The first thing you need to know is that I love to fish. I hardly ever get out on the lake these days, but when I do, I’m in my happy place. I even have a picture of a bobber floating on the water taped to the monitor on my desk.

You would think that bobber is on my monitor to remind me of my happy place, but it’s not. It’s there because I have an ever-so-slight character weakness that I need to confess. And it’s my belief that if health care brands were people, many of them would have the same character vulnerability I do.

I have to confess

So, here’s the deal. I often find myself getting overly concerned about what essentially is none of my business. Every time I get a little “out of sorts” or reactionary—about what this person or that person is doing, or saying, or making happen—I look at my bobber and tell myself, “Mind your own bobber.”

In the Urban Dictionary, “mind your own bobber” is defined this way:

“When someone is paying more attention to what you’re doing than what they are doing.”

I have to tell you, the visual of that bobber has helped me more times than I can count. It keeps me grounded and focused on my values and my true self. It redirects me when I need to remind myself to concentrate on those things I can actually affect—like my own projects, behaviors, interactions and intentions.

Your brand might want to confess too

  • If your brand were a person, would it need a bobber taped to its monitor?  
  • Does your health care system get a little out of sorts and reactionary when another system’s new campaign launches?
  • Do you participate in what I jokingly call “Hospital Wars,” running your own campaign to counter or respond to the competition?

It’s hard to mind your own business

Now, I’m not advocating that you ignore what your competition is doing. Absolutely not.

What I am saying is that you need to step back, look at your own bobber and determine if in fact you really do need to react. If a reaction is called for, are you doing it in a manner that is true to your brand identity, its strengths and the values it represents?

5 tips for staying true to your brand

1. Stay authentic

Be true to your brand character. Pretending to be something you’re not, even this one time, will come off as inauthentic. You’ve built your brand into something that differentiates you in the market. Make sure it stays authentic and consistent.

2. Stay rooted

Stay rooted in your mission and values. Keep your focus on helping real people through your marketing.

3. Stay strategic

Is reacting to what another system says and does strategic in the long run?

Keep your strategic plan in front of you and your team. If your plan is solid—which it probably is—stick to it.

4. Stay passionate

Re-ground and keep your spirits alive. Your health system changes lives. It matters. And your marketing needs to reflect that passion.

5. Stay competitive

Staying true to your brand does not mean refusing to evolve. Go ahead and monitor what’s new. Be aware of your patients’ changing needs and values. Work to incorporate new ideas into your marketing while staying mindful of your brand.

If you aren’t comfortable with your current brand, ask yourself why

  • Does your brand reflect your core values?
  • Does it support a rock-steady strategic plan?
  • Can your brand withstand whatever the competition throws at you?

Create a “bobber watching” brand:

  • If you’re not comfortable watching your own brand bobber
  • If your team finds itself constantly reacting to what other systems are doing
  • If you aren’t correctly positioned to grow in your market

Looking for a strategic fishing buddy?

I know some people who like to fish and they also happen to create kick-ass brands—the kind that ensure you and your team will have no problem watching your own bobber when the competition turns up the heat.

Watch a short video and learn more about our Stand Up Branding process.