Brands have traditionally been viewed as verbal and visual manifestations that are designed and developed to represent organizations and their products and services offerings.
Successful branding initiatives result in the establishment of appropriate and effective identities and associated representations (e.g., names, logos, slogans, and other identifiers) for healthcare organizations and the products they offer to target audiences. Because brands are used by customers to recognize goods and services and, significantly distinguish them from competitive offerings, the importance of branding and associated identity management activities cannot be understated. To assist marketers in their efforts to design 5-D brands, Lindstrom developed the 5-D Brand Sensogram as follows.
Sight-related brand manifestation includes logos, slogans, illustrations, and photographs, along with the marketing communication devices that incorporate these items, including business cards, facility signage, and visual advertisement. However, numerous other sight-related branding opportunities are available to healthcare entities such as institutional cleanliness, well-groomed, appropriately attired employees; and well-appointed waiting, examination, and patient rooms.
Sound-related brand manifestation includes jingles, musical scores, and customer testimonials, along with marketing communication tools including music-on-hold programming, corporate sound systems, and audio advertisements. Sound offers healthcare entities many branding opportunities. For example, can play when corporate computers boot up or they can be converted into ringtones for employee-issued cellular telephones.
Taste represents a departure from the traditional sight and sound mindset of branding, hospitals are often said to serve food that is not particularly desirable, affording these entities with opportunities to bolster consumer perceptions by ensuring that dietary departments endeavor to prepare excellent meals for patients and hospitals guests.
Touch represents a nontraditional characteristic of branding, quality wares, such as hospital beds and wheelchairs, are often said to feel very secure and offer significant support for all touch related items. Likewise, hospitals can incorporate quality fabrics and linens that are pleasing to the touch for their patient populations.
The nontraditional brand manifestation of smell affords healthcare entities with a wealth of opportunities to bolster brand identity efforts. Hospitals, medical centers are highly concerned with maintaining good air quality-a smell related element –to, in part, establish perceptions of safe and clean clinical environments. Smell clearly influences customer perceptions of healthcare entities and their product offerings, making smell an important element in the establishment of brand identity.