The Mayo Clinic started over 140 years ago in Rochester, Minnesota. Today it is not only the leading health care brand in the U.S., it has built an exceptional reputation internationally as evidenced by patients from all over the world who entrust their care to the Mayo medical community.
Numerous competitors have built staffs of arguably equally competent professionals but have been largely unable to challenge the perception – if you want the very best in health care – check out the Mayo. You might ask why and my answer will come from my personal experience.
No matter how confident a person may be, the diagnosis of cancer leaves one feeling incredibly vulnerable. The world is awash in opinions from both professionals and those who have your best interests at heart. But, ultimately, in whom do you place your trust and your life? My cancer was discovered by a surgeon who advised that I get a second opinion as to the best course of action to take.
The second surgeon came highly recommended and his institution was well respected. His approach, while not entirely impersonal, was what might best be described as “efficient.” I experienced no real empathy toward me as an individual in terms of my feelings of fear and uncertainty. However, I am smart enough to be willing to forgo warm, fuzzy feelings if he or she is the best person for the job.
As I pondered my decision, I encountered a passionate advocate for the Mayo brand, my neighbor, Jim Troutfetter. Not exactly a shrinking violet, Jim virtually told me that if I did not get a third opinion from the Mayo Clinic I was brain dead. Yes, he was that straightforward and passionate. Within two days, I was at the Mayo getting ready to be seen by a physician who I was told was one of the most respected ear, nose and throat surgeons in the world.
Let me pause here for a quick brand lesson. When brands are strong in our minds it is because they not only provide us with value but they reflect our values. Price, packaging, promotion, place and the people who represent the brand, all make up the equation upon which we base our decisions. My values are such that I am willing to pay for a superior quality product that is accompanied by superior service.
Because of my medical coverage a decision for the Mayo was going to mean considerable extra expense (it was out of network.) As my health was on the line, however, there were other considerations upon which I put a very high value.
I wanted to not only know (reputation) but feel I was in the best hands. Did this doctor care about me, David McNally the person, the individual still in a state of disbelief that this was all happening to him? Would this doctor go beyond the diagnosis and be reassuring, build my confidence and, ideally, give me hope that I could come through this successfully?
The answers to all these questions was a resounding – yes! Whilst the other surgeons and their institutions were undoubtedly competent and whilst it would have been far less expensive to have chosen either one of them, it was the behavior of Doctor Kerry Olsen and his team at the Mayo that left me with the conviction: their competence would be matched by their caring.
Since my surgery over a year ago I have returned to the Mayo for check-ups several times. I have not been disappointed. They embody one of the key characteristics of strong brands – consistency. Now, are they perfect – no! Being on time is certainly not one of their strengths. But when your brand is strong you have a lot of what is called – brand equity. The customer will be very forgiving because the experience of value is consistently so high.
Every organization says it offers something special. Successful organizations deliver something special. Long before the word brand had any cache, the founders of the Mayo knew that its reputation would be built by its patients. The patient, therefore, became its central focus. The patient experience was the common purpose to which leadership, physicians, clinical operations, scientists and support staff was aligned.
That is called – CEEing the Brand!
Aligning – Corporate brand – Employer brand – Employee brand