There is a temptation for healthcare professionals to be drawn to the “big picture.” Communicators want to reach a large audience. Administrators are concerned about a facility’s daily population and the percentage beds occupied. Marketing minds consider wide service territories. And advertising plans want to know the reach and frequency.
There’s nothing wrong with big picture metrics…as long as they ultimately connect to the fact that health care—and the patient experience—is delivered on a highly personal, individual and emotional basis. To be successful, plans that “reach thousands” connect with and meet the needs of one person at a time.
The reality, and the secret to success in hospital marketing and patient experience is that it is not an impersonal Business-to-Consumer (B2C) process. To borrow an emerging catchphrase, effective engagement in everything is “Human-to-Human (H2H). And the key to unlocking the power of H2H is in touching consumer emotions.
Major consumer brands and products are beginning to recognize that: “Although brands may be liked or trusted, most fail to align themselves with the emotions that drive their customers’ most profitable behaviors.” An in-depth report titled, The New Science of Customer Emotions is presented in the Harvard Business Review.
“We consider customers to be emotionally connected with a brand when it aligns with their motivations and helps them fulfill deep, often unconscious, desires. Important emotional motivators include desires to ‘stand out from the crowd,’ ‘have confidence in the future,’ and ‘enjoy a sense of well-being,’ to name just a few,” the HBR authors write.
Are you emotionally connected with your Mr. Clean?
The HBR report admits, “Identifying and measuring emotional motivators [for brands] is complicated, because customers themselves may not even be aware of them.” Some brands—Disney and Apple, for example—easily tap into customer emotions, but it must be a major challenge to emotionally connect consumers to a canned food product.
Consider how hospitals and healthcare providers have a giant head start over commercial products, Mr. Clean, for example, in opportunities for emotional connections with customer/patients. Healthcare delivery is a person-to-person proposition, and compared to brand name mass marketing efforts, the available resources for a hospital is a deep and rich well.
Engaging human emotions in healthcare begins with every person-to-person touch point, and easily transfers to patient experience, storytelling, social media and others.
Emotions are memorable; they connect and engage…
While it is useful to examine the “big picture” numbers in patient experience, healthcare delivery and marketing, the actual results are a reflection of how any given effort has actually touched individuals on an emotional level.
Having a clear and detailed awareness of the emotional thoughts and feelings of patients, prospective patients, caregivers, friends, family and others will drive your success in patient/audience interaction.
Understand these consumer sensitivities first, and provide a human-to-human connection…one person at a time.