Hospital marketing

Hospital marketers share tips on campaign imagery

Aesthetics are a key component of any healthcare system marketing campaign, as visual imagery elicits emotions and memories that the public will associate with the system.

Below, five health system marketing managers give their advice on strategic aesthetic choices for campaigns.

Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited slightly for clarity and style.

Laura Young. Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Southeast Georgia Health System (Brunswick). Images / representations of patients and consumers should be more inclusive and reflect the diversity of America’s ethnicities, genders, ages, body types and lifestyles. This reflects a more accurate picture of our country’s demographics and would most likely be of interest to consumers who feel they have been ignored or left out in certain marketing messages.

In this sense, I prefer to use the image of a real patient rather than a model, no matter who the patient is or how he appears. Stock images that use male or female models in their twenties to portray doctors lack credibility. While these images are appealing, they can be oblivious to older patients who view doctors as authority figures. It is important to represent physicians of various age, gender and ethnicity groups.

Although commonly used, ‘lifestyle’ images and TV commercials of people laughing exuberantly when promoting medical screenings (colonoscopies, etc.), serious drugs and medical treatments have become clichés and no longer exist. not sound true to reality. No one laughs when they meet their doctor to discuss a diagnosis. Again, this is a callous and inauthentic approach to testing and treatment that many people fear. The right images would deliver a message of hope and allow people to take control of their health without appearing patronizing, gloomy, or fearful.

The majority of Gen Z embrace multiculturalism and changing gender roles and body types. The Millennium Market has a clear idea of ​​when they are “sold” or when a message lacks authenticity. Tattoos and multi-colored hair have become common for these generations and this is what they want to see reflected in the messages sent to them. Baby boomers are said to refuse to age, but most are more realistic and appreciate images that reflect their life experience.

When our team is unable to use “real” images, we always strive to use authentic yet sensitive images.

Suzanne Bharati Hendery. Head of Marketing and Customer Service at Renown Health (Reno, Nevada). Visual images increase the emotions in all of us. Our brains are wired this way. Emotions and the way the brain processes them make us feel and react. At Renown, our marketing features strong, positive and colorful visual images that celebrate diversity and a bold attitude – the best in all of us – to create a deeper emotional connection to our brand and the experience.

Kary McIlwain. Head of Marketing and Communications at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. At Lurie Children’s, we avoid any image that could compromise a patient’s privacy. We do not display readings on monitors or electronic data or other medical data that may contain protected health information.

We also avoid overly dramatic medical images. Life and death situations, as well as surgical or injury details, are avoided. As a children’s hospital, our optimistic nature drives us to focus on solutions, not problems.

We never use stock images in any of our exterior facade work. All of the people we feature are real patients, families, teachers and staff. Our guiding principles must be authentic, inspiring and inclusive, showing real patients who represent the diversity of our market.

Kimber Severson. Marketing Director at Sanford Health (Sioux Falls, SD). It is important to listen to consumers and use the information from market research to guide the direction of your healthcare marketing campaign. This will help you avoid using cookie-cutter images or visuals that won’t resonate with your audience. So many elements and approaches can work – emotion, humor, education – as long as they are genuine.

Gabriel Bershadsky. Assistant Vice President of System Creative and Design at Mount Sinai Health System (New York City). Inauthentic images / aesthetics should be avoided for healthcare marketing. For example, avoid patients and doctors looking directly at the camera and static shots.

Pictures tell stories. Studio shots offer no context for real patient situations. Have a strong story to tell with a purpose, without the need for sound or copy, while being visually effective on all platforms – traditional, digital, print, web, social media, etc.

Avoid photography that offers an overly optimistic perspective, as opposed to forcefully throughout the patient’s journey. Additionally, avoid photographs that depict certain procedures that may be perceived as distressing, visually unappealing, or fail to present authentic patient experiences. Defaulting needles or causing visual distress by viewing certain procedures, such as a skin or internal organ biopsy, is not a good idea.

Imagery should avoid a lack of diversity, but keep in mind that diversity shots should not be forced. Images should also display appropriate branding elements without forcing them. This includes signage and clothing, as well as the appropriate visual expression of the brand’s values, voice, vision and attributes.

Finally, do not wear unprofessional attire and follow hospital or health system policies.