How Do You Know When You Have a Brand?

At an Innovator’s Studio work session for Chief Marketing Officers, someone asked guest catalyst Kent Seltman (recently retired Mayo Clinic CMO) about the difference between a brand and a well-known name.

“You know you have a brand,” said Seltman, “when you can leverage it to gain something.” It’s a great insight, and poses a question that healthcare CMOs should stop to ponder: is your brand an asset that can be leveraged for competitive gain?

Many health systems have invested in brand building. Some have succeeded in creating stronger brand identity. A few have improved market position. Only a handful have fully realized the substantial, measurable advantage of a fully activated brand strategy:

  • Strong brands influence consumer choice
  • Strong brands attract and retain the best talent
  • Strong brands create contracting, partnering leverage
  • Strong brands shape referral patterns
  • Strong brands build customer loyalty
  • Strong brands better weather economic cycles

On his blog, author Seth Godin described a marketing asset as a “tool or platform, something you can use over and over without using it up. In fact, it’s something that gets better the more you invest. Running an ad is an expense. Building a brand people trust is an asset.”

Godin goes on to explain that Amazon’s marketing assets are two: “a brand people trust, and a one-click shopping relationship with 50 million people.” Can you boil down the essential elements of your brand’s competitive strengths in such a distinct fashion?

The charge to CMOs is an unwavering focus on driving growth – a great brand provides powerful leverage to do so.

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