Build Digital Experience Into Your Brand, Reinforce Customer Experience Mindset, and Deliver ROI
// By Mike Reinhardt and Phil Harding //
Delivering your brand promise through digital channels is obviously important to marketers at hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare organizations today. But what does delivering brand promise through digital really mean, and more important, how do you execute that delivery?
We believe digital brand management is trending toward systems we refer to as Digital Experience Guides, which are integrated into Brand Centers, ensuring all digital experiences work together to deliver a truly holistic customer experience and brand promise. Brand style and feel should be consistent and properly delivered via your digital properties, such as your hospital website(s) and mobile applications. While this is one aspect of delivering brand promise, we like to think of brand promise as an “experience.”
Experience rightfully implies a larger context, to include all things a customer sees, hears, and thinks about your brand. Customer Experience (CX) is the commonly used term to express the overall impression of the company in both digital and physical channels. CX has become even more critical for healthcare systems as focus has shifted toward the end consumer from the organization.
Sounds pretty easy, right? Every organization talks about customer first or customer experience in its mission statement. So why is it difficult to truly deliver on that customer experience or brand promise? From a digital perspective, you have a proliferation of devices that continues to expand. Think wearable devices in addition to the Web, tablets, and mobile devices. From an organizational perspective, consider that at a minimum you have brand, marketing, technology, product, and others departments developing messaging, tools, and other vehicles delivering brand impressions, not to mention agencies, third parties, and contractors that may be involved.
Keeping everyone aligned on the customer experience to deliver cohesive experiences in the physical and digital realm is a huge challenge!
Leveraging Best Practices
Most organizations try to leverage best practices within their industry, and learn from other industries as well, where innovation is changing the basis of competition. For healthcare organizations this means drawing on many resources and best practices. Shifts to personalize care and consumerism reinforce the opportunity to integrate successful innovations for many processes.
Significant evidence of this trend comes from our many years implementing brand management websites for clients in a broad range of industries. Every organization has a brand, and ideally there is alignment of the people, processes, and systems to manage these brands. Otherwise, unpredictable and most likely “off brand” actions can result. In our experience, there are varying levels of commitment to managing these critical brand management processes. In all cases, we find a desire to learn from the successful best practices of others, and this seems to be particularly true in healthcare.
Aligning Digital Experience
As a first step to delivering brand-aligned digital experiences, organizations need to break down traditional silos, particularly between the brand and marketing teams and the IT development teams. Everyone should be focused on delivering the best customer experience. We often hear that marketing owns the public experience and IT owns the experience behind the login. That is crazy! It is all one experience and we are all working toward the same goal of making the customer happy. It’s not that organizations aren’t trying, but change is often difficult to implement in large organizations. Customer experience needs to be embedded into every team, certainly as a cultural aspect, but even as a physical representation within each team.
We are not so naïve as to think organizational alignment is easy or solves all problems, but all groups in the organization should have the customer experience mindset.
Providing the tools to enable a cohesive customer experience is perhaps an easier way to help drive organizational and brand alignment. Most organizations have brand standards that are enforced either in physical or digital form. But as digital has expanded, keeping that cohesive implementation is challenging. You have numerous and disparate teams working on multiple digital properties.
There have been great strides in the tools space to enable better standardization and collaboration—brand centers, pattern libraries, digital asset management systems, and more. While in some respects these tools have helped, in many cases they have actually exacerbated the problem. There are so many tools that redundancy and integration problems have arisen. The point is to make your developers’ lives easier, not more complicated.
Ideally, to deliver on the brand promise, or better yet deliver on customer experience, organizations should ensure the brand, design, and digital development tools and processes are centralized and used by everyone in the organization. They need to integrate with tools that teams use today, such as brand management sites, Adobe Experience Manager, Code Pen, and InVision.
From a management perspective, measurement of return on investment is a benefit of using these tools and applications. The use of guidelines, downloadable code, and prototyping can be measured and compared to current practices. These tools capture all the activities by users and report back to site administrators how often each task is performed, and calculates the time and economic value compared to legacy systems. From our clients’ experiences, these monetary benefits range from $10,000 to more than $100,000 per month or more, depending on the size and complexity of the organization. The following matrix provides ranges from actual data.
Sample Return on Investment Measurements
Digital Experience in Practice
An excellent example from another industry, financial services, offers a guide for healthcare. Capital One Brand Online Toolkit — Guidelines Print illustrates the level of detail needed in today’s multi-channel, multi-device environment. Capital One has numerous digital properties and needs across the organization. Its design system or digital style guide has created tremendous efficiencies, while ensuring user experience is consistent across all digital channels.
The point is that brand and customer experience are synonymous. A cohesive experience is critical to accurately reflecting your brand for your customers. And ultimately, building the right processes and tools will help drive desired outcomes.
Mike Reinhardt is Senior Director, Brand Strategy at Monigle Associates in Denver, Colorado. He consults with organizations to develop digital media products, systems, and services to enhance client brand management processes. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil Harding is Director, Digital Experience at Monigle Associates. Phil has worked in technology and digital for 20 years. He is passionate about helping companies become more efficient and standardized in their approach to delivering digital experiences. Contact him at email@example.com.