Building a behavioral health treatment center brand helps differentiate one treatment provider from another. While the core concept remains the same, branding in healthcare is unique from typical corporate branding for products. Use your brand to help encourage people to reach out and choose you over the competition.
To build a brand in a behavioral health space, individuals must see the provider as a true professional or industry expert and the treatment center as a place to go to heal. In addition, branding communicates a message to prospective clients to encourage them to pick up the phone or reach out for help. The value of branding is twofold, then. First, it enables healthcare professionals to become trusted experts who provide solutions when people struggle with alcohol, drugs, or mental health disorders. Secondly, it enables providers to help a larger group of people simply by being better recognized.
Brands are built using numerous tools, including creating an online presence. That includes websites, social media, and marketing campaigns. It also stems from providing a quality, award winning service to the patient.
The Value of Building a Brand in Behavioral Health
Leveraging branding for a behavioral health treatment center can directly impact KPIs, bottom-line margins and community recognition. Brands are built using a variety of elements, including slogans, social media presence, and marketing campaigns. Once built, they can consistently provide benefits to the treatment center. Some of those benefits may include:
- Competitive edge: In areas where numerous treatment centers exist, having the competitive edge through name recognition can directly impact the treatment center’s success.
- Patient recognition: A strong brand enables patients to learn of your services more than other providers. Patients can identify who they need to call to get quality care easily.
- Fosters loyalty: A well-designed brand may help foster loyalty for patients over the long term. Building trust may be critical to developing a strong bond with clients, especially when consistent or long-term care is necessary and commonly needed.
- Builds partnerships: Everyone wants to work with a well-known and trusted brand. A recognized brand is more likely to be sought after by other complementary brands, financial support partners, and medical providers. Building community relationships may also occur more readily.
- Encourages referrals: A recognized brand helps to encourage referrals from one patient to another. It may also help support families encouraging loved ones to seek treatment to turn to your center over others because they recognize the brand.
- Builds trust with patients: Patients may be more willing to embrace therapies and trust in the services offered when they know the brand has a strong reputation for success in recovery. They know what to expect if they do the work.
Branding is valuable in many ways. It can help a treatment center gain clients and add value to the organization’s business component as well. That may help with securing funding or, down the road, selling the organization.
What It Takes to Build a Strong Brand in Healthcare
Building a brand in healthcare relies on understanding what your practice offers that helps it stand out, and then authentically communicating that through your marketing campaigns. A survey from Skackla found that 86% of consumers say authenticity is critical when deciding who they like and support. Considering this, take the brand-building process seriously.
Focus on niches that appeal to your audience
A good starting point is defining what your organization offers that’s special, unique, or valuable to your patient. For example, why should a patient in need of care turn to your behavioral health treatment program over another?
Define who your target patient is to determine this. These may be people with substance use disorder, teens using substances, those with complex mental health disorders, or even children of trauma and abuse. Be specific on who your most likely patient is.
Define what that target patient is looking for when they seek out care. Are they looking for a positive, supportive environment? Perhaps they are looking for cutting-edge treatments. Some may be looking for a therapist with extensive experience in their situation. Take some time to find out what patients are looking for when they search in Google for care related to what you offer. That’s going to be beneficial for building a digital brand. But, for now, it also helps you understand what you can offer to meet your target clients’ needs.
Define the brand
With this information on hand, the next step in defining the brand is possible. The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report found that 81% of consumers say they must trust the brand to do what’s right for them to engage with that organization. So, keeping this focus on trust and authenticity in mind, start to build your brand image.
- Determine what your patient’s pain points are. What are they struggling with that you can help them to overcome or improve? It’s not just symptoms, but their symptoms’ impact on daily life.
- What services do you offer that should be a part of your brand? What’s your focus when reaching out to new clients?
- Create a statement that outlines exactly how your organization alleviates and addresses those pain points through the services provided. Focus on what’s most important to your organization.
Define your healthcare brand’s value proposition. This proposition is the unique selling point that helps your brand stand out. Some examples may include:
- Providing family-friendly service, such as having someone available to watch children for parents to receive outpatient care
- Offering long-term treatment through alumni programs or community-based support groups
- Providing affordable access to care, such as accepting various types of insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and private pay
- Offer innovative therapies that other providers may not offer as often or readily, such as psychedelics or telehealth services
- Providing individualized treatment plans to help patients receive care that’s fitting to their specific situation and needs
List the selling points of your organization. Make it clear that your organization is the better option for the patient.
Define these areas and pull them together in a cohesive plan. Outline which terms, slogans, and language types are best associated with your brand. Use a mission statement to help guide the process. These factors can help paint a picture of what your brand offers to the client.
Create a single brand image to use across all touchpoints
Consistency is critical in brand building yet may be one of the hardest parts of building your brand. In all areas, ensure a consistent depiction of your brand and what it offers. A simple way to see the value is to consider a logo. If your logo differs on your website and social media channels, you’re confusing your audience. They aren’t sure it’s the same company.
Suppose your brand image, language, terminology, images, colors, and other elements of your brand differ from one channel to the next. In that case, you’re not providing a cohesive, memorable brand for your patients and the community. That ends up costing you.
All components of the organization should match with the newly created brand. That may include:
- Your website
- Logos for your business
- Email communications
- Direct mail
- Communications within the company and with third parties
- All advertising and marketing components
All types of content used in all forms of communication with partners, patients, and other stakeholders should match the same overall concepts. This includes the logos and colors and the content, tone, and visuals used to support your brand. For example, if your content is upbeat and friendly, be sure your social media posts carry over that same type of positive messaging.
Ensure this brand image represents your client base or designed client base. That should include using images of people representing your practice’s demographics. This helps form an important bond between your brand and the prospective patient.
Work on updating all of your marketing materials and campaigns currently in place to match your newly defined brand image. Create consistency across all touchpoints for your clients to ensure they can easily communicate with you with confidence.
Utilize software solutions to support and foster good relations and manage efforts
Managing a brand may seem difficult, especially with so many touchpoints for stakeholders. One of the most valuable ways to do this is by providing consistency in communications and messaging..
Many brands benefit from improving communications with their clients. This may include using branding to communicate that your organization offers quick appointments, telehealth services, and fast responses to questions which may help build your reputation. It’s necessary to utilize software to support the process.
An effective customer relationship management solution can help support this in numerous ways. That includes helping to manage communications as well as marketing and patient engagement opportunities. For example, it may help by providing reports on how well a marketing campaign is doing or offering insight into the onboarding process and whether it’s meeting patient expectations. It also clearly outlines ROI (depending on the CRM you’ve selected to implement.) Sunwave’s CRM, for example, helps ensure organizations can manage branding campaigns with clarity throughout the process.
Use a software solution specifically designed for behavioral health therapy providers to ensure there’s a streamlined and efficient way of communicating with prospective patients in place as they respond to your marketing efforts.
Become a recognized professional organization
Establishing a reputation for being a go-to treatment provider takes work. The benefits are numerous, especially when linked to a solid marketing campaign with a strong brand image. Individuals need to see the treatment center as a truly professional, effective location to turn to for their needs. A lot of this has to do with building a strong source of content to back up these claims.
Having a strong social media presence with lots of quality content can help to showcase the treatment center as an effective provider. In addition, encourage therapists and other care providers within the center to update their LinkedIn profiles to match the same level of expertise and knowledge that the center displays.
Create a website and blog that offers resources. That may include content such as informative blog posts that help people recognize the value of seeking help. Provide answers to some of their most common questions, such as what their symptoms mean or what type of therapy is available to help them. Build a blog packed with information that’s unique from other providers.
Another survey from Stackla found that 57 percent of consumers believe that less than half of brands build authentic content and fit their needs. So if your content is a pillar of your branding strategy, it needs to communicate directly to the patients you are trying to bring into the treatment center.
Once you have a content plan, create and post it consistently. Keep that brand image strong throughout each piece of the published content. Over time, this helps to showcase your organization’s expertise.
Improving Communications in Brand Management
Once a brand image is outlined and clearly developed, it’s necessary to ensure communication and resources align with the brand. That takes consistent effort.
With mental health shifting so rapidly and playing such a large role in social media/public news today, brands may feel pressure to interact, make a statement, or debate topics. When there’s controversy or issues, consider the following:
- Respond in a way that’s authentic to the brand’s purpose. Be sure that any message created showcases the brand and is not a marketing gimmick. People can identify organizations that simply take advantage of current political conditions to build their presence.
- Repurpose marketing campaigns to address trendy or in-the-news needs. If your organization provides support for those facing drug addiction and there’s a recent news piece on the uptick in overdoses, utilize that as a way to reach people at risk, for example. Update marketing to match current trends positively rather than incorporating fear into your brand image.
- Start the conversation without taking sides. This proves vital in many organizations. Even if therapists have strong opinions on topics, don’t tell people what’s right or wrong. Offer a solution instead.
- Invest in employee mental health as well. What are you doing to support your first responders in a pandemic? Be sure that you are communicating what you’re doing to support your therapists within your marketing efforts as it fits your campaigns.
- Talk about new solutions and tools offered. Be sure your branding consistently follows what’s happening within your treatment centers. For example, if you’re launching a new, innovative program or therapy, be sure to update your marketing campaign to reflect that. Use these new launches as a way to build content, such as describing what it is and how it is beneficial.
- Make it clear how accessible getting help is right now. Many times, content resonates with clients, but they may not know where to go to get help. Be sure it’s clear how they can reach a therapist or obtain support as soon as they need it.
- Create engagement opportunities. When someone reaches out on Facebook or Instagram, have a system in place to get that person the answers they need. That may include incorporating automation within your CRM. It may also mean having someone available to questions outside of business hours.
Understand the Challenges in Behavioral Health Marketing
Why are marketing and brand-building so difficult? For some organizations, there’s a lot to overcome.
- Overcome stigma: NAMI points out that 1 in 20 people experience some serious mental illness. Yet, there’s still a strong stigma against getting help. Treatment centers need to tailor their marketing message to combat this belief to reach those who often need help.
- Limitations on awareness: Sometimes, people do not know there is help available to them. They may believe the care they need is simply out of reach or too expensive for them to tap into it. That’s yet another reason branding is so important – it helps people see the potential.
- Obtaining service may seem hard: Some people may not wish to reach out to treatment centers because they think they are simply unavailable due to the pandemic. Others may not realize their symptoms are something they can open up about because their medical providers may not have encouraged this.
- Digital marketing for behavioral health treatment is fiercely competitive. Google Ads clicks can cost hundreds of dollars per click, and shady practices caused Google to rethink how it approaches the industry.
Work to create brand marketing to address these areas while ensuring what you address meets your practice goals. For example, communicate the available services and how to get them through your brand. Can someone use a smartphone for a video conference? Is it possible to obtain service through telehealth if you don’t have transportation into the location? Rely on your differentiators to succeed in the competitive landscape.
How Software Fits into the Picture
The right software solutions provide the backbone to successful marketing and brand-building campaigns. They offer the tools needed to facilitate the entire process. For example, a CRM helps track engagement with the brand, letting you know what’s resonating with prospective clients and which sources are not delivering on the expected ROI. Lead source and attribution can also be tracked, providing insight into the most influential touchpoints.
Sunwave offers a comprehensive SUD treatment center software platform that covers admissions, clinical treatment, patient engagement, and billing. Take a tour of our solution to see how Sunwave can support your brand building and drive more patients to your center.