Among all the priorities of a hospital/health system CEO navigating the new healthcare landscape, such as care redesign, new partnerships, new payment structures, changing organizational structures and more, brand stewardship is likely low on the list, if on it at all. But this is a dangerous mistake.

The latest SPM Red paper, The CEO’s New Imperative: Guiding The Brand Through Disruptive Change, examines this increasingly important obligation for provider CEOs.

Changes throughout the healthcare system are propelling waves of disruption that threaten to stop any healthcare organization in its tracks if their CEOs do not prioritize brand stewardship. SPM examined evidence from other industries, such as information technology, and found that failure to claim and nurture a distinctive brand position, especially in the face of disruptive change, leaves organizations at great strategic and business risk.

For example, while Apple, Google and Amazon crafted new technology ecosystems that embraced changing consumer needs and wants, Dell, Intel and others maintained an “operations-improvement” focus that now relegates them to second-tier firms in the category, with 10-year histories of negative financial performance. The potential parallels are eerily similar.

Just as broadband disrupted the technology industry and fueled this power shift, the healthcare industry is experiencing its own disruptive change. Three important disruptions are:

  1. The Engaged Consumer with Fragile Brand Loyalty.
  2. Blurring Lines Between Insurer and Provider.
  3. New Classes of Competitors.

To survive this disruption, healthcare CEOs must aggressively steward their brand—grounded in a transformative business strategy—to help prevent their organization from being steamrolled by disruptive change.

The question then becomes how do hospital CEOs lead as brand stewards?

  1. Provide and direct organizational vision.
  2. Act as a trust builder.
  3. Empower employees.

Some more progressive healthcare organizations have begun to embrace brand positioning as fundamental to standing out in the “new healthcare.” A common mistake is viewing this discipline as solely a marketing/advertising initiative. Brand stewardship, especially through industry transformation, is the responsibility of the CEO and must be embraced, if not led, by those guiding the strategic and operational direction of the organization.

To learn the full story of the power of disruptive change and what CEOs should do in response, visit our Red Papers page to download your copy.

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Dan Miers

Chief Strategy Officer at SPM Marketing & Communications
Dan anticipates “what’s next” in our complex industry and keeps SPM on the leading edge of healthcare policy and strategy. A valuable resource to all SPM clients, his strategic insights focus how we understand and apply industry trends to client issues. With 20 years of experience, Dan has two master’s degrees in healthcare administration and finance, worked in business development at an academic medical center, and launched a healthcare technology company. He is also a frequent speaker at industry events and an active member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD).
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