June 28, 2018

Living Your Organization’s Brand

This is a story of my home, a tennis ball, and one construction worker who changed my perspective about brands.

About 14 years ago, I built my dream home, surrounded by sidewalks, mature trees and neighbors I only dreamed were possible. Early morning bus stops are crowded with my son’s playmates, Sunday afternoons pass slowly over pick-up ballgames and burgers, and someone is always at the ready to grab the mail if I’m traveling. Situated in a quiet cul-de-sac, our home meets and exceeds our needs.

Until the beeping began. About two weeks ago, the cement trucks and back-hoes rolled in to begin construction on the two remaining lots in our neighborhood…which, inconveniently for us, are directly behind our little slice of paradise.

Oh, the beeping. I can’t begin to describe the beeping of the construction vehicles seemingly to perpetually be in reverse. The beeping begins promptly at 7AM…EVERY MORNING and doesn’t stop until 7PM.

Twelve. Straight. Hours. Of. Beeps.

Just when I thought I could take it no more, when I thought we would be forced to temporarily move ANYWHERE, this morning happened. As we were getting ready to leave for the day, off to school and work and get away from the beeps, we heard it…whistling. One of the construction workers, casually greeting his day, was whistling.

And the annoyance and frustration melted away.

In another life, I had the privilege to work in a hospital system whose tag line is “Called to Serve.” Each associate is empowered to live this each day – and translate that expression into their work – with patients, physicians, coworkers, visitors, and volunteers.

One afternoon walking the halls, I heard someone softly singing. A member of the housekeeping team was going about his day, scrubbing scuff marks from the floors with a tennis ball he’d attached to a broom stick. I watched him for a while, curious how someone could so thoroughly enjoy cleaning the floors. And I asked him.

He smiled and told me this is his way to serve. Scuff marks are an annoyance and the tennis ball/broom stick trick saves his back. The singing? Well, it calms patients to hear a happy voice.

Why would I mention these two gentlemen in the same breath? It isn’t because they both enjoy their work, though they clearly do. It’s because they accept ownership of how their work – and demeanor – impact others. And because they choose to live their organization’s brand.

Successful brands consistently empower employees to live their organization’s brand. To internalize the meaning of the brand, then choose personal ways to express the meaning.

Taking it a step further, the most successful health care systems empower employees to personalize the brand while consistently placing the patient at the center. And while many work toward patient-centered care delivery, many struggle to create and grow a patient-centered brand.

I know, I know. This isn’t a new concept.

In this post, we apply the human-centered design process to create a more patient-centered brand.

In this post, we share step-by-step how to put yourself in your patients’ shoes to experience your services and brand from their perspective.

And in this post, we share 15 ways to make your website patient-centered.

Developing your brand as more patient-centered can take many different shapes. For some, the website needs a refresh. For others, it’s adopting a new way of thinking. And for others, it’s simply remembering to turn down the volume of the disruptions and turn up the volume of things that bring joy.

I hope this leaves you whistling.