July 29th, 2019: A research paper authored by Canadian University Dubai Assistant Professor, Dr. Pablo Medina, has proposed a new model for hospitals to reinforce their market position by engaging healthcare professionals as social media brand ambassadors.
The paper, entitled ‘Hospital Brand Promotion Through Interpersonal Communication Maintained by Health Professionals on Social Media’, was published recently in the Scopus indexed journal, Trípodos, which features critical academic discourse on disciplines related to the world of communication.
Dr. Medina’s findings and recommendations are based on the study of communication strategies among healthcare institutions all around the world. The research presents notable insights into hospital marketing and branding as the UAE cements its position as an international hub for medical tourism.
The study reflects the implementation of social media as a corporate communication tool, the new demands of patients, and the greater competition between hospitals, all of which are causing organizations to rethink their communication strategies, with brand positioning becoming a strategic priority. Acknowledging that neither healthcare experts nor corporate communication specialists can effectively engage an organization’s stakeholders alone, the recommended solutions advocate closer cooperation across the two professions.
Dr. Medina said, “This paper proposes a model of brand building based on the interpersonal communication carried out by healthcare professionals on social media platforms. Hospitals that want to build a reputed brand must take economic and management measures, implement communication plans, and promote collaboration between health professionals and corporate communication experts.”
With a broad portfolio of research focussing on communications in the healthcare sector, Dr. Medina’s latest paper concludes with a series of key recommendations. He explained, “Hospitals should first engage in strategic thinking before using the platform to define how best to apply the company's brand architecture to social media. They must also define the main and secondary targets, key messages and brand positioning.
“Secondly, health professionals should become brand ambassadors in social media, but to do that hospitals need to invest money and allow them the time and resources, including training, to become social media experts.
“Finally, hospitals should map all their stakeholders and key messages, and associate them with brand values, whether that be targeting the hospital's employees to share information and promote organizational engagement, or communicating with patients about health education to promote professional and scientific credibility.”