, showing consumers why the renamed institution is (still) the best place for their care.
As well as the need to differentiate their healthcare organizations, hospital administrators have several other reasons for the current flood of name changes. In her article, Dr. Simon lists nine of these, emphasizing that before a hospital changes its name, it should think long and hard about whether that is truly the right move.
In today’s turbulent healthcare landscape, it’s less about the name and more about the patient experience, she writes. Those institutions that understand this stand a much better chance of thriving, versus those that seek change without a solid plan behind it.
To read Dr. Simon’s article in its entirety in Becker’s Hospital Review, click here.