healthcare branding

Healthcare Branding: Consistency is Key — Here’s Why

Why Institutions’ Healthcare Branding is So Critical Today

For healthcare institutions, a consistent brand appearance is essential — not only to build trust with your patients, partners, and employees but also to promote your role in maintaining the health and wellness of your communities.

The importance of healthcare branding has been growing steadily in recent years, as the current era has been increasingly defined by newfound levels of patient choice and consumerism in the healthcare space. This increased consumer choice has put the onus on healthcare providers and organizations to find ways to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.

Consistent branding in healthcare is one way to carve out a distinctive niche. As healthcare brands expand in their respective communities, the potential for fragmentation of the branding message increases. A healthcare system in a specific community might have one or more hospitals, physician offices, urgent care facilities, specialist offices, and rehabilitation centers among its locations in a single market. A consistent healthcare branding approach across each of these formats will help patients identify with your institution despite their specific in-the-moment needs.

Your healthcare branding needs to build and inspire trust in the people it wishes to serve. Healthcare systems are pillars of their community. People seek out these services in order to solve problems or when the worst happens. Nowhere is a foundation of trust more vital than in healthcare where patients are often literally putting their life in your hands. Consistent branding, in particular with certain aspects like emergency signage, is instrumental in instilling that your organization is a resource — a dependable part of the solution — rather than simply a service provider.

Hospitals, and greater healthcare centers in general, are in greater need now more than ever. The view of hospitals as not just a place to treat sickness but also as a hub or bulwark against public health emergencies. Hospitals have become rallying points and places to learn the latest information about epidemic and pandemic spread in a community. If these essential places are leading to negative experiences, patients will seek other — more reassuring — options.

Essential Elements of Healthcare Branding

Helping Patients and Visitors Know Where to Go

Wayfinding signage is a critical aspect of your healthcare branding approach that directly affects patients — no matter their station in life or the problem they face when visiting your facilities. Positive experiences with wayfinding signage will lead to a greater chance that people will return to your facility thanks to the ease of finding their way around (directional wayfinding), identifying certain areas in your facilities from others (identity wayfinding), and understanding certain aspects of your institution learned during the visit (informational wayfinding).

Wayfinding signage is critical for every healthcare campus throughout your footprint. Being able to navigate a hospital — from the ICU wing and radiology to visitor services and nearby restrooms — will dramatically affect how patients and their families view your institution. People shouldn’t be losing their way while trying to find loved ones or festering frustration trying to find different departments in your facilities.

The quest for clarity: Learn how Stratus developed a complete interior signage program for Quest Diagnostics, including installing more than 1,000 signs and 2,500 interior digital brand assets at several locations. See our work right here.

Being the Light for Those That Need It Most

Lighting systems will also play a critical role, as they help ensure the safety of everyone who visits the grounds and exteriors of your healthcare campus as well as the interiors. You may have excellent wayfinding signage, but without the proper lighting to showcase those efforts, it results in a half-measure only. You want everyone — patients, their families, and your own employees — to feel safe and welcomed at your facilities. Exterior lighting shows you have their concerns about safety in mind, and interior lighting shows your facility is committed to improving their experience.

Consistent healthcare branding addresses all of these needs and does so across your entire footprint. But a failure in even one of these areas diminishes the public perception of your institution.

However, with proper brand elements in place and in good condition, your healthcare institution becomes something more. Your facility becomes “my hospital” for those who’ve had positive experiences at your facilities in often trying circumstances. Patients want to know what to expect when they visit healthcare facilities. Consistent branding addresses both.

Shining a light on safety: Learn how our energy services division helped a major brand revitalize its lighting to create more positive customer experiences and improve safety at multiple locations. Download the case study here.

First Interactions Offer Focus Starting Points

Exterior Signage

The first glimpse any new patient has of your healthcare facility is often your exterior signage. What does your image and messaging convey? Is it similar or in line with the other exterior signage in your footprint? Is it in working order? Does it tell those who need medical services that you care about your appearance and role in the community, or does it make them wonder if you’re closed, in financial difficulty, or aren’t concerned with the appearance of the brand?

It is essential to be proactive in maintaining all exterior signage so that it not only looks good and gives a clear, concise message but also functions properly 24/7/365. Ambulances and other emergency personnel, patients rushing to your facility on their own, or friends and family coming to check on the well-being of a loved one all need to be able to count on those beacons when they need it most.

At Stratus, our facility and sign preventive maintenance programs identify and address any signage outages or damaged exteriors before they create negative impressions. You’ll ensure your signage is properly illuminated, clean, and functioning at a high level with our own internal team as well as our proven network of more than 2,300 field partners.

Energy Management

We’ve already mentioned the importance of lighting on your patients, visitors, and employees, but effective energy management and analysis are central to the success of those systems. For example, your existing lighting systems could be original to the structure — meaning they may be using outdated lamps, ballasts, or other components. This creates dull, weak lighting while also adding to energy costs. Additionally, your exterior lighting may not effectively illuminate all the areas it needs to — making outside spaces less secure and making reading signage or navigating parking garages and walkways difficult.

Ensuring you have an effective energy strategy not only helps reduce costs for your institution but also increases the safety and utility of your facilities and spaces for patients, employees, and others. Together, this demonstrates your commitment to making your healthcare facility welcoming for all and strengthens your brand in your community.

As a dedicated energy partner with more than 13,000 such projects completed in 2019 alone, Stratus will design a custom program to serve your needs. From LED retrofits and energy audits to photometric analysis and control systems, our services will not only maintain these crucial systems but will also identify potential saving opportunities.

Wayfinding Signage and Experiential Graphics

From the second someone — such as a parent with a sick child or a weekend athlete with a sprained ankle — pulls onto your property, the importance of consistent wayfinding signage is evident. They have to find their way to the proper parking lot or garage. They’ll need to find the proper entrance or maybe the right floor to address their specific needs. At each step of the process, there are multiple types of wayfinding signage that must be considered.

When customers and employees are informed on where to go and are able to identify different parts of your facility, they’ll feel more comfortable and ultimately get where they need to go to address their specific needs or problems. These experiences will build a deeper connection with your institution and brand, and creating these moments is what Stratus achieves in each and every project.

Our program management expertise and in-house signage manufacturing capabilities enable us to craft industry-leading solutions — no matter the size or complexity.

Your interiors are more than just a collection of wayfinding signs, however. There are waiting rooms, offices, and hallways that patients navigate from one area to another. In these group areas, you have an opportunity to showcase contributions from the local community in the form of experiential graphics, as hospitals can also serve as cultural, artistic, and communication centers for the areas they serve.

Interior Refresh and Remodel

Attention to detail on your interiors also includes making sure they’re clean and inviting to visitors. Do they need a remodel? Are the waiting rooms looking dated or showing wear and tear from years of use? Are there effective social distancing measures in place? Is your healthcare brand taking advantage of interior design trends that promote tranquility and comfort while also providing an inviting environment that showcases your commitment to your patients and visitors?

With our refresh & remodel services, Stratus can help revitalize your healthcare brand with full lifecycle management. Our team specializes in a variety of refresh and remodel services with quick turn-times. Our refresh services are ideal for short-duration, high-volume programs where a large number of sites need updates to get up to brand standards.

Disaster Response

Lastly, part of your healthcare branding strategy should be to showcase how dependable and necessary your institution is should the worst happen in your community. You want people to know you can be counted on when a natural disaster hits, for example.

If your healthcare brand experiences damage in such a case, you’ll want a dependable solution in place — just how those in the community turn to your services in a time of a medical emergency. At Stratus, we support companies across the country with recovery programs and services to protect and re-establish your brand assets.

As a part of our response plan, we closely monitor the situation around storms and other events that put your brand at risk. If you’re in one of the affected areas, our Disaster Recovery team will notify you to brief you on what to expect and the next steps. We identify regions and establish dedicated lead technicians who will respond in the target zone. After the event has passed, we visit each of your impacted locations and generate a detailed damaged elements survey to provide repair estimates. In most cases, our team will begin work within 24 hours of the disaster.

Consistency is essential in healthcare branding, and with the right program in place, all these important brand interactions will be maintained to ensure everyone who engages your healthcare brand has a positive experience. And with Stratus as your partner, you gain a national field partner network, proven expertise in the healthcare space, in-house sign manufacturing, and more.

Contact Us to Accelerate Your Healthcare Branding

At Stratus, we adhere to our commitment to finding ideal solutions amid infinite possibilities for our clients with proven expertise as the leading brand implementation company in the country.

With our high-touch approach and decades of industry experience, we’ll guide your project from the idea stage to completion with our specialized team at the helm to deliver the solutions you need to execute your healthcare branding vision.

Contact us to learn how we’ll make your healthcare branding consistent, impactful, and a reflection of your goals.