Start your Brand Discovery

READ “Using Brand Experience to Build Loyalty”


How to Build a Healthcare Brand That Captures Hearts and Minds.

Creating a distinctive brand in healthcare has become essential, with boards, leadership teams and fundraisers incorporating the brand into their strategic plans and priorities.

Healthcare branding is more than a logo, colours and a refreshed website. Comprehensive and strategic brand development encompasses creating (or recreating)  the vision, mission, values, differences, personality, messaging and experiences a healthcare brand offers its most important stakeholders, whether funders, employees, patients, families or donors. 

From developing a compelling brand narrative to utilizing innovative marketing, communication and fundraising strategies, there are crucial steps, proven processes and best practices for creating and managing a memorable, valuable healthcare brand.

If you've been tasked with branding, re-branding or refreshing a healthcare brand, here are a few steps you should take to own a strategic, effective healthcare brand. 

Audience research is essential.

Healthcare audiences have endless choices, many opinions and distractions. Thousands of messages come to them daily. In this crowded, confusing and fast-paced environment, healthcare organizations must have a brand that consistently resonates with their key audiences while boosting awareness, interest, understanding, engagement, advocacy and loyalty. 

One of the foundational steps in creating an effective healthcare brand is understanding the different target audiences. Conducting audience research through surveys, interviews, and focus groups allows organizations to gain insights into demographics, psychographics, worldviews and preferences. 

Audience research helps shape the brand positioning, understand a brand's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and influences messaging that will resonate. 

Understanding key audiences' challenges, pain points, and opinions enables healthcare brands to tailor their brand and communication strategies accordingly. Audience research is a step that healthcare organizations should never skip when working on their brand.

Clarity is critical in healthcare branding.

A strong healthcare brand must be clear, consistent and quickly understood to establish trust and credibility. Likewise, a well-defined brand sets the stage for effective advocacy, communication, recruitment and fundraising campaigns.  Done well, it allows organizations to differentiate themselves in the minds of audiences and meet their strategic priorities. 

With the rise of patient advocacy groups, the influence of social channels, constant media coverage and mounting financial pressures, people are increasingly attracted to healthcare brands that clearly and compellingly tell their stories.

Build a brand messaging platform.

Creating a solid healthcare brand involves understanding key messaging elements that must work together to influence the overarching brand narrative. Healthcare organizations need a clear and concise brand messaging platform that effectively communicates the organization's positioning and central messaging pillars. Brand messaging should be consistent across all communication channels, talking points and touchpoints. 

Start with carefully defining your organization's core values, vision, mission, positioning, and key differentiators, aligning with your audience's needs and expectations. Your brand vision should inspire, and the mission must be present-focused. Identifying your brand positioning helps your organization differentiate itself. This positioning statement should clearly define the organization's niche and highlight the people it serves and its key differentiators. Strong brand messaging is a critically important element of effective healthcare branding.

Next comes developing a clear brand promise, highlighting your organization’s commitment to key stakeholders, usually patients and families. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto is one of Canada's largest and most renowned academic health sciences centres. Their brand promise of "Care Without Compromise" emphasized their commitment to providing exceptional healthcare services while prioritizing patient care, innovation, and research.

When we helped rebrand Bruyere Continuing Care, their brand promise became “Champions of Canada’s Aging Population,” affirming their commitment to caring for seniors.  A brand promise must be communicated and delivered consistently across all touchpoints, from the website to social media platforms and in-person interactions.

Visually appealing healthcare brands.

Visual branding plays a crucial role in creating a memorable healthcare brand. Too many organizations start with the visual brand before deciding on brand elements such as positioning, promise, etc. That’s a mistake. Consistency in design elements such as logos, colour palettes, typography, and imagery helps create a cohesive and visually appealing visual brand platform. 

Every healthcare logo should be simple, recognizable, and evoke emotions. Colour palettes should reflect the brand's personality and values. Typography should be legible and consistent across all marketing materials. 

High-quality, well-composed photography should enhance the brand's story and resonate with the target audience. If you can’t afford professional photographers and plan to shoot on your phone, consider investing in an online photography course.

Healthcare brand loyalty comes from exceptional experiences.

Creating exceptional experiences for staff, patients, families, volunteers, partners, and donors is critical in building brand loyalty. Every touchpoint should provide a positive and seamless experience. Healthcare organizations should prioritize feedback and actively work on improving the experiences they deliver. By consistently delivering exceptional experiences, healthcare organizations can foster trust, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth.

How effective is your healthcare brand?

Measuring the effectiveness of healthcare branding efforts is essential to understand the impact and return on investment. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to gauge the success of branding initiatives. Some common KPIs include website traffic, social media engagement, awareness, and database growth. By analyzing these metrics, healthcare organizations can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize their branding efforts.

Investing in a healthy healthcare brand is well worth the investment.

Although it requires time, brainpower, expertise and money, the positive outcomes for a strategic and comprehensive healthcare brand make the investments worthwhile. 

Building a solid, well-defined brand communicates your values, mission, and impact, fostering stakeholder trust and loyalty. A well-considered and well-managed brand showcases your unique identity, difference and relevance. It can differentiate your healthcare brand from competitors, inspiring talented professionals to join its ranks, volunteers to contribute their time and expertise, and donors to support its vision,  programs, research, projects and innovations.

Related posts


Unabashed words guy, branding evangelist and voracious reader of anything to do with marketing, branding, creativity and design.