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Informing the Community with the Community

Kandace McLaughlin, for HealthLeaders Media, May 28, 2008

Click to watch video.A campaign for Fremont (NE) Area Medical Center has taken a different approach to improving community awareness. By featuring well-known community members and patients, quick facts, and T-shirt incentives, Fremont is improving community knowledge one microsite hit at a time.

"The competition is formidable and active in the market area," says Jerry Hobbs, vice president of healthcare marketing for Fremont's agency, Prairie Dog, in Kansas City, MO. But pressure from a large local competitor wasn't the facility's only challenge. Fremont was also struggling to fight a preconceived community notion that a smaller facility couldn't be as good as a larger one. "We needed to make sure that the community understands all that Fremont can offer,” Hobbs says. “Our challenge is to reveal some of the surprisingly advanced capabilities of the medical center.”

Focus group research confirmed members of the community didn't know about the services and technology at Fremont. The team concluded that the best way to reach out to the community was with members of the community.

The hospital chose patients and well-known community members based on their alignment with service lines and forms of technology. "We chose the service lines based on our strategic plan," says Jackie Beaton, director of public relations, marketing, and volunteer services for Fremont. "Also, robotics are unique to the hospital, so we wanted to make sure to showcase that as well."

The campaign creative included print, billboard, TV, radio, and life-size stand-ups of the featured patients that hold brochures. The language and messages throughout the various materials gave quick facts with the intent of driving curious consumers to the campaign's microsite landing page. The landing page shows all of the featured patients alongside their testimonials.

Visitors can take a quiz on the campaign facts to win a free Fremont T-shirt. "We wanted this campaign to be fun and also wanted to make sure the community was aware of our services," Beaton says. "So we decided to add a fun quiz. Whether you're right or wrong you receive the right answer and still can receive the T-shirt." According to Beaton, it was really about reinforcing the campaign's message.

So far the results have been positive with over 250 t-shirts requests and more than 2,000 hits on the landing page and to the TV spots which are posted on YouTube. Interest and hits will continue to be monitored throughout the campaign.


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.