El Camino Hospital is an independent district hospital in the heart of the Silicon Valley, but in the shadow of Stanford and multiple Kaiser facilities. Research showed that the hospital had a reputation for excellence in nursing, a friendly environment, and was the place to go for labor/delivery or minor medical issues. They were not seen as a destination for acute care of more serious diseases. However, world-class physicians were attracted to the organization because they were able to innovate and operate with the patient’s best interests in mind, thanks to the nimble, independent environment. So while the public didn’t know it, the hospital actually offered world-class care in several acute care areas that provided them a competitive advantage.
We developed a multimedia “Serious Care” campaign featuring elite oncologists and cardiovascular specialists who deliver innovative, world- class therapies and procedures not typically available in a community hospital setting. The look, feel, and tone of the ads was bold and serious — a huge departure from their previous campaign, and from typical hospital marketing. The campaign is still running, having lasted for almost 10 years, evolving to show teams (rather than single doctors) that consumers can count on for advanced care. This campaign is used in print, broadcast, online, public relations, and in employee and physician communications. And the “Whatever It Takes” brand positioning is extended into all other communications through tone and attitude.
Results (studies conducted FY09 and FY11)
- Positive shift in consumer perception of “overall quality of care” over three years (+8 points)
- Key messaging points showed significant consumer perception shifts
- Empowering doctors to innovate (+13 points)
- Being a hospital where medical breakthroughs take place (+9 points)
- Empowered to conquer the challenges of health care (+8 points)
- Service line sub-campaigns performed exceptionally well
- Men’s Health: Increased preference among men in one year (+14 points)
- Heart: Percentage of people citing ECH as “excellent” increased (+7 points) in three years, and market share increased (+3 points)
- Gyn/Onc: Percentage of people citing ECH as “excellent” increased (+10 points) in three years, and market share increased (+12 points)
- Physician referrals increased 32% in a three-year period
- Physicians pushed the administration to be featured in the campaign, and new physicians sought to associate with the hospital
- Competitors expressed admiration for the campaign to hospital administrators, and conveyed angst over its power
- While there was internal concern that consumers might find the look “offputting,” research showed that perceptions increased for “friendly and caring employees” and “quality of nursing care”