Presence launches multimillion-dollar ad campaign focused on compassion

October 15, 2016


Chicago-based Presence Health is in the midst of a multimedia advertising campaign that underscores that the 11-hospital health system delivers high-quality care in a compassionate way.

Nurse Anna Marie O'Donnell, right, assists patient Monika Ilieva, who is in labor at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago. The photo is among dozens featured in a Presence Health ad campaign focused on compassionate care.

The "This is Presence" campaign aims to build awareness of Presence Health and its mission and ensure people's perception matches the breadth of what Presence Health has to offer. It also is intended to increase market share for the system that was formed through the 2011 merger between Provena Health and Resurrection Health Care, said Reynick Martinez, the system's chief marketing and communications officer.

Martinez said many Illinoisans still are not aware of Presence Health's significant scope of service. "We're the second largest health system in Illinois and the largest in Chicago, but we weren't perceived that way," he said. "We found low awareness (of our health system) even among our patients. So we had a huge opportunity to grow."

Martinez said the campaign is the result of an overhaul of Presence Health's marketing strategy.

He said the campaign is grounded in extensive research, including national consumer research that concludes 80 percent of consumers value "compassionate care" in their health care experience. In other research, only 22 percent of patient respondents felt they were treated with compassion by their health care system.

Research commissioned by Presence Health determined its facilities "are known for delivering incredibly compassionate care. And so we wanted to emphasize that" in the advertising campaign. "It is something we can own and stand for," Martinez said.

The Presence Health research also revealed that Presence Health often was not consumers' first choice when seeking care because they were unfamiliar with the system. Martinez said people who had been treated at a Presence Health facility related that their experience at Presence Health was great.

The multimillion-dollar advertising campaign launched in midsummer includes radio, television, print, billboards, bus stops and online buys, social media marketing, hospital signage and promotional work throughout the system's eight-county service area in Illinois.

The campaign features patients, clinicians and staff. Martinez said, "A lot of health systems use paid actors in their advertising. Our celebrities are our associates and physicians and patients." One ad is a compilation of dozens of black-and-white photographs of Presence Health facility clinicians treating, soothing and praying with patients, as a child narrator reads an excerpt from Henri Nouwen's Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World. That excerpt says, in part, "Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give — a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life ..."

Presence Health has established local consumer panels in its service areas in order to conduct ongoing research using online surveys. Those surveys are helping the system to adjust the campaign as it moves forward, Martinez said.

Martinez said the brand position of the campaign is "health through relationships." He said people today miss having one-on-one connections and resent being treated like one among a herd. He said, "We don't do that, we provide a personal experience and do it in a compassionate and personal way. This is tied to our Catholic heritage and person-centered care."

A brand promise on Presence Health's website says, in part, "We'll listen to you, not just tell you what we think. We'll look you in the eyes, not just consult our computers. We'll treat you like family, knowing how much a smile, a touch or a hug can help connect us all."


Copyright © 2016 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2016 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.