Competition in the health care software as a service (SaaS) market is wicked. The good news is that demand for these cloud applications is soaring. How can your fledgling company edge out prominent competitors?
One solution is branding.
Branding is how customers perceive your company, your products and your services. Apple’s iconic branding focuses on emotions – how people feel while discovering and using the company’s products. It’s not about a cool logo or catchy tag line. It’s the message you’d like to integrate into every aspect of your customer-facing sales and marketing activities.
Let’s explore three rules of the road for successful branding:
1. Be consistent
It takes time to develop a recognizable brand, especially when you’re competing against health care SaaS companies that have loyal customers. For that reason alone, you must be consistent. Your brand should be visible and reflected in your sales and marketing materials, on your social media channels, in your office and in your team’s interactions with prospects and customers. Even your email signatures and prerecorded phone greetings should reflect your brand.
Consistency in action
The Simons Group developed and maintained a successful brand for Morrisey Associates Inc., a health care software company, over 30 years. When the company formed in 1987, it had no branding or recognition. At that time, the hospitals that Morrisey wanted as customers used on-premises software and the regulatory environment was vastly different than it is today.
We took a deep dive into Morrisey’s business to set the stage for a comprehensive branding and marketing plan. Our team interviewed Morrisey’s principals to understand the firm’s audience, goals, challenges and industry. We also researched the firm’s competitors and spoke with industry experts about the challenges health care leaders faced.
Based on our intensive research and discovery process, we developed a full brand identity for the company, including its colors and logo. This identity incorporated Morrisey’s culture, voice, message and personality. Next, we created a style guide for Morrisey’s brand. The guide included specifications for colors, fonts, logo applications, copy and marketing collateral.
With a brand identity and style guide in place, we created Morrisey’s business cards, stationary, brochures, ads and newsletters. Morrisey’s principals shared the style guide with all employees so they would reflect the brand consistently in their customer-facing sales and marketing activities. We subsequently “baked” the brand into every digital and print initiative.
As Morrisey grew and health care evolved with new regulations, law and business challenges, the company began offering SaaS applications. We freshened the firm’s branding, which included updating photography, but kept the core message to maintain the company’s recognition.
2. Play up your differences
Branding helps to differentiate your company from your competitors. What makes your company special? What makes your products and services unique and valuable? Do you respond to your customers’ pain points in a way others don’t? Capitalize on how you do things differently.
Differences in action
Morrisey had competition in the physician credentialing and privileging software market, but focused on relationship building rather than product differentiation. Everyone at Morrisey – from the CEO to the receptionist – welcomed and sought customer input. The company also partnered with customers to develop new applications and enhance existing software. Customers felt like they were part of the Morrisey team because they served on advisory boards, helped determine the agendas for user conferences, served as early adopters and worked with Morrisey’s developers to create products for new business challenges.
3. Build credibility with content marketing
Content marketing is another powerful opportunity to demonstrate your brand and industry expertise. First, you’ll want a content marketing strategy to ensure you sell your company’s story to the right people, at the right time and in the right way. Once you have a formal plan, you can roll it out on a consistent schedule. Yes, there’s that consistency thing again! Be sure that your content follows the tone you established for your brand.
If it’s done well, content marketing can make your company approachable and trustworthy. It should add value for your prospects and customers and give them reasons to engage with your company. Get them thinking by tackling fresh topics that no one else has covered; address their pain points by offering unique solutions; reveal how your company is responding to industry changes; and share tips and resources they won’t find elsewhere.
Content marketing in action
The Simons Group created extensive content for Morrisey’s target audiences across digital and print platforms. Our team shared Morrisey’s story through videos, blogs, newsletter articles and other interactive content that focused on customers’ business challenges and Morrisey’s solutions. We stuck to a consistent schedule and stayed on message, reinforcing the company’s brand every step of the way.
Throwing out facts and information doesn’t capture an audience or its attention: We helped the company connect with people and build relationships through exceptional storytelling. This strategy created a ready market and audience that was eager to receive more high-quality, custom content.
What it takes to be irresistible
If you want people to flock to your company, you need to give them reasons to depend on you. A jaw-droppingly good logo is just a logo. While it might look impressive, it’s not going to transform your company into a lead magnet. You need to do the hard work upfront and plant the seeds for what people think about your organization with a strong brand that’s “baked” into everything you do.