In honor of Hospital Appreciation Week, I wanted to talk a little about hospitals. However, this post about powerful hospital brands could generate a lot of criticism. I know this going in. Yet I am still going to ask you:

What is a powerful hospital brand in America?

Do you think of Mayo when I ask this? How about the Cleveland Clinic?

I don’t. In order to understand my opinion, though, you need to know how I am defining a powerful hospital brand:

And based off of both volume and market share, neither of these brands – or any other hospital brand, for that matter – makes the cut.

Powerful Hospital Brands by Market Share

Of the two so-called powerful hospital brands mentioned above, neither of them are even among the ten largest hospitals in America.

If volume is a measure of brand strength, then the Big Two would be Florida Hospital and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which have relatively low national market shares when considering everyone across the country.

“So?” you say. “It isn’t fair that you measure the performance of hospital brands at a national level.”

Okay, then, let’s look at it regionally. In Orlando, which is essentially a two-hospital town, Florida Hospital was battling Orlando Regional with 52.1% market share at the beginning of 2014. And in New York City, New York-Presbyterian — the largest hospital in America with 2,207 staffed beds — is competing against many other large New York hospitals.

Powerful Hospital Branding Tactics

I know what many of you are thinking now:

Powerful hospital brands cannot be measured solely on market share.

And I agree with you.

But my point is this:

Whatever market you are in, your market development strategy should not be to position your brand against Mayo or the Cleveland Clinic (unless, of course, you happen to be in Rochester or Cleveland).

Hospitals are local in nature and, for the most part, the vast majority of patients travel less than 50 miles to seek a hospital provider. This is not Nike vs. Reebok for world domination. This is Community Hospital vs. Memorial Medical Center for local market position.

Then What Is a Powerful Hospital Brand?

The fact is, there are no powerful hospital brands in the U.S. (This is where the criticism begins.)

Even in Cleveland, the renowned Cleveland Clinic has less than 50% of the market share. It is battling

  • Fairview Hospital,
  • MetroHealth Medical Center, and
  • University Hospitals

for quality bragging rights. And all four have strong quality management programs. In fact, they have all been named a top 100 hospital in recent years.

What all of this means to me is pretty simple:

There are no powerful national hospital brands because hospital brands are measured at the local level. This means that a small local hospital can actually create a more powerful brand in their market than a large, well-established hospital can in theirs.

How to Become a Powerful, Local Hospital Brand

Because the local market is where you want to shine, smart hospitals –regardless of size – are tearing a page from the Mayo/Cleveland Clinic playbook. In other words, they are creating a customer experience built around quality and service.

Even if I don’t think they are “the most powerful hospital brands,” I obviously admit that Mayo and the Cleveland Clinic are held in high regard across the country. That is why they are good role models even if their reputations don’t translate into king-of-the-hill kind of market share numbers.

  • They are both intensely focused on what their brands mean.
  • They work hard to deliver on their reputations.
  • And they have been doing it for years.

The lesson here is that powerful hospital brands are not built overnight, and they are never built nationally. This means that the most powerful hospital brand to you is the most powerful hospital brand in your own market.

So now the question becomes simple:

Is that hospital brand yours? If not, then you need to figure out a new strategic approach in order to get yourself there.

At AchieveIt, we understand the challenges faced by healthcare organizations because we work with eight of the ten largest nonprofit health systems in the UN in order to help them achieve their goals. We help health systems across the country track and effectively manage progress against their most strategic initiatives, from QAPI programs to DSRIP.

If you want help managing your strategic plan so that you can actually execute on it and see results, then check out the AchieveIt Execution Management Software.

Meagan M. Flores
Meagan M. Flores
Meagan M. Flores is the Vice President of Marketing for AchieveIt. A genuine 'problem-solver', when Meagan isn't nose-down in the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, you can find her leveraging her expertise spanning early stage startups to mature growth enterprises to comment trends and best practices related to strategy development and execution, leadership and revenue marketing.