Beyond Profit: The Power of Purposeful Branding in Healthcare

In the competitive landscape of healthcare technology, standing out from the crowd can be a daunting challenge. With countless vendors vying for attention, it’s easy to get lost in the noise. However, some organizations find success by focusing on something more profound than profit: purposeful branding. By aligning their mission, vision, and values with a larger purpose and creating a positive impact, these companies create a committed workforce and build client loyalty.

To help me dive into this issue I invited two highly experienced marketers onto the podcast. In the latest episode of the Healthtech Marketing Show, Steffany Whiting, Executive Vice President of Marketing at iMethods, and Matthew Piette, former Head of Brand Marketing at Exact Sciences and Director of Brand for Philips, shared their insights and experiences in building and maintaining purposeful brands in the healthcare industry.

Defining a Purposeful Brand

A purposeful brand goes beyond simply selling products or services. It has a clear mission, vision, and values that align with a larger purpose – one that aims to positively impact society, the environment, or a specific community. Purposeful brands strive to do two things: create a greater good and deliver greater value on commercial goals. 

Outside of healthcare, companies like Patagonia and Salesforce have become well-known purposeful brands. Patagonia is committed to environmental activism and sustainability, donating 1% of sales to environmental causes and using eco-friendly materials. Salesforce focuses on improving the world’s state through technology, particularly emphasizing social responsibility, sustainability, workforce development, and environmental protection.

The Application of Purposeful Branding in Healthcare

In healthcare, the concept of purposeful branding takes on an even deeper meaning. Healthcare organizations have a natural predilection to do good and no harm, stemming from the Hippocratic Oath. When healthcare technology companies embrace a purposeful brand, they align themselves with the values and missions of their clients, transitioning from mere vendors to true partners.

iMethods: A Case Study in Purposeful Branding

One company that has successfully embraced purposeful branding is iMethods, a consulting and staffing firm in the healthcare technology space. iMethods has made it their mission to change lives by bringing the right people to the right roles and serving their consultants’ personal and professional goals. They focus on elevating their entire organization and making a difference in the communities they serve.

iMethods’ core values include ardent service, telling the truth, delivering positive results, and always learning and changing. They have established a 501(c)(3) foundation to donate funds and support community initiatives that align with their mission. By living out these values and focusing on changing lives, iMethods has differentiated itself in the market and created an emotional connection with its clients and employees.

The Impact of Purposeful Branding on Business Results

Embracing a purposeful brand has significantly impacted iMethods’ business results. Focusing on employee engagement and client alignment has improved employee retention, client loyalty, referenceability, and business expansion.

iMethods conducts regular surveys of their consultants and clients to gauge the success of their engagements. Their referenceability scores are consistently in the high 90s, demonstrating the effectiveness of their approach. They have also been able to expand their business by becoming a trusted partner to their clients, offering value-added services and support beyond just staffing and consulting.

Communicating and Codifying Your Brand’s Purpose

Companies must codify their mission, vision, and values to truly embrace a purposeful brand and communicate them consistently across all touchpoints. This can be done through a brand document, website, introductory materials, and a transparent company culture.

iMethods has made its culture a key part of its brand, showcasing its team’s personalities and values through its website and marketing materials. They are transparent about their mission and values, which helps them attract clients and employees who align with their purpose.

Aligning Client Relationships with Your Brand’s Mission

Part of embracing a purposeful brand is being selective about your clients. iMethods has made cultural fit a key part of its client selection process, ensuring it partners with organizations aligning with its mission and values.

By focusing on long-term, mutually beneficial relationships rather than just short-term profits, iMethods has created lasting partnerships with clients who share their commitment to making a difference in healthcare.

Engaging Employees in Your Brand’s Purpose

Engaging employees in your brand’s purpose is critical to creating a true culture of purpose. iMethods has implemented several innovative programs to involve its employees in its mission, including:

  1. A 501(c)(3) foundation that matches employee donations and supports community initiatives
  2. A “Dream Manager” program that pairs employees with accountability partners to help them achieve their personal and professional goals
  3. Regular engagement events and activities that bring remote employees together and foster a sense of community and shared purpose

By investing in these programs, iMethods has created a highly engaged workforce committed to the company’s mission and values.

The Challenge of Purposeful Branding in Large Organizations

While iMethods has successfully implemented a purposeful brand, larger organizations often struggle to embed this culture throughout their company. In a recent survey, only 53% of senior managers felt they truly understood their company’s purpose, and this understanding decreased at lower levels of the organization.

To overcome this challenge, senior leadership must understand and communicate the company’s purpose and live it out in their actions and decisions. Embracing a purposeful brand requires a long-term commitment and a willingness to prioritize purpose over short-term profits.

Making Your Brand Purpose Real and Measurable

To truly make an impact with your purposeful brand, you must find ways to make it real and measurable. This can be done through patient testimonial videos, documenting outcomes, and persistently reinforcing the mission.

Companies like Exact Sciences and Phillips have created powerful patient testimonial videos that showcase the real-world impact of their products and services. Sharing these stories makes their brand purpose tangible and emotionally resonant.

Phillips has also set measurable goals around improving lives, aiming to improve the lives of 2.5 billion people by 2030. They have developed algorithms to track their progress towards this goal, making their brand purpose a key part of their business strategy.

Becoming a Purposeful Brand Ambassador

Ultimately, creating a purposeful brand starts with individual employees becoming brand ambassadors. As a healthcare marketer, you can be a champion for positive change within your organization.

This requires courage and being willing to speak up when your company is not living up to its brand promise. It means recognizing your organization as a vehicle for making the world a better place and persistently working towards that goal.

By embracing your role as a purposeful brand ambassador, you can help your company make a real difference in the lives of patients, providers, and communities.

The Future of Purposeful Branding in Healthcare

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the importance of purposeful branding will only continue to grow. Companies that align their mission, vision, and values with a larger purpose will be better positioned to attract top talent, build lasting client relationships, and drive meaningful change.

By embracing purposeful branding, healthcare technology companies have the opportunity to succeed financially and make a real difference in the world. As more companies adopt this approach, we hope to see a future where healthcare is more effective and efficient, compassionate and purpose-driven.

Actions You Can Take

1. Define your brand’s purpose: Clearly articulate your company’s mission, vision, and values, and ensure they align with a larger purpose that creates a positive impact on society, the environment, or a specific community.

2. Conduct a brand audit: Assess your current brand messaging, visual identity, and employee engagement to identify areas where your brand purpose can be better communicated and embedded within your organization.

3. Engage leadership: Work with senior leadership to gain their understanding, support, and commitment to the brand’s purpose. Encourage them to lead by example and consistently communicate the purpose across the organization.

4. Develop purposeful content: Create content that showcases your brand’s purpose, such as patient testimonial videos, case studies, and thought leadership pieces that demonstrate your company’s impact and commitment to its mission.

5. Implement employee engagement programs: Develop initiatives that involve employees in your brand’s purpose, such as volunteer opportunities, donation matching, or personal and professional development programs that align with your company’s values.

6. Integrate purpose into client relationships: Make cultural fit and alignment with your brand’s purpose a key factor in client selection and nurturing. Focus on building long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with clients who share your commitment to making a positive impact.

7. Measure and report on impact: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that track your brand’s impact on both business results and social outcomes. Regularly report on these metrics to demonstrate the ROI of your purposeful branding efforts.

8. Foster a culture of brand ambassadorship: Encourage and empower employees to become purposeful brand ambassadors by providing them with the tools, resources, and recognition they need to champion your brand’s mission both within and outside the organization.

By taking these steps, healthcare technology marketers can begin the journey towards building a strong, purposeful brand that drives both business success and meaningful change in the industry.

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Posted by Adam Turinas
Posted in Brand Marketing, Healthtech Marketing Show on April 10, 2024

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About the Author Adam Turinas

Hi, I am Adam Turinas, Healthlaunchpad's founder. I am passionate about helping healthtech firms succeed through better sales and marketing. I have hard-earned experience in healthcare technolgy as I started two healthcare businesses in the US, the first with zero healthcare experience. We sold the second business to a strategic buyer seven years later. Over 9 years building a healhtech businesses, I have learned how to sell and market effectively to healthcare organizations. Prior to this, I spent two decades in digital marketing across healthcare and other consumer industries where I sold over $100 million in products and services to corporations and healthcare orgs. I would love to talk with you. You can book a call with me on the right hand side. Best Adam (This is page 0 of many)