Building A Healthcare Brand

Natasha E. Davis

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Table of Contents

  1. Why is healthcare branding essential?
  2. Healthcare Branding Mistakes
  3. Healthcare Branding Tips

*PS. Below you will find an auto-generated transcript of this episode.


Arek Dvornechuck :What's up? Branding Experts, Arek here at Ebaqdesign and welcome to On Branding Podcast, and my guest today is Natasha E. Davis. Natasha is a brand strategist and the CEO of Impact Branding, which is a brand strategy consultancy that mainly works with healthcare companies, helping them expand the profitability of their brand. So Natasha is also an award winning author and speaker and trainer, often affectionately referred to as the chief visionary. Hello, Natasha. Thanks for joining us.

Natasha Davis: Thank you so much, Arek. Thanks for having me.

Arek Dvornechuck: Thank you so much for taking the time. Over the last 16, 17 years you've been, watching healthcare industry and helping healthcare industry with branding and different, working with different healthcare companies providing them with services like strategic planning, training development, public relations, marketing among others.

Why is healthcare branding essential?

Arek Dvornechuck: let's start with a simple question, why healthcare branding is essential these days.

Natasha Davis: Healthcare branding is very essential these days because healthcare as a whole has condensed and consolidated, where several, many years ago, we had so many options to healthcare. We had many hospitals, many office buildings. We had so many options that is no longer there. Healthcare has. Folded and folded through acquisition of large organizations. And so therefore we don't really have a lot of the small rural hospitals or the local hospitals or the local offices in which we can choose from. And so healthcare in itself has shifted dramatically across different state lines and different countries. Options are not really there. And so it's important to pay attention to even more so now, what is the infrastructure? What is the position, and what is the posture of a healthcare system so that other persons, like patients and customers and stakeholders, they know what they're buying into when they step into a particular healthcare system.

Arek Dvornechuck: So would you say because you, you work mainly with healthcare brands, right? But you also work with government organizations and in other industries. Correct. So how would you compare healthcare industry to other industries? Is it more challenging? Do you see? What would you say? Definitely healthcare has similarities where there's a lot of different differences as well. So healthcare is what I say, a little beast on its own because we have these two components in healthcare. We have the business side of healthcare, but then we also have the care side, like the compassion side of healthcare

Natasha Davis: Now, when a hospital has to operate, they have to look at the business side as well as the care side, the clinical side, however, without the business side. The clinical side is of no value. It's of no use. So what's different with healthcare is that some companies, some industries, they don't have to think about the care side, the clinical side, because they're not holding a life in their hand.

Arek Dvornechuck: That's a good point. Yeah. A lot of times the business decisions that have to be made, they're making business decisions for the business stability, the infrastructure. However, sometimes those business decisions do affect clinically how a patient is then transitioned through a hospital system. It is a very intricate balance. And trying to strike that balance can be quite challenging. as I see what you're saying. Totally. That's a good point. So in the sense that BR branding is important for every business, right? Yes. But in healthcare, the difference is that you also need to take care of patients.

Natasha Davis: Patients, and at the same time, at the same time, make money, structure your business in a way that makes money. So it's as you mentioned it, it's a bond between those. That's why it's a bit different.

Healthcare Branding Mistakes

Arek Dvornechuck: Okay. Let's talk about some of branding mistakes. Maybe let's start with mistakes and then talk about the maybe some of your tips or some of your process. So as for example when you onboard new clients, what do you usually see they struggle with or they need help with, or they do wrong? Totally wrong. What kind of planning mistakes they make in the healthcare.

Natasha Davis: Wow there. One of the biggest mistakes I'll see, especially as I mentioned with all this acquisition that's happening, a lot of times what I'm seeing is healthcare organizations, when they're acquiring. Small facilities or even other hospital systems. The break in communication is how do we make sure that our entire internal infrastructure is aware of the acquisition? And here's an example. So the hospital from a business level will say it makes good business sense to acquire this small rural hospital. We're gonna put our name on it. We're gonna offer our service. , right? But they forget to make sure that information gets disseminated down to the referral team or D down to the care management team. And so now the team that's looking for clinical support for a patient, they don't realize they already have the support in-house because we just acquired another facility that has the ability to take care of them. So what do they do? Refer them out. So now you're losing money because that patient who could have stayed in the system. Is being referred out because internal systems didn't know, wow, we now have this ability because we acquired this level of service. That tends to be a big deal that I see a lot with.

Another issue that I see with respect to branding is that , sometimes healthcare thinks that because we're healthcare, we don't need to brand, not realizing that when a patient. Isn't happy. They tell everyone about the system and everyone also includes their insurance provider. When a facility is not considered a tier one or they get bad reviews, insurance payment. Is affected because you're not a tier one, you're not a primary or a preferred healthcare provider or preferred system. And so insurance providers who have to pay out on these things when your numbers, your what we call the press gaming score and the net promoter score, when those things are low, the insurance, cuz like we're not paying you top dollar cuz you're cus the patients don't even like,

Arek Dvornechuck: No, it all makes sense. I like the way you described that in, in simple words, so we can definitely all relate to that. Yeah. When something wrong happens, we gonna talk to our friends, and that's branding, right? That's how they perceive you ultimately. That's the image in the marketplace.

Natasha Davis: Exactly. Okay, so that's one of the mistakes. What how about can we talk maybe we should talk about some of the process. So can you explain on so I started saying, I started asking questions like, how do you onboard your clients? Maybe taking an as an example, a hospital, right? A hospital wants to work with you because they see that, some things could be improved in terms of branding and so on, and strategic thinking. So what's the general what are the steps that you go through? Sure. So one of the things we specialize in is the strategic side of branding. We make sure that the company can function efficiently from top down.

So when we onboard a new customer, new client, we actually get to the table and we start to unfold and dissect each department, each element of the organization. Because what we're looking for is where are the. And then also where are the roadblocks? And until we begin to fully understand, , the inner workings of an organization. We can't really fix them because we're only fixing apart, like we're only putting a bandaid on a huge, gaping wound, right? , the goal is to get in, clean the wound out and dress it, make it pretty, make it healed. If we don't understand where is this source of infection coming from? All we're doing is we're just covering it over and it's getting weak. . And weaker. And weaker. So the first thing we do is we do a clean analysis and we understand. Let me understand the company, let me understand the organization from beginning to end. Whenever we encounter roadblocks, normally we'll hear crickets. What do I mean by that? When I ask a basic question, how does patient go from point A to point B? And as soon as we get to a certain point and everyone's looking at each. . Wait, I don't know. No, they do that. No, we don't. Okay, you guys do that. No, we don't. You guys do. No. Then you start getting the finger points okay, now we know, first of all, when the patient gets to this point. There's a roadblock, there's a fall, there's a big gap because something is missing.

So that helps us to identify the larger the facility, the longer it takes, because obviously you can understand the complexity and understanding that organization. So the larger a company, the larger facility, the longer that evaluation take and the messier that the infrastructure the harder it is to get good, clean answers. And so that's the first part that we do. We don't fix anything until we know what's wrong, because our methodology and our principle is we don't fix what's working. There's no need to fix what's working, we look at what's not working, what's wrong, and then that is what we work on fixing because it, it's a waste of money, a waste of resources, and a waste of time to hyper focus on something that's not wrong. right? And so that's what we do. So the first stop is, let's find out what's actually wrong. . But then we also look at what's working well and how can we compliment what is working well.

Arek Dvornechuck: No, it's a, it is a great metaphor you just gave us with this wound and I ca I cannot agree more on, on that. Deep discovery right. Is super important. And only then you can define the real problems and and you can fix them. Obviously don't wanna fix something that is working even improve that, right? And build on that. That's great. So we've covered that. After the, what happens next, once you define those problems and in know those key stakeholders, they can see them clearly because you like, sh show them like, hey, yeah this, these are the gaps and this is what we can do. So what's the next step? You try, you figure out some kind of a plan to, of action and then you implement. Can you talk to us?

Natasha Davis: Yes. So I, what we call is we come back to the strategic planning lab. We just come back into the impact branding lab and what we do is we take all the information and we start to outline, we outline the strategic plan for how we're going to fix it. We develop the theme, we develop the contingency plans, we look at the risk management, we identify all the areas, and then we really outline this roadmap and we build a dashboard because we have a tracking, we like to use project management tools. So we build. Tracking for it. So we see it, but also our client can see it as well, here's where we're going, here's where we're stuck, here's what's completed. So they can see the progress of it. And then from there, we actually present it to the executive team that we're working with. We have to get their buy-in, they sign off on it, and we get moving and we start to implement. .

And as we're implementing, we are evaluating and we're checking. I don't believe in set it and I don't believe in that at all. So therefore, we are constantly looking at the implementation and how is it affecting the company? How is it affecting the strategic goal? Are we meeting the milestones that we've put in place? Are we understanding it? And then from there, we begin to have consistent training. The worst thing that can happen is that we have a strategic. But only the executive board knows about it. Nobody else knows about it. They just put it up on the internet or they sent out a memo and they expect everyone to get it. , that is the most costing. ineffective way to roll out a strategic plan. I see. Along with a strategic plan, training is tied to it, and that's where I find a lot of those issues. We get strategic plan.

No one's ever trained on it, no one's ever trained on it. , and you don't get the buy-in that you need and the understanding on how to implement it, but also how to maintain it. Because once the consultant firm is done and they step away and they've completed their run, what we can't have is that everything that's been put in, Falls by the wayside. Now the organization is back where they started from. And to be frank, they're actually worse because now they're at a crossroads. They're stuck in between the old, the new and the new. . And they're sitting in the middle with all this confusion and then they begin to co-mingle principles. And now we have a bigger problem.

Arek Dvornechuck: And how do you solve that? Is that you have some kind of a longer arrangement engagements with your clients that you support them on ki some kind of a retainer afterwards, or you come in and retrain, maybe check on those on the team and see if it's all working and how Can you explain on that? Yeah.

Natasha Davis: So we actually function a little bit differently. We're not only the strategic planning company, we also support implementation. . And so therefore we don't just outline the plan and then hand it to you and walk away. We actually see. Stand alongside our clients hand in hand, and we support implementation.

So the clients that stay with us, they don't have this issue. And so therefore, we actually don't do strategic plans alone and walk away. We stay with our clients so that we don't have this issue. Oftentimes we'll get a client because they had a company that only did the strategic planning, the outlining, they didn't support implementation, and clients end up stuck in that in between and they don't know what to do, they don't know how to unravel it. . And then I will come in with my team and then we now have to unravel and put them back on the same track. So that's where I've seen that. But our clients that come in, we don't have that cuz we don't fragment our work. It comes together, planning and implementation comes together.

Arek Dvornechuck: No, I can definitely relate to that. Maybe in a different little bit in different category. For example, when I do strategy with my clients, And I also do strategy and design. I know that you don't do design, but you do, you, you do strategy and implementation, right? So that's similar, right?

Natasha Davis: So you just don't just do strategy because Yeah. Same with me. I have some clients who come to me and they say, oh, we do have strategy already, but. Okay but why did you come to me? Because you don't know what to do with that. You have this strategy, this consultancy gave you this strategy. You don't know what to do with that, right? Yeah, that's a great point. Okay, so we've talked about some mistakes. We've covered some mistakes, some of your process and how you work with healthcare brands.

Healthcare Branding Tips

Arek Dvornechuck: But Do you have any other general tips for smaller, maybe smaller healthcare brands that are just coming up or startups? Go ahead. Yeah,

Natasha Davis: so tips for a smaller healthcare entity. Maybe not the big hospital, but maybe you're a private practice. Maybe you're a solo practitioner, you might have two or maybe one other , but you're a very maybe a smaller practice. One of the things I say is in the very, very beginning, the key is to hire the weakness of the company.

Other thing, , if you are the actual provider, right? If you are the actual person seeing the patient, you can't be the office manager, the front desk, you're managing everything. You can't. You have to get someone to see your blind spots because otherwise you won't be able to separate the two when needed. You're seeing a patient and you're speeding through seeing a. because you gotta meet the business numbers, which that defeats the purpose of starting your own medical practice because you didn't wanna be under the gun of, organizations micromanaging how you care for your patient load. So the key is to hire your weakness, right? Hire the front desk person and hire a back office skilled person. Don't hire someone that is lacking. Qualified skills so that every time you need something done as the provider, you have to go do a lot of the the hands-on skill.

The other thing is technology. Use technology. I always tell people there's an app for that. Use technology. Get the e M R in place for your particular medical practice. Learn it. Use it. Make sure you have the right coding team on board, because use a system that also manages coding be, that's where a lot of issues happen with smaller practices, right? they can see the patient in volumes. They have the. , everybody's okay, but they don't get paid on time. , because the billing is not being done in a timely manner, the credentials are not being done in a timely manner, and when it gets submitted, it is fragmented from the system. And so now we have submission issues and the insurance is not paying.

Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah. And and yeah, so that's a big problem. , no that, that's a great tip. So you need to separate like business side from the operational side and and of course you need to take care of your branding as well From the get go. It's better. Yeah. Maybe if you cannot afford someone like, impact branding, right? Like a bigger agency, right? You can work with some smaller consultants at the beginning, but then eventually you can, you will get to the point where you may, rebrand and. reposition and so on and everything, the whole thing.

Natasha Davis: Yeah. If I may add something to that, the other piece is to not neglect so medical practices, when I've worked with smaller practices, which I actually love working with smaller practices, you can get more done. What I walk in and I find is that the smaller practices, the provider neglects basic business infrastructure.There should be meetings with the team to understand who's going where and what's happening. The doctor or the office manager or the owner of the practice should not find out that we've had a billing issue three months later. .

So we can't neglect the basic business meetings and infrastructure, and the team has to have enough guidance so that everyone's just not running around pushing buttons and sending emails. There has to be a great conversation and a flow of conversation so that the owner or the primary medical provider is aware. What are we doing when a code has expired? You can't keep using the same code to push out the bill because you're not gonna get.

Arek Dvornechuck: No. And I can definitely relate to it because sometimes when I go to a small clinic here in New York and sometimes they just round around. They keep sending me like, some messages. Then you have to log in there. You don't know your login. Like, why do you have to do all of this? It should be simpler. So I always say, me as a creative person I see some roof from for improvement, definitely. And. You bringing up those things, I can definitely see, from my own experience how it is being done. So branding is definitely important. Now for you guys who wanna reach out to Natasha, so what's the best way to get in touch with you? Of course. I'm gonna link to your website, which is impact branding Yes. Are you active on LinkedIn?

Natasha Davis: Yes, very active on LinkedIn. Persons can find me Natasha Davis, visionary on LinkedIn. I am very interactive on LinkedIn and of course the website is very active as well.

Natasha Davis: If somebody needs to have a conversation, they can schedule a power check. We can talk through those things and that can be done all through the website. I've also seen people reach out to me on Linkedin as well, , so yes, I'm very awesome.

Arek Dvornechuck: Awesome. So we're gonna link to your website and to link LinkedIn. Thanks for coming on the show. I appreciate that. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thanks for thank Talk to you soon. Alright.

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