How to Position Yourself When You’re Needed, but Not Wanted

Edenspiekermann positioning in healthcare final

Brands have a hard enough time making themselves heard, let alone building and maintaining a loyal following. The challenge is real.

What if, however, you operate in an industry so riddled with a reputation of shameless profiteering and overly-corporate and dry communication styles? Take for example, insurance, and health service providers. How could companies in these industries make themselves heard in a way that not only inspires, but also maintains their most loyal customers?

Patients or visitors of a hospital as well as family members seeking care for their loved ones do not particularly look forward to it. These are emotional experiences that rarely include positive anticipation within the user experience.

While purchasing dental, car or home insurance — or even adjusting a pension scheme may not be as emotional as a hospital visit, it is similar in the sense that it’s done out of necessity.

The similarities don’t end at necessity:

  • Providers in these industries struggle with trust issues leading clients to be latently skeptical of their offer.
  • The service providers in these industries are dealing in fundamentally unpleasant or even frightening situations such as car accidents, illness, theft or old-age poverty.
  • Complex issues are combined with historically cumbersome and bureaucratic processes, resulting in a toxic mixture of insecurity and frustration for the user.

While all this may sound quite devastating at first glance, in essence the solution is very simple.

Stop trying to make yourselves look good. Instead, focus on solving your customers’ problems.

We already know that brands are not defined by their logos, but by the products or services they offer. However, people often forget to bring that knowledge into action. To be successful, brands need to stop investing their energy in logo refinements and campaign slogans and instead start to work on making sure that every and any encounter with their products and services is worthwhile for their users.

Imagine you are a company offering car insurance. Why not consider putting some (actually, a lot of) thought into making the accident experience as seamless as possible? For the customer, being in an accident is a stressful crisis situation. Yet, for your company it is an enormous opportunity to leave a lasting positive impression in their minds. This is the moment where a customer may or may not recognize that he or she should switch to the competition. If your company is able to do things right, a personal relationship begins through which you can transform yourself from a necessary commodity into a brand that they are happy to recommend to friends, family and colleagues.

We have faced similar challenges alongside our clients — let’s take a look at Helios, Europe’s largest private clinic operator, for example.

When we worked on the relaunch of their brand and websites, one of the fundamental steps we helped Helios to take in their transformation, was to change their communication strategy. We helped them change it from an inward-looking and even self-congratulatory perspective, to one that focused on actually helping their patients and fulfilling specific, albeit immediate needs.

All content, the website, apps, and even the service in the hospitals were refocused towards usefulness and a great user experience. In the course of this process, we developed a comprehensive design system with principles, guidelines and building blocks for various fields of application. This allowed for the comprehensive change to be implemented quickly and consistently in all areas of the company. And in the end, this systematic, user-oriented approach with a human touch was a great success. Not only could hundreds of websites be launched within just one year thanks to the design system but also, the redesigned sites were received far more positively than before. So much so, that page impressions rose by 80% during the first eight months after Helios relaunched.

To quickly summarize: Even in difficult environments where your brand deals with the necessary evils of the world, positive brand relationships can be established and maintained with a holistic approach to digital brand management.

So what are you waiting for?