BRAND DIRECTION FOR MALHOTRA HEART INSTITUTE.
The Malhotra Heart Institute was founded by a family of US-based cardiologists to provide state-of the-art invasive and non-invasive cardiac care in India. The clinic commenced Out-patient care in 1995 and invasive procedures (Angiography, Angioplasty and Cardiac bypass) in 1996. 5 years into operation, it faced a big hurdle - capacity utilization of this 36-bed specialized hospital was only at 20%.
Embrand engaged doctors in the neighborhood to better understand the market and some basic business truths were uncovered. While most residents and doctors did not know about MHI, the ones that did misunderstood it. Since MHI was housed in a villa in a residential area, they thought MHI was an OPD facility with visiting doctors offering only consultations for cardiac patients, and that it did not have interventional/surgical capabilities. This, and the fact that the MHI at that time used its full form and its family name – “Malhotra Heart Institute” - while others in the business were goliaths, and also had culture neutral names - Escorts Heart Institute, National Heart Institute, and Apollo Hospital, For instance. Lessons:
- Doctors, like mortals, also equate the size of a facility with competence.
- The family name, too, impacted in other ways:
- It was favoured by GP’s and patients of a particular community
- It was a father & son clinic (therefore perceived to be small and non-interventional)
The medical profession is perceived to be a noble profession by its patrons, and it was up to MHI to reinforce this through its communications and actions.
The objective was to make MHI an institution for the community rather than a commercial brand.
Therefore Embrand suggested
- Eschewing conventional advertising and its common “sales”/”response” oriented processes and beliefs.
- Budgets for any form of advertising were therefore utilized for “The Walk” (various “Actions” suggested by Embrand) rather than” The Talk” (advertising or conventional communications)
- MHI paid the local municipal corporation for featuring its name (In full form initially) on relevant locational/directional signages on major New Delhi roads road signs without any graphic MHI identifiers, i.e.:
- Without the MHI logo
- With the standardized typeface and colours used by the corporation to indicate all other street names/landmarks.
- The objective was to make MHI just another landmark. Armed with these new findings, Embrand launched a complete perception-change management program at MHI which included, apart from the “landmarking” action described above, revamping the front facade and registration area to differentiate MHI from the various consulting clinics in the neighbouhood. EmBrand then recommended a reach out to all the neighborhood doctors to establish MHI’s credentials, and an aggressive PR campaign with critical cases being covered by media
- Cases featured only MHI staff doctors, and not doctors who were Malhotra family members.
The change was carried forward in the areas impacting the patient’s experience as well.
- A new application was recommended that could reduce check-in time for emergency patients and a web-server based system that allowed patient data to be accessed by any doctor authorized by the patient, or the patients family, Low cost lodgings were arranged in the neighbourhood for relatives accompanying in-patients from neighbouring states.
This business-process oriented approach towards branding led to the MHI facility utilization rising to 90% - at par with leading Cardiac Care Centres in India - , and making MHI a preferred brand, despite its small size, for intensive cardiac care treatment in Northern India.