Focusing on the outcomes of your work for customers can promote a clear differentiation from competitors. All buyers are interested in the end result–what will it look like/feel like/be like when you are done? This image (known as a 3D Knowledge Model) represents a future state where a number of disparate entities are aligned around a common goal, moving forward in a beautiful space while still maintaining their individuality. The clearer the picture you can paint of the place where customers want to be, the more people will want to buy from you.

Here’s an example you may be familiar with: Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They treat patients with advanced and/or complex cancers, people who typically have a grim prognosis. All of their ads include testimony from their real patients and patients’ caregivers, and they focus on the possibilities your life can hold based on their treatment. They make no promises, but they offer statistics (9 years of data) on their outcomes in treating specific kinds of cancer in comparison to national study outcomes, with very clear explanations about the limitations of the studies. They include not only survival data but quality of life data and other measures as well. Their brand promises compassionate care and a better-than-average shot at living five more years. People who choose them for treatment are envisioning the possibility of a longer life.

For a more joyful perspective, look at Gerber’s (a NestlĂ© company) “baby food”–the brand promise today is “Start Healthy, Stay Healthy,” a plan for your baby’s nourishment from birth to age four. They even promote mother’s milk for the child’s first year. It’s not about the food, or its taste, or how much your child will love it–it’s a promise of a healthy baby. Parents envision the healthy four-year old whom they’ve nourished the Gerber way.

Consider Allstate Insurance: “You’re in good hands with Allstate.” The brand promise is that whatever accidents happen, Allstate will take care of the problem and take care of you. The insured who buy from Allstate envision being enveloped by a take-charge company at the time of their loss and confusion.

The problem with branding on outcomes, of course, is that you must be able to deliver and your customers must believe that you are delivering and have delivered. Failing to meet that promise can have disastrous consequences. But if you have confidence that you and your team can meet or exceed the outcomes you promise, time after time, you can build a powerful brand around your outcomes.


  • Jan Davies McDermott says:

    Thanks for your always enlightening wisdom regarding focus on outcomes, Barbara.

    You might find this backstory an interesting side light to your point. Cancer Treatment Centers of America recently made, what might be considered, an unconventional addition to their staff, entering into a new phase of focus on their outcomes.

    In 2006, in a surprising move, Henry Ford Hospitals in Detroit, led by Nancy Schlichting, hired the highly successful hotelier, Gerard van Grinsven from the Ritz Carlton Hotel chain to oversee the design and construction of a new inpatient hospital at their suburban West Bloomfield outpatient health center. Completed in 2009, the new facility has been widely acclaimed as an innovative approach to the hospital experience.

    Hiring a hospitality executive in the medical community was considered a bold move. But, as you so aptly observe, outcomes are imperative. Medical research shows a patient’s positive psychological and emotional health significantly contributes to recovery from physiological injury or disease. In creating the new hospital, Henry Ford’s goal was to enhance the patient experience, significantly contributing to the outcomes of their medical best practices.

    Any wonder, that an organization like Cancer Treatment Centers of America Inc. who focuses its brand on outcomes, recently named that same hospital executive as its new CEO where he will head “specific strategic initiatives.” Cancer Treatment Centers of America considers “Gerard van Grinsven’s arrival an exciting and dramatic step in the evolution of our leadership” in the health care industry.

    Proven outcomes enhanced by the patient experience. Although their marketing already focuses on the treatment team and quality of life experienced by their recovered patients, it will be interesting to see how the new leadership chooses to focus its message to raise brand awareness on the inpatient hospital experience in future marketing efforts.

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