Not a patient, but a customer

Not a patient, but a customer

Branding gave Motherhood Hospitals more visibility, a platform to scale up revenues and also attract good medical talent. Dr. Mohammed Rehan Sayeed talks about the hospital’s branding strategies

POORNIMA KAVLEKAR

A cardiac surgeon by profession, Dr. Mohammed Rehan Sayeed started Motherhood Hospitals, a mother and child care hospital in 2011. The first hospital was set up in Indira Nagar in Bengaluru. When the hospital broke even, a second centre was set up in Chennai, which was funded through a mix of debt and equity. To further its expansion, the management went to the market for funding.  In 2013, Peepul Capital invested US $15 million in the hospital.

For this Chennai-bred doctor and emerging entrepreneur, running a multicity enterprise was an eye opener.  While Motherhood currently operates five centres in four cities, the surgeon learnt that his hospital needs to set new standards when it comes to service delivery. Through his own experience, he understood the need to treat his patients as customers and spent a lot of time training its staff to ensure the same.

The hospital has technology and infrastructure that parallels most of the multispecialty hospitals in the country. It is clearly positioned as a premium brand and has a neonatal ICU, with facilities on par with the best.

Understanding the nuances of multicity operations

While Dr. Sayeed’s journey has taught him many lessons, a very important one he learnt was that each city has its own nuances when it comes to healthcare. As per his own admission, its Chennai hospital is still crawling, as the market in which it operates is very conservative. According to him, a mother delivers her baby not based on the hospital in Chennai, but based on where the doctor wants her to, which is not the case in Bengaluru.

What he then understood was that branding was the need of the hour. “As a clinician, in the early days, I would have ask the branding and marketing team to point out one patient who has walked in to the hospital because he has looked at your hoarding,” says Dr. Sayeed. However, over time, he understood the power of branding and decided to take advantage of tailor made campaigns.

Branding strategy

The hospital started focussing on putting up its logo at many places and focussed on its tagline, which was changed to “speciality birthing centre”, just to get the message across very clearly.  There were some changes made to the colours and font in the logo. After making these changes, the company got its hoardings up and the surgeon admits that it gave the hospital the necessary visibility.  However, one cannot overlook the power of word of mouth, as it was the hospital’s main claim to fame, apart from it having a customer centric focus.

The hospital’s ‘nine divine’ concept was launched to keep the mother with them during her nine months journey. “This has been a big hit with most mothers as they are happy that they are taken care of in one place for the most important period of their lives,” says the surgeon.  The hospital is also educating the fathers to be more hands on with their child.

All of this went on to become a part of its branding story.

Overall, what did branding do for Motherhood?  Dr. Sayeed admits that there was a visible increase in its revenue, while it also aided in the process of attracting good nursing and medical talent.


Key Takeaway 

It’s crucial to have a tagline that conveys the central value proposition to the customer. Motherhood’s simple, to-the-point tagline – Speciality Birthing Centres – conveyed its pitch to the customer that it was focused on serving a mother in the nine months that is a wonderful beautiful part of her life.

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Poornima Kavlekar has been associated with The Smart CEO since the time of launch and is the Consulting Editor of the magazine. She has been writing for almost 20 years on a cross section of topics including stocks and personal finance and now, on entrepreneurship and growth enterprises. She is a trained Yoga Teacher, an avid endurance Cyclist and a Veena player.