Is There a Fresh Way Left to Advertise That Your Hospital Is in the Front Lines of Medical Science? Here’s a Surprisingly Engaging One from Galveston, Texas
// By Peter Hochstein //
If you’ve been involved with hospital advertising for a while, you’ve probably seen it all. Touching testimonials from patients telling what a hospital’s doctors did for them. Doctors explaining how they collaborated on a medical breakthrough. Pictures galore of high-tech tools, people in surgical masks, MRI images of brains, microscopic images of cells.
So how can you get out the story about your own hospital’s medical innovations—and still avoid the sense that you’re copying some other hospital’s campaign?
They recently found a new way to accomplish this goal at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
UTMB, as the hospital calls itself for short, is a 666-bed institution with three campuses, and outpatient traffic of more than a million visits a year. But its reputation was a bit mixed in 2015, and some of the less positive perceptions were outdated.
As Steve Campbell, vice president, marketing and communications at UTMB, tells it, research indicated that there were three different perceptions of UTMB. Those divided into segments he describes as “[They] love us,” “Who are you?” and “I don’t look at you guys as a leading medical center.”
Yet the hospital has some brand-new facilities and a history of doing advanced medical research, dating all the way back to its founding 125 years ago. Today it’s a leader in studying mosquito-borne infectious diseases. Its Galveston National Laboratory is one of the few with a Biosafety Level IV rating, the highest level for dealing with infectious agents for which there is as yet no treatment, such as Ebola and the Marburg virus.
But UTMB also serves the indigent and much of the state’s prisoner populations. This has somehow translated itself in some health care consumers’ minds as not good.