December Blog: Three Strategic Ways to Partner with Your Community to Make a Difference and Strengthen Your Brand

It’s no secret that local hospitals and healthcare facilities play a critical role in the success and wellbeing of a thriving community. Without access to local, quality healthcare, not only are individuals forced to leave town for even their most basic healthcare needs, in life-threatening situations, it could mean the difference in saving someone’s life. So why not lean into that idea and use it as a platform to not only strengthen the value of your brand but make a lasting impact in the communities we serve?

Although ideas for how you can partner with your local community – both big and small – are endless, here are three ideas to get you thinking –

Feature local people in your ads 

 Stock photography is an asset to any marketing department but it has its time and place. Breaking through the mold and featuring local people who have been impacted by your services offers a genuine and heartfelt way to tell your story. It puts a recognizable face behind your brand and offers an accurate representation of your market because – they are your market! Additionally, when you use a recognizable face in your ads, it creates a genuine and natural “buzz” about your ads as your local model shares the content with their social circles. It also provides that patient with a natural conversation starter to talk about their experience with their friends and family as well as makes them feel part of your family. It makes them feel proud every time they walk into your facility which again creates positive experiences for all. Not to mention – it ensures your content is one-of-a-kind!

 Join forces with a local business or non-profit that offers complementary services

When planning out a campaign, see if you can identify any local non-profits or businesses that offer complementary services to the services you are promoting. For example, if you are promoting your mental health services and you identify one of your market segments as teens and parents of teens, perhaps you can join forces with the local Boys & Girls Club to strengthen the message to both audiences. A partnership may include adding a challenge to the community to donate gifts to the Boys & Girls Club to support mental health programming. You can strengthen the message and instill your commitment to improving mental health in your community by offering a lead gift to kick off the campaign. It may also include designing a guided mental health journal that can be donated to every member of the Boys and Girls Club, complete with information on mental health services available at your facility inside the journal. Every time that student uses their journal, and every time a parent or community member sees the student using or carrying their journal, they will think of us. Not only does a partnership like this make a tangible difference, it naturally builds trust and awareness for our brand while allowing you to break through to a different audience in a meaningful way.

Ask an area business to donate towards a specific need that can be highlighted in a campaign

Creating opportunities for joint marketing that is meaningful, makes a difference, and strengthens your brand is a win-win scenario for all. The brands can build relevance and unique placements, while also pooling resources to share some of the cost. The experience your constituents receive as a result is far more meaningful than they would receive otherwise. For example, if you are planning a campaign to promote your chemotherapy line, consider asking a local business if they would sponsor the cost of creating “chemo care baskets” for patients when they start their therapy. The items in the basket could include self-care items that are unique to someone battling cancer. Through that partnership, the business that sponsors those baskets can include a card with well wishes and the reminder that their entire community is here to support them through this journey. As a result, when that patient receives that basket, it creates meaning and value for all who are involved. This again creates a natural “buzz” when those patients talk to their friends and family about the special touch your facility, as well as the business who sponsored the basket, put on a highly personal and vulnerable experience in one’s life.

If you are new to the idea of building community partnerships into your marketing – examples of these types of win-win partnerships could start with asking your local grocery store if they would sponsor a certificate for a free piece of fruit that can be given to every child who comes in for their child well visit at your Clinic. Not only does it bring business in the door for the grocery store, but it also builds positive associations for your brand when they receive that certificate as well as begins teaching them about the importance of making healthy food choices.

Once you have a community partnership built, you then have the opportunity to promote that service line with a different message that again, makes a difference and starts a meaningful ripple of “buzz” about your brand and what you stand for.

Miranda Greenwold
Director of Marketing and Community Relations
Black River Memorial Hospital
2022 WHPRMS President

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