No Scripts, No Actors, No Sets: Geisinger’s Anti-Hollywood Video Approach to Brand Journalism

September 15, 2022

Patients speak from the heart about their health care experience at Geisinger in unscripted videos shot from their hometown. “What’s more powerful than that?” asks the health system’s marketing chief.

// By Marcia Simon, APR //

Marcia SimonWe’re all storytellers these days. Well-told stories have the power to influence behaviors and decisions.

We tend to “lend an ear” to our neighbors. Community experiences matter, which is why tapping former patients from small towns and cities across a vast geographic service area made perfect sense to Geisinger for its Better Health, Easier brand campaign.

Don Stanziano, chief marketing and communications officer, Geisinger

Don Stanziano, chief marketing and communications officer, Geisinger

Geisinger comprises 10 hospital campuses, two research centers, a college of medicine, and a 550,000-member health plan. The system serves more than one and a half million residents in central and northeast Pennsylvania, many of whom live in rural areas. While Geisinger enjoys strong brand preference and awareness in its markets, it recognized the need to draw more distinction with its competitors for specialty care and make a stronger connection to the communities it serves.

“We wanted to hold a mirror up to our communities so that people could see themselves in the stories we share,” says Don Stanziano, Geisinger’s chief marketing and communications officer. “These are very personal stories, some may be even somewhat uncomfortable, and yet our patients were willing to open up and invite us into their homes and talk to us on camera about some of the most challenging moments in their lives.”

Stanziano admits that it took some effort to find patients with the types of stories that fit the strategy and who were willing to open up for a video project that includes TV ads and social media.

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