Framing the Challenge:
Children’s National is widely recognized for their unparalleled expertise and ability to handle the most complex cases. But this reputation wasn’t strong enough to overcome inconveniences like their urban location and difficulty getting appointments with certain specialists. Or to dispel the belief held by many area parents that other, more convenient hospitals were “good enough.”
We needed to reframe Children’s National’s expertise in a more relevant way in order to close the conviction gap and get more parents to choose Children’s, even for routine care.
Research with parents showed that it wasn’t enough just to claim expertise by showcasing certain specialists or awards they have won. We needed to demonstrate a culture of behaviors and beliefs to prove Children’s has the right expertise throughout the organization. From this research, a few key brand pillars emerged — passion for prevention and early intervention, challenging and advancing how care is delivered, and finding solutions that are easier on kids and families. These became the rational support parents need to evaluate when making important health care decisions.
The emotional reasons for choosing Children’s National came from our campaign idea – “Grow Up Stronger.” By avoiding being too cute or too gut-wrenching (a standard in other pediatric healthcare/hospital advertising), it gave us a lens to show we can help kids become both physically and emotionally strong. It gave parents the confidence that no matter what happens, “we got this.” Because in the end, we all want the same thing: to see our kids grow up to be their happiest, healthiest, most awesome selves.
An internal adoption campaign launched first, in order to generate excitement among staff, advocates and partners, which was crucial to ensure everyone across the system delivered on the new brand promise in their day-to-day jobs.
Then we launched an extensive integrated advertising campaign across the Washington, DC region. TV, print and radio focused on building conviction while digital display/video, paid search and paid social drove inquiries for specific service lines, including Cardiology, Neurology and others.
Finally, we built a campaign-specific landing page to streamline the user journey from seeing one of our ads to taking the desired action of “Finding a Doctor.” This page linked directly to the Children’s National “Find a Doctor” system. making it easier for parents to complete their task, and easier for us to track the performance of our media.
In year two of the campaign, we introduced real patients and their stories, culled from the past 70 years. They represent a living, breathing version of what it truly means to Grow Up Stronger. Spontaneous, unscripted interviews with these patients became the heart of an ongoing social media effort that deepens the storytelling.
Our key success metric is Brand Conviction, measured by the percentage of parents who answer “Children’s National” when asked “If you could choose only one area hospital for your children, which would it be?” That number has jumped to a whopping 46% of all parents in Children’s primary service area, up from the pre-campaign baseline of 33%. That’s a 39% increase in the number of parents who would choose Children’s above all others, and it moved them from being the #2 choice in the market to #1.
Additionally, 43% of all inbound digital media campaign visitors to our landing page took the desired action and clicked through to Children’s National’s “Find a Doctor” system, making it the primary driver of conversion.