Everyone knows Michael Jordan. He has one of the best known personal brands in the world. He’s endorsed everything from Nike to Hanes underwear to Gatorade. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Michael is one of the best liked athletes of our time. Here’s a quote from that story:
“Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research produce an N-Score for celebrities that measures appeal, likability and awareness. No athlete comes close to matching MJ’s stats who has an N-Score of 682, nearly 300 points higher than any other sports figure. His 71% awareness is among the highest in sports (only Tiger Woods, OJ Simpson and Mike Tyson rank higher and not necessarily for the right reasons). His personality attributes score off the charts and he rates as being liked by 93% of people surveyed. Compare that to LeBron James who 49% of respondents say they dislike.” (Forbes Magazine, September 2011)
So here’s the news (it must be official because they sent me the press release!): It was announced earlier this week that basketball legend Michael Jordan has joined 25,000 “teammates” at Novant Health to help communicate the not-for-profit hospital system’s vision for healthcare.
Jordan’s NBA Charlotte Bobcats already rely on Novant’s Presbyterian Hospital as their official healthcare provider, offering care and treatment for Bobcats players and staff and supplying medical services to the millions of fans who attend events at Time Warner Cable Arena. Now, in a rare endorsement of a local organization, Jordan is expanding the relationship by agreeing to participate in television and print advertisements promoting Novant’s commitment to deliver “the most remarkable patient experience, in every dimension, every time.”
“If you’re going to be judged by the company you keep, I know I am in remarkable company with Novant Health,” said Jordan, referring to the Winston-Salem-based company and its 13 hospitals and 355 clinic locations in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. Some of its anchor hospitals include Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC and Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Novant Medical Group, their physicians organization, has more than 1,100 physicians.
Using Athletes as Spokespeople for Healthcare Organizations
I know that other hospitals and health systems have found that affiliations with star athletes can have a positive impact on the organization and its programs. Tufts Medical Center has longstanding relationships with Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics and Bruins legend Cam Neely. Both have impacted Tufts dramatically through their highly visible philanthropic support. Pierce has been a supporter of Tufts Medical Center since benefiting from an innovative surgical procedure there in 2000. Since then, his involvement with Tufts has grown, leading to the creation of the Paul Pierce Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery.
Inova Health in Virginia brought in former Redskins star Darrell Green as the spokesperson for its Fit for 50 program. That program has been incredibly successful and Darrell is a marvelous spokesperson. Fit For 50 Spring is an innovative, interactive, web-based fitness program designed to help keep people fit through the winter season. The Fit for 50 website provides regular video tips from Inova clinicians, designed to improve an individual’s fitness and lead a healthier life. The program is truly interactive, offering participants/members the opportunity to chat with doctors and fitness experts about fitness and wellness information and maintain a fitness journal or “playbook” online.
What do you think about bringing in star athletes as spokespeople for hospitals and health systems? Will this be a growing trend as hospitals begin to put more emphasis on keeping populations healthy and preventing chronic disease? Let me know you thoughts.
Note: Unlike Michael Jordan, I have no affiliation with Novant Health. They are not a client of my firm.