7 mistakes healthcare organisations make with their brand
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7 common mistakes healthcare organisations make with their brand

Healthcare is a complex industry, so it can be tricky to get healthcare brands right. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to visuals, social media, brand tone of voice and a website for any business, but with healthcare, you need to be more meticulous. With an industry full of academics, doctors and researchers, healthcare organisations need to ensure that their brand doesn’t alienate their ideal audiences.

We have some helpful tips on how to make your healthcare brand accessible, inclusive and engaging. Let’s dive right into the most common mistakes healthcare brands make and how to fix them.

1. Clinical imagery lacking human emotion

An overly-clinical brand aesthetic can be off-putting for certain audiences. Sure, it’s good to have some medical imagery scattered throughout your website. But people don’t want to see a lot of clinical environments, medical equipment or needles. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes clinical imagery is necessary. However, it’s best to balance it with human-centric photos. Especially, if you provide services to or work with the public.

Clinical wording and imagery could make people perceive your organisation as somewhere that focuses on process over people. Instead, opt for a more inviting brand identity by using colours, imagery, and copy that show people that you’re there to help – Liverpool Women’s Hospital is a good example of this.

2. Bland or non-committal logos

Your logo isn’t your entire brand, but it’s still important. Logos for healthcare brands can be tricky, as a lot of NHS organisations need to follow a certain design. A lot of healthcare organisations have logos that are either over-complicated, or too similar to other organisations in the industry. It’s best to go with a design that’s simple, yet individual – like the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.

3. Inauthentic stock imagery

Stock images can appear impersonal and cheesy. Of course, some are fine to use and sometimes it’s necessary to use them when you have no other options. If you have your own photography, use it as much as you can. Audiences love to see the people behind the brand. In healthcare, people will be keen to see members of staff as they’d like to know who’s providing a service or looking after them or their loved ones.

Below is an example of an image to avoid: 

Having a team photo on your homepage and individual staff profiles on your ‘About us’ page is a great way to show your brand’s human side. You can also use your own photography for blog posts, social media images and PR.

4. Medical jargon without Plain-English explanation 

Whether an organisation is offering medical supplies, research or healthcare, they need to make sure that people outside of their world can understand what they do and why they do it. The healthcare industry comes with a lot of academic language that isn’t accessible for the general public. You need to make sure the language you use in public-facing content can be understood by your audience. Leave the technical terminology for the research studies and academic papers.

A good example of breaking down medical jargon is how Alder Hey describes various illnesses and treatments:

5. Generic branding

There is a lot of branding similarities in the healthcare industry, particularly with NHS organisations. Many brands don’t shout enough about what makes them unique. Your point of difference is what makes you interesting and special – so make your individuality shine through your branding. One way to promote your organisation’s personality is through your website. For example, our client, Liverpool Health Partners (LHP), has a whole section on its website dedicated to its collaborative research group – SPARK. The work that LHP does with SPARK sets it apart from other organisations in its industry, so they’ve integrated it into their branding – frequently promoting it on social media.

6. Numbers > Storytelling

A lot of data, statistics and numbers are used in the healthcare industry and it’s how a lot of organisations measure their success. The problem with this is that most of the general public aren’t as wowed by statistics as academics and doctors. Instead of showing off with metrics, tell people your story. Explain your impact and results and why they’re a good thing.

Take a look at this example from Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital:

7. Staying in your comfort zone

The healthcare sector is risk averse, causing organisations to shy away from adopting new ways of doing things when it comes to branding and marketing. There are certain rules and regulations that healthcare brands have to follow, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and do something different. If you do all of your marketing in-house, try working with a marketing consultant or an agency to help you gain a new perspective and move your brand forward.

“There is no growth in the comfort zone.” – Jocko Willink

You might want to try a content audit, a new social media strategy, or a complete rebrand.


So, to summarise – the best ways to counter those 7 common mistakes are:

  • Use human-centric visuals
  • Chose a simple, yet individual design for your logo 
  • Be wary of stock images 
  • Drop the jargon, speak like a human when dealing with the general public
  • Celebrate and shout about your point of difference
  • Tell your brand’s story and impact rather than relying on metrics
  • Be open to new ideas and ways of doing things when it comes to branding and marketing

Get more tips for your health brand or organisation 

Follow Matchstick Creative on Twitter and Instagram and connect with our Founder & Content Director, Ruth, on LinkedIn.