What do Marketing Ethics have to do with Physician Brand Management?
Most advertising agencies don’t address the marketing ethics behind physician brand management. And of all the things that are required of a physician in a day, from examining patients to paperwork, maintaining a ‘brand presence’ may never enter their radar. At present, the power of online ratings and social reviews makes it near impossible for physicians to ignore the potential growth that comes with managing their online reputation. Listings, SEO, regularly posted content, reviews- it all helps build positive brand impressions.
We’re not saying that every Tom, Dick, and Harry healthcare professional churn out content like Dr. Mike. But visibility and accessibility to patients are just as valuable as any form of recognizability. Introducing any kind of healthcare marketing strategy will:
- Increase your visibility
- Create a positive reputation
- Improve your competitive advantage
- Help you better understand patient needs and expectations
- Build a strong health services brand
- Educate the general public on healthcare
Let’s Get Ethical
While navigating marketing ethics, especially in healthcare, your message should always be consistent with reality and practice transparency in advertising health products or services. Those in serious pain and suffering are easily influenced when offered a promise to heal. Marketed information- digital, print, televised, endorsed- should never offer false hope or slander other healthcare professionals, products, and services. Misrepresentations, even ones as small as photoshopped images, abuse the trust of patients and followers, and falsify expectations.
When a healthcare professional or corporate entity manages brand reputation ethically, they have the platform to help educate their community on certain topics, like mental illness or preventative healthcare. It’s an opportunity to educate patients about common health misconceptions, complex procedures, medical successes, and strengthen the healthcare brand. Ultimately, your healthcare marketing message must always be:
- Rooted in truth
- More valuable than competitors
- Difficult for others to copy
To start developing brand management, every entity should at the very least:
- Become Accessible: Create or claim local listings with up-to-date contact and location information. With updated information that’s consistent across every platform, your accessibility skyrockets.
- Start Engaging: Post and manage social media content. When you control the digital presence of a healthcare professional or corporate entity, it allows you to set the narrative on who you are, and what sets you apart. Pick one or two mediums to focus on, and stay active online to show relevance, credibility, and memorability.
- Be Visible: Implement search engine optimization into everything you do online. Do your keyword research, create inviting meta descriptions, label your photos, etc. Make yourself seen by search engines.
- Show Variety: Introduce variety to your content strategy. We’re not saying that x amount of content per month is mandatory, but when you do post or publish, content needs to be relevant and varied. Not the same ‘Happy Monday’ fluff with no real message.
- Acknowledge Ratings: It’s no secret that ratings drive patient inquiries. “Today’s patient is not yesterday’s patient. Because access to immediate messaging is literally at patients’ fingertips, it doesn’t take long for word of ‘mouse’ to get around.” –Morley
- Grow Your Network: Build a strong referral network through solid research, planning, and resource allocation. With this and good communication, your network can become strong and sustainable.
Look at marketing ethics and brand management as an extension of yourself. You don’t break rules or violate patient privacy in real life. Why would you do it online? When you’re intentional about your brand, reputation, and digital presence, it will give you the acceleration to achieve your healthcare goals.
Quick Tips to Ensure You’re Marketing Ethically:
- Always follow marketing guidelines set by medical boards
- Remain HIPAA compliant
- Avoid superlatives or anything you cannot prove
- Don’t disparage, discredit, mislead, or discriminate
Healthcare Marketing With Red Crow
With over 20 years of experience in the healthcare marketing industry, we help marketing managers manage more. Contact us for a quick, no-pressure discussion on how we can help you navigate the ethics of healthcare marketing and physician brand management. We can’t wait to hear from you!