Wax Custom Communications Healthcare Awards

You Won! Now What? Make the Most of Your Next Award

If you’ve ever been to the midway at a state fair, you’ve heard the cry.


When I look at hospital marketing, I often hear that in my head. It seems like every billboard and press release touts some new award, many of which I‘ve never even heard of – and I’m a professional hospital marketer.

It’s great to win awards, and every time you do, your CEO or Chief Medical Officer probably insists you make a big deal about it. You should. But, if you want to put your next award to the best use, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Effective marketing starts with the audience.

Sure, your nursing staff worked hard to achieve “magnet status” from the ANCC. You want to shout it from the rooftop. Before you do, consider your audiences and ask yourself what I call the “so what?” question.

One audience for this kind of award is employees – both current ones and potential new ones. Use the “so what?” question to put yourself in their shoes. What do they want? A great place to work, of course.

Hospitals that have achieved Magnet Recognition have to be, by definition, pretty good places to work. Therefore, consider touting your new designation in internal communications (e.g., newsletters) to keep current employees happy – and include it prominently in any recruiting ads to entice new hires. Use it to add believability to your claim about being a “great place to work.” Medical professionals know what it takes to achieve this status, so you don’t have to explain it to them.

Potential patients and the community-at-large are also key audiences. You want to drive business and beef up your brand, but without proper context, “magnet status” is meaningless to them. Ask the “so what?” question from their perspective and you’ll realize you can use awards to add validity to things they do care about. In this case, consider leading with a benefit to patients. Something like:

“Attracting great nurses, so you’ll get great care.”

(Get it? “Attracting.” Like a magnet? That’s why they don’t let me write ad copy around here.)

Then, close the deal with the award. “Hospital X – awarded Magnet Recognition® for excellence in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.”

Always consider what’s important to your target audiences first, and then figure out ways your awards can add power to your messages and brand.

A few more things …

Avoid “cherry picking.”

Don’t be the hospital that was awarded, “Cleanest Hospital in the Region 2010, 2012 and 2015.” Potential patients will, understandably, wonder what happened in the missing years – and if this year will be a winner or a loser. Don’t plant that seed.

Keep it fresh.

Don’t brag about awards that are more than a year old. Doing so suggests you must not have won anything lately. If you can’t claim it currently and consecutively, don’t claim it at all.

Consider aggregating.

A good way to avoid “award overload” is to report an aggregated status. Mayo Clinic, for example, celebrates being “ranked #1 in more specialties than any other hospital in the nation” on the home page of its website.

Celebrate — but be strategic.

Awards are great. Winning them usually means an organization is on the right track and doing things well. But, remember what the guy at the midway booth said: “Everyone’s a winner.” Don’t let your next award get lost in the chaos. Be strategic. Be consistent. And give your audiences reasons to care.


Need help making the best use of your latest award? You need Wax, the Healthcare Advertising Awards #1 award-winning agency 2015-2016. Seriously. Look for the blue ribbon on our homepage at waxcom.com or call (305) 350-5700.

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