Part 3 – PE Investment & Healthcare Brand Consolidation: Marketing for a Branded House
One of the most pressing questions after a PE healthcare consolidation takes place is, “Should private equity buyers consolidate their newly acquired practices and hospitals into a single brand, or allow the organizations to continue operating as independent brands?” That, of course, is a complex question, dependent on a variety of factors.
For example, it might make sense to maintain each brand’s independence when the practice or hospital is locally well-known and deeply rooted in their community. From a marketing standpoint, you’ll want to capitalize on that familiarity and trust to attract new patients and keep current ones from seeking a new provider.
However, if you’ve already consolidated brands, or you’re leaning toward this approach, there are some advantages to marketing for a branded house of healthcare organizations. As we discussed in part 1 of this consolidated brand series, it may be easier to maintain a consistent voice in the healthcare market when you rebrand individual, lesser-known brands into one overarching, recognizable brand.
A consolidated brands marketing approach may also help reduce marketing budgets while allowing smaller organizations to reach a larger audience of healthcare consumers. And, if the larger brand is already trusted and recognizable, it could help struggling practices improve their reputation by association.
Establish a perception of brand trust
To put it into more concrete terms, let’s use Emory Healthcare as an example. According to their website, Emory Healthcare is Georgia’s most trusted health system brand and ranks among the top 10, nationwide. When a Georgia resident searches online for a new physician or specialist and sees that a practice is associated with Emory Healthcare, that smaller practice or hospital instantly appears more credible as a result.
In this regard, you can use the reputation of the more established brand to help build trust in a lesser-known practice or healthcare system. When the larger, well-known healthcare organization has a high approval rating among its current patients (like Emory Healthcare), then new patients are more likely to trust that they will receive the best care and have a great experience with any practice associated with that well-known brand.
Another way to think about this “associated trust” is in terms of buying a car. When a major car company such as Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, or Subaru, releases a new design or model, consumers with a positive perception of these companies already trust that these new cars come from a reputable brand. Conversely, when Tesla first arrived on the car scene, it took a few years for the brand to make its mark and earn the trust of consumers.
Diversified healthcare marketing for consolidated brands
In addition to transferring the trust and reputation of a well-known brand to the lesser-known consolidated practices, what else can you do to ensure the success of each individual organization under the umbrella of your most established brand?
Essentially, you can still use the same diverse marketing strategies you would employ for a house of independent healthcare brands, just in a different way. Instead of capitalizing and reinforcing the local trust and community attachment to providers, you want to use established brand recognition for the newly acquired practices.
Leverage established brands to lead marketing efforts for smaller providers and organizations
Whether it’s paid ads, optimizing Google Business Profiles (GBP), or improving provider and organization reputation, capitalize on the new association of brands. Let healthcare consumers know that, in this case, change is good. You can now offer them more features like:
- Convenient appointment availability
- Skilled providers and specialties
- Additional locations
- Streamlined, consistent protocols for all locations
- More testing options
- Wider variety of procedures
In other words, even if they loved their provider before the consolidation, they will enjoy even more features under the improved healthcare brand umbrella.
Invest in a paid ad campaign
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads help your brand get optimal real estate at the top of online search results. As patients search online for, “top-rated orthopedic surgeon near me”, your PPC ad appears at the top of their search results. This helps build and support your brand perception and recognition for healthcare consumers looking to take immediate action, such as booking an appointment.
Optimize Google Business Profiles
Ensure that each location has its own Google Business Profile that reflects the overarching brand message. Then, each time a prospective patient finds a practice or organization associated with yours, they’ll begin to connect the dots and form their perception of trust in the brand – just like the Emory example above.
Leverage provider and practice reputation
If the practices you acquired already have a great reputation, you can use that to help support the brand overall. Using data points in your marketing by saying things like, “4.2 star average reputation across all locations” could be a great way to apply all the hard work that’s already gone towards creating a solid reputation. Continue to solicit more reviews from those practices and push the reviews to popular online sites, so you maintain the favorable reputation online.
And, if some of the newly acquired organizations need help with reputation management, you can start requesting reviews automatically after each appointment to gauge the patient experience and pinpoint areas that need improvement.
SocialClimb specializes in marketing for your house of healthcare brands. Our platform helps you easily choose the right keywords and phrases to ensure success of your PPC advertising campaigns. It also automates reviews, and we can help you optimize all your GBPs.
Among the most important features our platform offers are data-driven metrics that help you identify where your new patients come from, which marketing efforts are working, and which ones need improvement or should cease entirely. Our customizable reports also make it easy to clearly understand your ROI and patient acquisition cost. Each of these efforts works together to support your brand after a consolidation.
Not sure where to begin? Give us a call today.