Branding for Impact: How Companies Can Leverage MarComms for Mental Health
The best communications, marketing, and branding should do one thing very well: tell a compelling story. At evolvedMD, I have the great privilege of overseeing our MarComms and branding initiatives in tandem with the best teams in the Valley both internally (Jazmine Cole, Ellie Kalberer, and Evan Sakrison) and externally (Ideas Collide and MAP Strategies). Together, we develop messaging, campaigns, and collateral all designed to compel leaders and organizations to value self-care, wellness, and mental health.
Recently, Wendy Margolin wrote a wonderful piece that spoke to me as a marketer committed to elevating the mental health conversation: Marketing Can Contribute to Addressing the Healthcare Burnout Crisis . She outlined ways that brands can positively contribute to the current burnout crisis by leveraging intentional communications and focused marketing. Here, I want to build upon her framework and highlight how brands can leverage MarComms not just to help their internal stakeholders but the community at large.
Consistent, Purpose-Driven Branding
As a leading behavioral health company, we built a brand with self-care in mind, establishing from the beginning that wellness and a commitment to mental health were paramount. Our culture statement reads: “Culture drives us, community inspires us. Work-life balance and self-care aren’t just buzz phrases; they are engrained in our ethos. We ensure that our employees are supported and empowered to love the work they do, so they can love life too.”
Every piece of content, every message, every post, every interaction is developed through that lens.
When companies have consistent, purpose-driven branding, their calls for self-care, wellness, and mental health are much more authentic, powerful, and compelling. At evolvedMD you can see this in how we engage with each other, in the vulnerable posts from our executives and employees, and what we elevate and support in the community.
For you, take time to revisit and rethink your culture statement and align your marketing and branding efforts accordingly — creating a persona dedicated to driving healthy habits and mental strength.
Internal Initiatives + Communications
If you’re not already, there are simple strategies to implement that will make your employees feel heard and appreciated. With a mix of communications and intentional initiatives, we have thoughtfully created a culture of transparency and psychological safety that reduces stigma and normalizes mental health. These efforts include:
Mission Moments — At evolvedMD, we integrate behavioral health services into modern primary care practices. People-focused, we are honored to have served 15,000 patients since 2017 from all walks of life with our unique approach to mental health. With every patient served is a story of impact and we make sure to capture and elevate those daily. These mission moments also serve as an opportunity for peers to recognize peers and highlight when someone on the team is truly living our culture. Sharing stories of challenges, solutions, strife, and success brings our team closer, fosters collaborative learning, and above all, lets everyone know that everyone has their backs and what they experience is normal. Find some of our mission moments here: evolvedMD Mission Moment Roundup 2021.
Employee Spotlights — Our team is stellar. With so many passionate professionals tethered by a shared vision, there is no shortage of talent throughout the organization. With that, we constantly share and celebrate stories of why and how our people make a difference, so they feel seen and appreciated. As Wendy writes, “Learning about one another by reading stories also supports better collaboration and communications.” We’ve seen exactly that.
Employee-Led Wellness Initiatives — Listening to our employees in 2021, evolvedMD created an employee-led wellness committee to own and elevate our culture around self-care and wellness. A joint effort helmed by a diverse group of people across departments, this group leveraged the larger team to create some fun and accessible initiatives including a “Yogonna Love It” lunch and learn led by one of our clinicians in Salt Lake City and a May Virtual Walk Challenge where we collectively walked nearly 1,700 miles. As you might imagine, both were highly promoted and publicized within the company leveraging communications and all channels to ensure our people were not only aware but felt included.
Internal Comms i.e. Friday Note — One of my favorite initiatives (likely because I brought it to the company) is our Friday Note, a weekly communique that hits the inboxes of every employee before noon every Friday providing updates, highlights, and resources for shared consciousness and learning. True to our ethos, this internal newsletter isn’t used just for announcements and company updates but has an employee-focused section that includes an employee spotlight, a mission moment, curated courses through LinkedIn Learning for personal and professional development, mental health resources, and even a song of the week. We have heard from countless employees how much they look forward to and rely on the Friday Note and how this simple piece has made them feel more connected, appreciated, and aware of the need to focus on mental health.
From our website, to social media, to how we engage in the community both locally and nationally, you will find evolvedMD constantly evangelizing mental health and wellness focusing on topics such as preventing burnout, promoting psychological safety, and the business case for employee mental health.
Content — If you have spent any time on social media, you will find a clear theme: diverse content promoting mental health and wellness. From employee spotlights to curated and repurposed articles from trusted and partner sources, to announcements, to thought leadership, our content is designed to compel. When our content team connects to build the calendar every month, we begin with a review of our culture statement and values to ensure that everything we write, say, or do is aligned. This alignment resonates with individuals and brands as we’ve received wonderful feedback and ongoing applause with those same individuals and brands remarking how evolvedMD’s content constantly makes them pause and think or encourages them to do something differently.
Thought Leadership — Helming our marketing strategy, I have been proudest not of our national PR placements or validation from customers and champions but of our robust thought leadership strategy that sees us leverage and elevate the expertise from our diverse team of changemakers. A publishing powerhouse in our own right (thank you Evan Sakrison), we regularly push out long-form pieces on a variety of topics including:
- Therapists React to America’s Worsening Mental Health Crisis — evolvedMD’s Behavioral Health Managers
- Lessons From the Field: Key Tips for Clinical New Hires from evolvedMD’s Training Manager — Lydia Jones, Training Manager
- How Behavioral Health Integration Improves Access to Mental Health for Underserved Communities. — Dr. Christina Abby, Clinical Programs Manager
- Burning Out and Losing Passion? Find Purpose with evolvedMD — Rebecca Ann Duffy, Clinical Manager
- Back to Human: How to Lead a People-Centric Organization. — Charlene Wong, Director of People
- Healthcare and Hospitality: Parallels from a Customer Success Maven — Doris Huang, Director of Customer Success
- Scaling Disruption: The Road to Behavioral Health Reimagined — Steve Biljan and Erik Osland, Co-Founders and Managing Partners
The reception and utilization have been outstanding with people both internally and externally leveraging in their own lives and companies. If your team has the talent and bandwidth, I would highly recommend thought leadership activities as a tactic to not only get in front of potential customers but as a way to get in front of potential employees with a message of culture-first.
Speaking Engagements + Roadshow — Our team has been very vocal about preventing burnout with mental health as a business imperative. Part of how we’ve been able to build buy-in with our people internally through communications and constant discussion, but we have been able to lead crucial conversations locally and nationally that align with our culture including The Path to Workplace Well-Being by Dr. Ruth Nutting and the Business Case for Well-Being presentation, that we’ve road showed from Phoenix to D.C. If you want to ensure that mental health is top of mind for everyone in your ecosystem, be thoughtful to include reflections from your leaders and teams on topics like these.
Written to provide practical recommendations for marketing and branding teams to lead initiatives and encourage mental health among employees and external stakeholders alike, my goal was to outline what we have implemented to success, their outcomes, and provide ideas for what might work for you. While I realize that as a mental health company we are uniquely primed to do everything above, I believe the strategies and tactics are industry agnostic and you can mold to your unique culture and values as long as those culture and values are people-first and committed to compelling mental health and wellness.