Twisted Heart Image Draws Patients

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media , February 10, 2010

You can construct a breathtaking new building, stock it with the most advanced technology, and hire renowned physicians. But that doesn't mean patients will show up on opening day. Butler (PA) Health System (BHS) found itself in such a position when it opened a new Heart & Vascular Center last year. But the ensuing integrated advertising campaign, which won the hospital a platinum award in the service line category at the 2009 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards, quickly turned things around.

"BHS faced a major challenge in building its patient list outside of Butler County; The public was not sure they could trust a local community hospital with their most delicate and critical cardiology problems," marketers wrote in the campaign entry form. "BHS needed to convince the general public, as well as physicians in the region, that patients can get the same advanced care found at major urban hospitals at this practice close to home."

Marketers reached out to area referring physicians and patients by creating a campaign featuring a red stethoscope twisted into the shape of a heart, which became a secondary identity mark for the center. The campaign included TV, outdoor, online, pamphlets, and mall board elements.

"The heart-shaped stethoscope visual was used to grab attention and to simply and very quickly communicate 'heart care,'" BHS marketers wrote. "Once we had people's attention and they knew the general topic, we used a very short, very straight-forward headline to elaborate—not just heart care, but 'complete cardiovascular care.'"

The campaign did it's job and patients increased 84% during the first month of the campaign, and continued to grow over the following months.

"This is a solid campaign for a community health system going up against the larger, urban systems," wrote one judge. "It featured good use of images and clear and direct copy. Well executed on every level."

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