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A ’Magnet’ for Attention

Kandace McLaughlin, for HealthLeaders Media, April 23, 2008

Click to play video.After a few years of consumer research and trial and error, Southern Ohio Medical Center had found that its most effective marketing centered on patient and professional testimonials. However, when they won the prestigious Magnet Award for nursing, they discovered that incorporating the awards into their plans made them a ‘magnet’ for attention.

Southern Ohio Medical Center decided to take a testimonial spin on announcing the Magnet Award to the community it serves. “Rather than having one of the hospital executives come out in a suit to talk about how great [Southern Ohio Medical Center is] we decided it would be really great to let the nurses do it—since they were the ones who earned the honor,” says Robbie Kemper, creative director and CEO of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s agency KGB Advertising, Inc located in Cincinnati.

The hospital selected community members for the TV and radio spots that were created. The ability to be featured was given out as a reward for those internal members who did the work to make the award possible for the facility. Overall, reaching beyond their normal emphasis of marketing particular service lines proved to be a positive internal communications move. “We’d hear from the community ‘enough, what about the rest of us?’ Most of what we’ve marketed has centered on the heart and cancer service lines at Southern Ohio Medical Center. This allowed us to do a campaign that was an all inclusive representation of the professional internal community,” says Kemper.

By using real nurses and professionals, and by having them speak one-on-one with the potential patient/consumer, Southern Ohio Medical Center manages to grab attention and community appeal with the simplicity and sincerity of their ‘heart to heart’ message. As Kemper said of the focus group’s reaction to the TV spots, “There has yet to be a focus group that doesn’t know someone featured in one of the spots. In one focus group a woman said, ‘that can’t be a real nurse, she looks like an actor.’ Another woman spoke up and said, ‘no, she’s real, she’s well known in our community and if she says this facility is good than that’s good enough for me.’ What could be better than that?”


Kandace McLaughlin is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. Send her Campaign Spotlight ideas at kmclaughlin@healthleadersmedia.com If you are a marketer submitting a campaign on behalf of your facility or client, please ensure you have permission before doing so.