Over lunch today, Carol explained how to play dominoes, a highlight of her fun-filled weekend at the lake with friends. Apparently, there are new games that are quite complex, but one thing hasn’t changed at all: after the leader sets the game in motion, the inevitable chain reaction follows. It struck me that – in dominoes and in organizations – every “move” by every “player” affects the final outcome and ultimately connects back to that first play of the game.
For healthcare organizations undergoing a rebranding effort, this “domino effect” is more than an analogy – it’s a certainty that impacts the ability to deliver an authentic brand. We believe most rebranding strategies falter not because they are poor ideas or ill-conceived, but because they fail to consider the characteristics and influence of organizational culture and leadership behavior.
Here’s what I mean:
We all know strong brands create value for healthcare organizations by building emotional bonds with customers. Emotional bonds build preference, which leads to utilization. At Dobies Healthcare Group, we help our clients understand that a brand is defined and delivered by the culture of the organization – and the culture is guided by the organization’s strategic intention. Strategic intention is important because it tells everyone within the organization how to realize its brand promise.
An achievable brand platform is built on the foundation of the strategic intention. The brand platform becomes authentic when the organization’s brand promise (what is communicated) aligns with the brand experience (what is actually delivered via daily operations).
Organizations often fall prey to aspirational or unrealistic brand platforms, whereby goals are too far from customers’ current brand perceptions to be believable. This does not mean companies shouldn’t set goals for enhancing the brand over time. However, the entire organization must be mobilized and empowered to deliver emotional and functional customer experiences that together form an authentic brand platform.
For organizations to sustain change, they need leaders that pursue brand platforms and develop cultures in alignment. It is through this alignment that organizations, and their people, create emotional bonds with their customers. And win at dominoes.