For DeGraff Memorial Hospital, the marketing challenge was an aging facility that was serving a smaller geographic area within a major metropolitan area. The historic senior-heavy demographics in this area had led to the hospital being a leader in specialties related to senior care from orthopedics to late-stage disease management.
Despite its level of care for seniors, the hospital needed to address shifting demographics—an influx of younger families into the area, as well as a recommendation from the NYS Berger Commission on hospital consolidation and healthcare needs, to shut down the facility and merge its services with larger institutions. The challenge was to show the community and the state that the hospital served an important niche and deserved not only to stay open, but serve as the center of care for all residents within its service area.
The hospital was eager to promote how well they cared for patients. SKM Group knew there had to be more to the story. The agency did some digging and discovered a world-class performance story. DeGraff is the region’s recognized leader in retinal surgery, and also excels in orthopedics, general surgery, critical care and rehabilitation.For the emergency room—a prime and profitable point of entry for hospitals—DeGraff had two rock-solid advantages. First, every physician is board certified in emergency medicine. Second, the average wait time in the Emergency Department is less than 10 minutes. DeGraff faced growing competition from neighborhood clinics and urgent care centers. SKM Group knew this was the feature story.The agency created a new brand position that fit the performance and personality of the hospital perfectly: The DeGraff Difference. Then, SKM highlighted those differences in television, outdoor and direct mail with a visual style that really brought it alive: a 4-color over sepia technique that features one person in color—and vividly illustrates how special each person is at DeGraff.
Not only was the campaign successful in driving ER traffic and other admissions, but it also resulted in an initial temporary stay from the state to remain open that was converted to a permanent recommendation to remain open after further evaluation.