Refining Your Brand: Setting Yourself Apart and Telling the World

By The SHSMD Team posted 01-04-2022 04:43 PM


Tampa General Hospital has always been an essential part of the community; a trusted resource that delivered world-class care. As TGH’s capabilities have grown, they needed to educate their community and the world about the advanced care now available.

“Our branding and messaging previously were pretty similar to everyone else in our market,” explains Allison Pondo, Assistant Director of Marketing and Consumerism at Tampa General Hospital. “It focused on lifestyle and connection. It was very warm and comforting, and we really only focused on our service lines in our digital.”

However, there was something missing. “There were just no true differentiating features in the marketing,” she adds. “You really could slap any competitor’s logo on these ads and the consumer probably wouldn’t be able to know the difference.”

The goal in rebranding was to influence perceptions, changing the adjectives people had in mind for TGH.


Identifying Your Unique Brand

The first challenge is to find what sets you apart from your competitors. Consider your past and present. Messaging for the rebranding must be relevant, clear, and it must align with the intended audience. Stakeholders, vendors, partners, and outside agencies are helpful in refining your new brand voice.

“We have this foundation, this rebrand of who we are today,” Pondo summarizes. “We have to continue to ask ourselves, ‘How do we keep building on that?’ and keep it fresh and keep it new, while maintaining that overall look and feel that have performed so well and truly differentiated us from the rest of the market.”

Helping Your Brand Gain Ground

Once the unique brand is established, make and take opportunities to spread the word. “Earned media, exclusive stories, specialized stories, whatever we were doing, we wanted to make sure that information was getting into the community,” elaborates Jennifer McVan, Senior Director of Marketing & Communication.

Promotion and audience connection is important both internally and externally. TGH produces an internal newsletter to keep the team apprised of developments, opportunities, and messaging. There’s also an internal portal that provides updates on the COVID-19 statistics for the hospital that more than 8,500 team members can access. Coupled with the COVID-19 updates on the public website, TGH provides a consistent, cohesive communications message on this topic.

Making good works known through earned media helps further your reach. The TGH team pitches service line and patient stories with press releases and press conferences. They keep an ear to the ground for opportunities to promote the brand.

Making the Most of Social Media

Social media is a fantastic means of promoting your brand. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are all useful platforms, but each has its own quirks and specific audiences. For example, LinkedIn is very business-oriented while Facebook is excellent for storytelling. Keep the audience in mind before posting or cross-posting. McVan notes, “We’re making sure we’re communicating the right way to the right audience.”

Storytelling is excellent for social media. It engages people. Keep a human component in every post. Connect with patients who share stories and seek permission to reshare the best representatives of your brand.

“Engagement is truly the key metric when it comes to our social,” adds McVan. “We are never posting just to post. Even when we’re messaging about our service lines, we always want to do it in a really creative, out-of-the-box way.” By engaging with the community and world via social media, your brand becomes more well-known and respected.

“If they don’t know you, they can’t choose you.”

Alison Pondo
Allison Pondo
Assistant Director of Marketing and Consumerism at Tampa General Hospital

Learning More

  • This blog was based on Alison Pondo, Jennifer McVan, and Jennifer Crabtree’s presentation titled “World Domination: Our Journey to Elevating a Brand and Reaching a Worldwide Audience” that took place at SHSMD Connections Virtual Conference, October 19-21, 2021.
  • Stay tuned for the 2022 SHSMD Connections conference September 11-14, 2022 in the DC area. The call for proposals is no open. Click here to submit a proposal.