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Show ‘em what you’re made of: Using awards as natural marketing tools
Show ‘em what you’re made of: Using awards as natural marketing toolsYour commitment to service is outstanding, doctors and staff are top-notch, and patients have never been happier. And you’ve got the awards to prove it! Consider going beyond the usual gold-plated plaque, and boost your credibility (and, buzz!) by truly embracing your achievements.

Take some tips from Peggy Klaus, an author on the art of self-promotion. Klaus states that using awards to endorse an organization isn’t bragging, but rather “it’s about becoming more of who you are and bringing forward your best parts with authenticity, pride, and enthusiasm.”

We believe that modesty is a worthy virtue, so consider publicizing your accomplishments as part of your overall marketing mix. Here, we’ll outline a few tips, without going overboard:

Stress the importance
Many hospitals and healthcare organizations have accolades abound, so what makes your award(s) any different? When posting your awards in-house or online, consider accompanying each with a detailed description of:

  • How the award was won and under what conditions
  • How the award is a reflection of doctors and staff
  • How patients benefit from awarded services/characteristics each day

Go the extra mile and involve doctors, nurses and other staff members personally. Take a photo of each employee holding the award, then beneath the photo include his or her answer to the sentence: “To me, this award means ______.” Post the photos and answers in the lobby, waiting rooms, or online blog. Also consider including their responses on individual physician rack cards.

As a follow-up, allow patients to submit their own photos, videos or comments, detailing what the award means to them. It will be a great way to spark a two-way conversation and build positive buzz. Send each patient who voluntarily participates a thank-you gift: an imprinted, magnet or travel mug, emphasizing what a “star” patient they really are.

Make it news
We understand that sometimes it can be difficult to classify an award as a “news” story. If you’re worried about the press not picking up your story, up the news ante by:

  • Pairing the award with a recent procedure or technology advancement. This will not only draw attention to your organization’s cutting-edge practices but also shed some light on your recent achievement. Write a news release with this angle, and release it two-fold: traditional media (newspapers, magazines, radio) and new media (website, blog, social sites, Twitter). Then house all such releases online in a specific section for easy access later. Keep the web address of the main awards page handy on popular giveaways like pill dispensers, Secure-ink Pens and medicine spoons.
  • Taking a human-interest angle. Did a certain doctor or patient have a large part to do with the award? Was it an exceptional staff member? By focusing on people rather than an award, you’ll likely hit a feature-story note. Not to mention, shining the light elsewhere is a great way to ensure employees and customers feel appreciated. Pitch this story to applicable departments or publications that have a history of running this news format.
  • Holding an event…dedicated to patient and customer achievement. After all, without them, you never would have earned the award! Show your gratitude by holding an afternoon soiree, complete with banners or reusable displays highlighting hospital achievements that couldn’t have happened without a supportive customer base. Not only will customers feel valued, but you may also draw community, new-patient and media attention.

Whether you’ve just received the first of many awards, or are looking for more ways to gracefully self promote, these tactics are sure to spread the word of your success. We look forward to hearing about your next award!

Klaus, Peggy . Business-Know-How. 2003. 22 Dec. 2008 <http://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/brag.htm>.

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