This is part 5 of a series of blog posts from our case study about a project we completed with Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) to develop a comprehensive package that included a brand brief, messaging platform, and integrated marketing communications plan for their new clinically integrated [provider] network (CIN). (Read Part 1 here and download the case study here.)
Key #1: Have an inside champion and secure the participation of key client stakeholders
We were lucky in this situation to have a key AAMC stakeholder who quickly saw how Strategic Design Studio’s recommended scope and process would benefit their organization in a much bigger way than what the initial request could accomplish. She became an internal champion of the project and was able to address the organization’s questions and help build confidence in the approach.
“Ours is a tactically-driven group. Much of [the championing] was explaining why things take the time that they do, and why we need to secure input from as many people as we do in order to build a solid foundation.”—Carrie O’Meara, Marketing Strategist, AAMC
Participation of key staff and physicians was also crucial to the success of the project. This ensured that the discovery process would be useful and serve as a valid foundation for branding, messaging, planning, and content.
While the Strategic Design Studio team anticipated it could be difficult to secure the participation of physicians due to their intense scheduling demands, the doctors recognized it as an opportunity to ensure the marketing effort would support the investment they’d already made in the development of the CIN. They became actively engaged.
Still, the physicians and most of the participating staff are not marketing communications professionals. While the discovery process was unfamiliar to them, their participation in that process was pivotal.
“You facilitated the session in a way that people were comfortable speaking openly and honestly. They were able to connect the dots, see the impact of one sequence on the next, and provide really meaningful, valuable input.”—Carrie O’Meara
Key #2: Speak the healthcare language
It also helped that Strategic Design Studio has deep experience in the healthcare sector and could speak the language, which paved the way to credibility with AAMC’s internal audiences, including participating providers.
“Certainly, it’s much easier to work with people who understand some of the challenges, some of the restrictions, some of the regulations and some of the new answers.”—Josh Jacobs
“The CIN is a new idea in healthcare. Someone who could be forward-thinking enough to be able to capture that was important as well.”—Loren Farquhar
Several times throughout the project’s progression, the AAMC team had “light bulb moments” during which they came to understand more clearly the validity of the steps in the process and the importance of their participation. This not only made for a better end product, but also facilitated buy-in and trust when the team was asked to enter often unfamiliar territory.
“When people start to see it all coming together in the work sessions—that’s the fun part. It was nice to see the ideas come to life with our stakeholders.”—Carrie O’Meara
“It was really interesting to me to see the change (in participants) from being resistant to anything that was presented, to saying, ‘Wow! These people are really doing good work. What they say makes a lot of sense.”—Josh Jacobs
Key #3: Get an Outside Perspective
The AAMC team was admittedly too close to the project to feel they could be objective in carrying it out to completion. The outside perspective provided by Strategic Design Studio made it possible to gain additional insights while maintaining AAMC’s active participation and engagement. The result was a heightened sense of confidence in the direction of the project and the process outcomes than would have been achieved by keeping the project in-house.
“You did a great job clarifying things. It was helpful to have another expert, so it wasn’t just us—it was really somebody else asking questions and pushing for clarification. That was really, really helpful.”—Josh Jacobs
“We work outside the walls of the hospital—we are a different entity. An outside marketing group brings a fresh perspective that isn’t tied to the Anne Arundel Medical Center brand.”—Renée Kilroy, Executive Director, Collaborative Care Network
There’s one more post to come in this series. Watch for “3 Goals of Any Comms Effort: Efficiency, Consistency & Extensibility.”
And if you are launching a CIN or another initiative that needs anything from key messaging to an integrated communications plan, let’s talk.