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What 'Mad Men' Can Teach Hospital Marketers

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, May 30, 2012

Your past doesn't (have to) matter
Much of the first three seasons of Mad Men revolves around Don Draper, the charismatic, adulterous, mysterious, agency creative director trying to cover up his past. (Don't worry, there will be no spoilers here, but come on, we're already on season five.)

Suffice it to say, Don does a little rebranding campaign of his own (wink, wink), reinvents himself, and achieves substantial success.

Many healthcare organizations often find themselves in a similar position. Either their predecessors made bad decisions that resulted in a poor public reputation, or the brand simply doesn't stand out from the competition and resonate with the community.

Luckily, hospitals that change their names and reposition their brands tend to have a much easier go of it than Don.

Some recent examples: Cheboygan Memorial Hospital will now be known as McLaren—Northern Michigan, Cheboygan Campus after the organization filed for Chapter 11 after a reported loss of $7 million in 2011. McLaren Health Care bought the organization in April and is in the process of rebranding. Leaders are confident this rebranding and restructuring will spark a turnaround for the hospital.

Similarly, St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, CA, recently changed its name to St. Joseph Health, St. Mary, in order to reflect its move toward stronger alignment with its parent health group. A spokesperson for St. Mary's, which joined the 14-hospital system in 1992, said the name change is part of an effort to strengthen network among St. Joseph hospitals so that they can better share resources.

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1 comments on "What 'Mad Men' Can Teach Hospital Marketers"


Rob Rosenberg (5/30/2012 at 1:21 PM)
Don Draper also suggests that "image is everything." That's a bit of the 1960's for sure. Today, brand marketers are seeing that transparency, genuineness, and corporate responsibility also pay big dividends. Wonder what Don would say to that?