“Brand is Simply Trust”

Call it a refresh or repositioning, either way health systems must adapt to the rapidly changing landscape they operate in. Whether clinical innovation, shifting payment responsibility, new sites of care, or price/quality transparency, the challenge is to seed renewed brand value across the consumer lifespan. For many, this means reengineering their brand strategy to accommodate different customer value expectations.

As Steve Jobs said, “brand is simply trust.” What’s the benefit of gaining the consumers’ trust? A brand serves as a magnet in your market and beyond – the stronger your brand, the more people you will attract to your organization, and the stronger your hold on them will be. Brands build customer loyalty, reduce marketing costs, shorten the patient acquisition cycle, improve pricing power, and attract new patients.

Problem is, in healthcare, we have a real problem with brands, because we have a real problem with trust. Hospitals don’t trust health plans. Health plans don’t trust hospitals. Physicians don’t trust either one. And in the absence of trustworthy data and information, patients are placing their bets with friends, family, and the internet.

For the past ten years, ReviveHealth has studied trust in healthcare and its impact on brand. The results from our 10th annual Trust Index – coupled with other data and insights – paint a challenging picture for health system brands:

  • According to the National Research Corporation, the number of consumers saying they trust hospitals dropped nearly 10 percent – to 61 percent – over the past five years. Everything from your marketing message to which channels you leverage will impact consumer trust.
  • The consumerization of healthcare means the customer is starting to take the reins, and consumers’ trust in the reliability of information sources is rising. In Deloitte’s 2015 Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers, 52 percent of respondents reported searching online for health or care-related information. Consumers are defining the path to purchase as well as the path to loyalty. They are discovering preferred healthcare resources, and reviewing, recommending, and referring them on their terms.
  • According to Forbes, 79 percent of consumers surveyed are more likely to provide personal information to a trusted brand. If your health system wants to maximize the benefits of personalized marketing through your CRM, CMS, marketing automation and EMR platforms, building trust will be critical.
  • From our 2016 Trust Index, we found that while insurance executives on average believe 44 percent of the claims they pay will be from value-based care in 2016, hospital executives believe only 11 percent of their revenue will come from value-based reimbursement. That’s a significant gap, and could have implications on everything from your physician engagement strategies to how strongly you go to market with a “value-based” or holistic health brand position.

Organizations across the country are trying to move from volume to value, trying to embrace population health management, trying to be valued for more than just treating the sick and injured. Health systems are striving to build health and wellness brands. Without bridging the Trust Gap, these efforts will struggle to flourish.


Test your knowledge of the Trust Gap for a sneak peek of who is winning (and losing) the game of trust in healthcare.

December 13, 2016
Subscribe to the Weekly Hash

A compilation of supremely hashtagable content for strategists, marketers, communicators, and brand enthusiasts – all focused on healthcare.