The national media is not always positive in its coverage on the care industry and can seem unremittingly negative. Stories abound of failed CQC inspections, irresponsible managers and neglected residents.
However, any care practitioner will know that this doesn’t always match the dedicated, conscientious and passionate reality of the industry.
The question that we must ask ourselves is: “how do we communicate the positive reality of our industry to the wider public?”.
More specifically, each business must find a way of articulating its values and what makes it both special and different from its peers.
Until an organisation can articulate what makes them credible and trustworthy, it runs the risk of having to answer for the sins of the unrepresentative minority.
Even without the threat of negative perceptions, communicating a strong brand message is still a necessity for any business that needs to find a voice in a crowded and competitive market.
Many organisations operating in the health and adult social care sector can suffer from the lack of a distinct identity and a way to communicate their values: the key cornerstones of a brand.
No two organisations are identical, and each has a unique set of principles which sustain the business. The challenge for industry professionals is to identify these elements within their own businesses, and find the most effective way to communicate them to the market.
Indeed, a brand isn’t something that’s simply created by a marketing team. Instead, it’s a way to communicate the core truth of a business. This is why a brand must reflect the deeply held beliefs and behaviours of an organisation: from top to bottom.
Many may assume that a brand is simply a logo and a slogan. This, however, couldn’t be further from the reality. A logo and written material are manifestations of the core values of a brand: what it stands for and the mission it has set for itself.
When these core elements of a brand have been determined, the more tangible elements, such as logos and messages, will naturally flow from them.
Whilst a strong brand can increase enquiries and sales, it is just as important to make sure that those messages are clearly articulated within the business.
When a company can explain its mission and priorities to employees, it can generate a sense of shared purpose and direction.
The feeling of reaching for a common goal is a large element of job satisfaction, and a strong brand can increase employee engagement and retention.
Every business, both inside and outside the health and adult social care sector, has the opportunity to consider what makes them different, and what they bring to their customers.
Building upon these unique elements and formulating a clear and consistent brand identity can generate a sense of purpose, authenticity and; ultimately; sustainable profitability in the long term.
Edna Petzen @LyndenConsult is the director and consultant at Lynden Consulting, a strategic management, marketing and communications company helping organisations develop marketing strategy, build and protect their brand, improve performance and achieve communication excellence. Find out more.