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Insights from a healthcare “Mad Men” marketing exec

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Healthcare transformation, brand rebuilding, and cultural shifts

In this episode of NRC Health’s Patient No Longer podcast we explore the the importance of adopting an appreciative approach to healthcare.


Insights from a healthcare Mad Men marketing exec, hosted by Ryan Donohue, thought leader, author, and strategic advisor with NRC Health  

Podcast Guest

Jason Brown, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of BPD, one of the top full-service hospital marketing agencies in the country 

This episode underscores the changing dynamics in healthcare, the importance of effective branding, and the need for organizational adaptability to meet evolving consumer expectations.


Transformation during COVID: Brown highlights the significant transformation in consumer behavior during COVID-19, emphasizing the rise of a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to healthcare. Consumers have become more proactive in seeking healthcare on their terms, Brown says, and organizations that adapt to this change will thrive. 

“I think that there was a transformation that happened during COVID,” Brown says. “Consumers learned how to find healthcare for themselves, more so than ever. So a lot of DIY was going on during COVID. Consumers wanted to access healthcare when, where, and how they wanted it. The companies and the brands that could keep up will thrive moving forward.” 

Brand deficiency and rebuilding: According to Brown, around 90% of healthcare organizations face deficiencies in their brand, so rebuilding their brand is crucial. He identifies two key aspects: first, building a strong employer brand by ensuring the organization has the right people and operational fidelity; and second, convincing people to re-engage with healthcare through effective branding efforts. 

“We often see that a brand is deficient in a couple of different ways, and that they need to work on that,” he says. “But before you try to convince people to come back and re-engage with healthcare correctly, you have to have people answer the phone…building their employer brands has become a big part of our business. The C-suite has realized that if we’re not good at this, we no longer have people to take care of our patients—and it is a major issue.” 

Shifting from a policy-driven to a people-driven culture: Brown discusses the historical emphasis on policy-driven cultures in healthcare systems and the current shift toward people-driven cultures. He says that organizations that successfully transition to a people-driven culture are better positioned to navigate the challenges of the modern healthcare landscape. 

“Healthcare systems historically have been built around the needs of the physician,” he says. “The organizations that have pivoted to people-driven cultures are the ones that are having an easier time pivoting in today’s modern world.” 

Honest brand delivery: Brown advises those who are wondering if their brand needs a refresh, or even just an assessment, to look at whatever their organization’s mission, purpose, or vision is, and conduct an honest self-assessment: Are we living this every day? Are we actually delivering on this? 

“And if there are gaps—and for all of us, by the way, there are always some gaps—you say, ‘This is the brand journey that we have to start going on,’” he says. “We have to start filling these gaps. We have to improve things that we’re already doing well. For areas where we’re not activating our mission, purpose, and vision, let’s go do that—because I promise you, that probably falls into the bucket of brand. At first it should be operational, though—it shouldn’t just be like, ‘Hey, let’s have a fancy new campaign.’ It has to be real. 

“To land with your internal audiences, which is most important, and then bring it to the outside world, it has to be based on doing a better job at something,” Brown adds. “So living and operationalizing your brand is what we call it. Nothing’s worse than stuff on a wall that nobody pays attention to—but there’s nothing more powerful than stuff on a wall that everybody lives every single day.” 

Listen to the full Patient No Longer episode.

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