Akron General Health System wants to be known for its listening skills and recently launched a marketing and consumer-engagement campaign titled, “My Health. My Life.”
“Because Akron General’s goal is to understand the health-care needs of each member of the community, the campaign was launched to communicate this,” says Gina Page, senior account manager/PR with Hitchcock Fleming & Associates (hfa).
Research conducted by Akron General and hfa showed that individuals in the community want a health-care system that listens closely to what they have to say and works collaboratively with them to share important information about their health. The campaign is helping start conversations to achieve the health-care system’s goal. “Our new campaign revolves around education, empathy, collaboration and meeting the wellness needs of everyone at any age,” says Thomas Stover, M.D., president and CEO of the Akron General Health System.
Akron General has thousands of employees and T-shirts were given to them to leverage the staff as brand advocates and to promote the new tagline. “It’s been a huge momentum builder as the positioning is something that every Akron General associate truly believes in,” says Page.
Marketing teams at Akron General and hfa designed the multi-tier campaign that included print, local and cable TV, social media, radio, online, outdoor, paid search and sponsorships. The initial TV spot debuted in April, but some elements of the campaign began in late March.
Be sure to contact your distributor partner to develop your own effective campaign that will lead to successful results.
When it comes to promoting a cause, marketers are finding that it’s best to get specific. Targeting certain customer segments and using signature cause products is increasingly popular among nonprofit and charity organizations looking to engage consumers and corporate sponsors.
Whether it’s LiveStrong’s iconic yellow bracelet, or the American Heart Association’s (AHA) red-dress pin given as a thank-you to those donating to its Go Red campaign (focused on women’s heart heath), these products not only give donors something tangible for their gifts, but are something of a badge of honor that gives them social currency with friends and family.
“It’s about awareness building, and strengthening affinity with that cause,” says Anne Erhard, vice president of cause branding and nonprofit marketing for the firm Cone, which developed the Go Red effort. “Within these campaigns are a lot of areas for consumer segmentation,” she adds. Cone has helped the AHA develop several targeted campaigns, including the Power to End Stroke, aimed at African Americans, and Start!, urging physical activity for the general American population.
For-profit companies both large and small are promoting their cause-marketing efforts through similar strategies. Blue Sky Scrubs, which sells stylish scrubs for female health professionals, announced in mid-September that it would donate a fashionable hospital cap to a cancer patient for every set of scrubs purchased.
“We just recently started promoting this charitable aspect,” says David Marquardt, CEO of Blue Sky Scrubs. “We realized that it was kind of a growing area and we wanted to make as big of an impact as possible.”
The economy has certainly presented challenges for the nonprofit sector, but it remains a major user of promotional products. Organizations like Autism Speaks offer full online stores that not only offer ways to donate and support the cause, but segment their messages for the time of year (Autism Speaks recently targeted its message around a back-to-school theme).
Indicative of the growing significance of marketing in the nonprofit sector, the American Marketing Association recently hosted its first Senior Nonprofit Marketers' Summit in Chicago, bringing together 18 top executives from American Red Cross, AARP, United Way, American Lung Association and others to discuss strategies.
“The nonprofit sector has always been a vibrant, but not always well-recognized, marketing sector,” says Cynthia Currence, chair of the conference. “If ever there was a time to use all the levers that are available, it’s now, and marketing has been a perennially underused function for these organizations.”
But while these marketing areas are growing, charitable events remain a mainstay for nonprofits seeking to strengthen their appeal. “Events are the most traditional outlets nonprofits use for promotional items, but the ways they are using them are changing,” says Erhard. “Now you find sophisticated pop-up stores, rather than just a T-shirt. Also goodie bags at the end of the event, and promotional tents co-sponsored with corporate sponsors, with co-branded items and products and sampling.”