Posted: July 13, 2017

You've worked hard to build your healthcare brand with a carefully curated identity and messaging. Now it's time to ensure it stays relevant with consumers along the peaks and valleys of their healthcare journey. Rolling out a consistent style and tone across your brand's communications is of utmost importance if you want to maintain credibility with your customers and remain responsive to their needs and wants.

This has always been a challenge, especially with multiple channels to consider and multiple teams or team members acting as the voice of your organization. The good news is, in a modern-day digital world, actual tools exist to help you shield your brand and stay authentic, no matter where your message is received. Read on to learn six best practices for brand governance in healthcare that may actually make your life easier, for once:

1. Get stakeholder buy-in. Don’t assume you need consensus from just the marketing team and C-Suite. You have to include the front lines as well, those day-to-day users and operators that do the actual communication with your consumers. When everyone can weigh in and agree on the rules and boundaries from the start, ensuring those guidelines are followed will be much easier.

2. Incorporate collaboration models. Marketing is complex. With multiple channels and content being used in a variety of ways, doesn’t it make sense to have models in place for your internal teams to contribute and share resources? You also need a system for tracking changes and naming versions so the most accurate and up-to-date images or copy is easy to find and use.

a. Don’t forget to include a medical professional in the approval process for your health content. This ensures that your content is consistent with medical thought leadership and no “bad advice” gets published by mistake.

3. Create workflows. Other than having a system in place for versioning and review of short-term and long-term campaigns, you need to be ready to spin and produce timely content when the inevitable occasion arises. Be sure to create workflows for producing both proactive and reactive content. These are different processes, and knowing how to handle a PR crisis or your organization’s take on potential flu outbreak before they happen means more time to focus on sensitive messaging rather than which brand guidelines are applicable or which stakeholders need to be involved.

4. Verify accounts. With the prevalence of social media “check-ins” and reviews, creating a process for handling rogue accounts or locations is crucial to managing your modern brand’s identity. Essentially, if a Facebook page or location is accidentally created to be associated with your brand, it becomes open to comments and reviews, which you can’t manage if you don’t know exist. This problem can be time consuming but isn’t insurmountable with the right help.

5. Establish user roles. All digital accounts – for whatever martech is in your stack – need clearly defined user roles to help manage things like editorial control and even who can view PHI. By setting up guardrails for general users, reviewers, account owners, etc. you can keep better brand consistency and avoid old logos being revived, imagery being used in the wrong context, or breaking any other rules you’ve outlined.

6. Create brand and digital media guidelines. Robust brand guidelines are nothing new in marketing, but as new channels emerge and the digital media landscape continues to shift, creating a central repository for the rules that define your brand’s identity is more important than ever. And if these guidelines can be built into your technology, even better.

a. Brand guidelines ensure a consistent message with the approved visuals. These can be carried over from traditional marketing guidelines, in many cases.

b. Digital Media guidelines provide guidance on what types of content to post and when, ensuring the code of conduct is followed for every channel.

Brand governance for healthcare in today’s digital world goes far beyond keeping your style guide on point. With industry-specific rules and regulations to follow, plus adhering to the legal requirements for advertising medical services, products, and devices, you need a keen sense of judgement and the ability to stay agile as new channel and messaging opportunities occur. You need to be able to hold firm to your organization’s identity while continually trying to better your consumer engagement efforts.

Keeping track of every aspect of brand governance, especially across multiple channels and outputs, is certainly challenging, but using a digital quality management (DQM) tool that helps you better control regulations and compliance can ease some of the burden. To learn more about DQM and brand governance across your website and the digital sphere, read our white paper, Choosing the Best CMS for Healthcare.