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Communications


Reputation and brand

Networks are most likely to be developed by an organisation with a good reputation and well-known brand. There may be concerns that creating or extending a network could ‘dilute’ that brand and reputation. This is a particular risk if there is a perceived difference in the quality of the existing service compared to that of the single specialty provider.

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“The way patients are spoken to is very important to establishing reputation.”

“The trust we’ve joined has undertaken to protect and develop our brand, which has a national and international reputation for services and research.”

“Suppliers may wish to be associated with the good reputation of specialty providers and that way you can drive down costs.”

  • The incoming provider will want to ensure that everyone understands the key elements of the new brand, re-building and sustaining service reputation.
  • Publicising the opening of the new site is an excellent opportunity to reinforce the brand and enhance the reputation of the service.
  • Consider how you can brand your service at the new site to ensure that patients know they are ‘under new management’.
  • If having your corporate branding is a deal breaker, ensure this is part of the early discussion with the host trust or landlord.
  • Consider if a corporate uniform for frontline staff (including administration) could help with both branding and staff owning the change of provider.
  • Ensure all staff know and understand what is expected of them, promote staff excellence awards and be clear about what is unacceptable behaviour.
  • Positive patient experiences and recommendations create and enhance reputations. Monitoring feedback via the Friends and Family Test and through other local systems will help to highlight how well the new service meets patient expectations.
  • Make it clear to patients how to make a complaint and share both positive and negative feedback with all staff.
  • Encourage staff to tell the central communications team about any innovations or other “good news” stories at their site – they may want to publicise them, enhancing the site’s and the trust’s reputations.
  • Ensure you use the correctly-branded corporate materials such as letterheads, newsletter templates and patient information. There are strict rules about NHS branding and you will damage your trust’s and your own site’s brand if you ignore them.

Even if the brand is consistently applied and there is no Reputation imagediscernible service quality variation between sites, it is clear that in some networks patients perceive the quality of care they receive at the centre to be superior to that they receive at other sites within the network.

“The same consultants attend the central site and other parts of the network but there is a perception that clinical care is better at the centre.”

“I asked a Moorfields patient how he had got on with his appointment at a smaller networked site…He said it was really good, but he was getting a second opinion – from Moorfields City Road.”

Reputation and brand image