Starting in late July, Stanford Health Care launched an advertising campaign that communicates the 'relentless ingenuity' of Stanford Medicine physicians. In these documentary-style ads, Stanford Medicine physicians share medical innovations and advancements in television, radio, print and digital mediums. With no voice-overs or paid actors, Stanford used its own physicians for authenticity.
"We did extensive research with consumers in identifying the most powerful messages and in validating our executional approach," says Deborah Italiano, executive director of marketing for Stanford Health Care. What the research showed was that people choose to receive care at Stanford based on the expertise and experience of its physicians.
"We have the best physicians who are known around the world for their expertise," she says. The campaign illustrates the innovations, new discoveries and advanced treatments that patients can expect from Stanford Health Care.
"The commercials demonstrate that, in addition to great technology, Stanford offers its patients a great health care team composed of professionals with complementary expertise who put their skills together to provide the best possible patient care," says Max Wintermark, MD, professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology.
Many of Stanford's competitors have focused their ad messages on the theme of caring, but often use voice-overs and paid actors. Stanford wanted to show consumers a different kind of care. "There is a spirit of 'relentless ingenuity' here," says Italiano. "Our physicians are not discouraged by failure or satisfied with their success." The campaign is designed to show consumers that by choosing Stanford, they will have a better chance of a positive outcome.
"My narration provides a better connection with a 'real' physician/surgeon, which is much more compelling than an anonymous voice-over," says Gary Steinberg, MD, who is featured as one of the physician faces of Stanford Health Care in a television ad. "This is a very effective marketing strategy. I have already received lots of positive feedback from viewers."
More than 25 Stanford Medicine physicians have been featured in this initial round of ads. The ad campaign will be long running, with new ads featuring new physicians added to the mix on a continuing basis to maintain a news approach. To determine the effectiveness of the campaign, Stanford will be regularly tracking its progress on brand perception relative to its competitors.
"Highlighting issues and concerns of patients was key to this campaign," says Iris Gibbs, MD, associate professor of radiation oncology. "The message that Stanford innovation improves a patient's experience was very effective. I think that messages that come from real people with a specific message resonates with patients."
Ads raise awareness of new name
With the unveiling of our new name, this is a particularly opportune time to advertise to consumers, Italiano adds. "The advertising will increase awareness and establish our new name, and help drive traffic to our new website, which was recently launched. In this way, we can connect potential patients with our physicians."
The timing of the campaign also coincides with the expansion of Stanford Health Care, which continues to grow substantially in many areas—inpatient care and clinics, specialty and outpatient centers, affiliated physician practices, virtual care, as well as health plan and accountable care offerings.
"All of this expansion gives us much more capacity to provide consumers access to Stanford quality care," says Italiano.