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Integrating Digital Design in Health Care

A Case of the Common Challenge

Creating integrated designs across traditional and digital media can be daunting for hospitals and health systems that are battling marketing budget cuts, lack of centralized resources, or even lack of resources at all. While we pretty much understand how to leverage design and messaging across traditional venues, the challenge is to extend the work across myriad of digital platforms. And this delivery of your message must be seamless across all venues to best represent the brand to your consumers.

First, a clear understanding of the patient journey is required to capture the relevant traditional and digital touch points in need of brand integration. The first several steps in the patient experience set the tone and inspire confidence throughout the entire journey. That’s because if the patient experience is fluid and clearly represents your brand, then all the touch points along the way are in harmony and the result is an engagement that is truly satisfying.

So, how can you effectively evolve your brand from traditional venues to digital media? Here’s the prescription for this case of the common challenge – equal doses of continuity, consistency and connection:

 Continuity Among Internal Stakeholders

This is the foundational step and sets the expectations of what’s to come.

  1. Develop Your Brand Strategy
    • Conduct research among key stakeholders
    • Capture their current beliefs
    • Identify their aspirations
  2. Overcome Internal Challenges
    • Develop an execution strategy
    • Rely on your sequencing plan
    • Have proper resources in place, going externally if needed
    • Anticipate the politics
  3. Build Your Arsenal
    • Develop graphic standards
    • Create brand book
    • Prepare and provide templates across commonly used vehicles
  4. Market Your Marketing Internally
    • Clearly communicate your brand to internal audiences
    •  Instill the need to maintain a unified look across everything
    • Provide resources to be used when executing
    • Communicate results internally and explain their relevance

Consistency of Message

Message consistency begins with a well-crafted, concise brand brief. The brief serves as a blueprint for all internal and external folks who will develop any communication for the brand.  It is important to understand how to effectively develop brand briefs that account for the full suite of communication materials.

  1. Before Developing the Brief: Some important pre-work is necessary to understand the latest about your organization, your target audience and your competition:
    • Conduct a SWOT
    •  Update target profiles and trends
    • Assess competitive landscape
  2. Aligning Brand Strategy: Make sure your internal leadership agrees to the key components of your brand and affirm that it is relevant to your patient prospects:
    • What are the personality traits of your brand?
    • How do your patient prospects feel after engaging with your brand?
    • What are your most important, differentiating functional benefits?
  3. The Creative Brief: For optimal messaging outcomes, make sure your brief addresses these key areas
    • Objectives
    • Target Description
    • Key Consumer Insight
    • Main Message
    • Support Points
    • Tonality
    • Mandatories
    • Considerations (such as the need to work for future digital executions)
  4. Looking Forward
    • Review and refresh on important organizational / brand standards and themes prior to embarking on developing any new materials
    • Evaluate previously created materials when creating new elements
      • Ensure consistency
      • Determine which elements of messaging and design have been most effective, are most “on-brand” and should be maintained moving forward

Connecting The Brand To Where Your Consumer Is Engaging

Creating a holistic approach that creates an emotional connection needs to consider both traditional and digital tactics. Here’s how you can begin to approach this from a design perspective:

  1. Identify Distinct Visual Elements
    • Develop a list of visual cues to consider for use across your messaging that alert your target to your brand
      • Fonts
      • Colors
      • Design elements
      • Headline treatments
      • Photography style; subject matter; composition
      • Copy length and placement
      • Execute strategically
  2. Maintain your key equities as you evolve into the digital space
    • Key distinct visual elements
    • Tonality
    • Messaging
    • Embrace Digital Universe
    • Lead with user experience
      • Responsive design
      • Content and conversion best practices
  3. Consider current on design trends that may warrant evolution of your digital creative

So, there is a cure for the common challenge of communication integration across traditional and digital media. It requires a thorough brand check-up, strong oversight and equal doses of continuity, consistency and connection. What’s worked for you brand?


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