Here are a few things that healthcare marketers and communicators can learn from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:
- Sometimes you just aren’t appreciated until there’s a crisis. It might take a winter storm for your leadership to recognize your value and the value of the communication tools you’ve built. Are you prepared for your version of the winter storm?
- It is important to have friends. Although Rudolph wanted to be independent, he couldn’t have achieved prominence without the help of his buddies Yukon Cornelius and Hermie. Today, healthcare marketers have an unprecedented opportunity to network with colleagues and thought leaders around the world via social media. The message: you don’t have to go it alone! And you don’t have to always reinvent the wheel. Look to your colleagues for support and inspiration.
- It is okay to be unique. “All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They wouldn’t let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games.” Let’s face it, the little reindeer was ostracized. But Rudolph eventually learned to embrace his difference (that shiny nose). It became an asset and a true point of differentiation. Has your organization worked to define and market your unique points of differentiation? Remember, a “me too” marketing program will most likely yield “me too” results. We should all strive to distinguish our organizations from the rest of the herd.
- For people to care, you have to established relevance. Poor Rudolph had to learn the hard way that Santa is somewhat narcissistic and only came to appreciate Rudolph once he saw a use for the “marvelous nose.” Until that time, Rudolph was simply an embarrassment. “Then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say, ”Rudolph with your nose so bright won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” This brings to mind my friend Chris Bevolo’s awesome book titled “Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital.” Chris is absolutely right: the public only takes notice when we find ways to make our institutions relevant to their lives. And as Chris points out, most old school marketing tactics just don’t get the job done.
- No matter how long your organization has been doing things the same old way, change is always a possibility. Just look at the example of Santa. How long had Santa been delivering toys to children around the world before he discovered a new way to fight the winter storm and thick fog? And look at the Abominable Snow Monster. After years of being a bad guy, he was reformed and found a new job working in Santa’s workshop. If Santa and the Abominable can change, so can your CEO! Think about that.