The brand as media is an intriguing thought. Traditional media was often needed to keep an eye on brands and now that the “brand” has risen in importance and internet proliferation allows for consumer monitoring, brand-produced media channels have serious appeal. When no media outlet is covering your day-to-day stories, whether out of disinterest or budget cuts, why not create a brand channel?
The technology that provides the ability to have scalable (often more productive) 1:1 interactions (or 1:interested several) rather than a 1:many is here and proliferating. Facebook, Foursquare, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, direct mail, etc, etc, etc. That trend continues. If a health system could produce interesting content (more difficult than it sounds), it could find a new way to reach the people it wants to reach.
The trust factor is the disruptor. What’s interesting is that many individuals already trust the physicians and hospitals they utilize at a time when national statistics indicate they maybe shouldn’t. Local is the secret; news stories about brands usually provide reasons to not trust companies, but the exposés are generally on a national level, rather than a local level. (An exception.) Healthcare brands are local.
The transparency ethic also is in play here. Though some hospitals have taken a courageous step in being transparent with their data, most are very selective with what they choose to showcase. Forced transparency changes that; when one payer (the government) accounts for 50 percent of healthcare purchases it seems only a matter of time before they want to see what, exactly, they are paying for (everything). It has already started with Hospital Compare, expect the amount of data reported to increase. If you drilled into why hospitals object to publicly reported data, what you will find (I think) is distress over the inability to provide context (“yes, our complication rate is higher than our competitor but here is why…”)
What does a brand’s own media channel provide? Context.