Understanding barriers between a community health center network and the people they serve, we needed to change the perceptions associated with free clinics to create more accessible health care options for the residents of the community.
A local community health center network collaborates with hospitals, community health centers and other institutions to increase access to high-quality affordable health care for all residents of metropolitan St. Louis. The organization works to increase health care access and quality for the medically underserved.
To accomplish its mission, the organization needed to not only raise awareness of the member health centers, but also change perceptions around the quality of care available at its clinics, often referred to as free clinics.
The creation of a brand position enabled the organization to effectively communicate its offerings to key referral sources so that the medically underserved in the community can find and receive the care they need.
Solving complex problems for complex industries
Standing Partnership worked with the community health center network to understand the barriers to access and create a marketing and public education campaign to address them. Together, we identified key stakeholders and with their input, repositioned the organization as a community health center offering quality, affordable options. The new branding placed value in understanding patients and respecting their life situations.
We also identified the newly uninsured and the under-insured as special populations that would significantly benefit from the knowledge of community health centers – people who would respond well to the new positioning. With the organization’s understanding of this population and our communications expertise, we recommended a grassroots effort to educate and distribute information to partner organizations already working with these populations rather than leveraging advertising or other marketing tactics.
To deliver branding, we developed a toolkit of materials including a website, brochure and postcards that brought the new messaging to life. We also created a special card with contact and service information that created a sense of belonging among the patients, similar to the identity conferred to individuals who carry health insurance cards with their member information.
The organization used its new positioning to forge key referral relationships with several community organizations, including United Way of Greater St. Louis, Epworth Children & Family Services, Staffing Solutions, Missouri Primary Care Association, St. Louis City Children’s Division and SPOT (a drop-in health center for teens) among others. These relationships helped increase awareness of the community health centers and change perceptions among those who need their services. It also offered new opportunities for the community health centers to reach the recently uninsured and those who may have been aging out of the insurance coverage of their parents.
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