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402: How CommonSpirit Health delivers on an emotional brand promise with Mark Viden, SVP of Brand

Mark Viden is a wine lover with an English degree who never expected to end up in healthcare. He always had an interest in marketing and advertising, so after graduating from Colby College, he went on to work client-side at the Hill Holliday agency. Then, he spent five years at Keystone Funds, where he managed a small marketing team. After moving to San Francisco to chase the sun, Mark ended up at Harris Bretall, a small brand agency, where he was able to really hone his skills as a marketer. A couple of years later, he had an opportunity to join Dignity Health, part of CommonSpirit Health, where he stayed for 18 years. In 2019, he was hired as Senior Vice President of Brand for CommonSpirit Health, where he now drives brand development, advertising, and digital strategies that promote growth, awareness, and consumer preference across the organization.

CommonSpirit Health is a healthcare company you probably have never heard of, but with a house of brands serving over 20 million patients in 23 states, they are the 7th largest healthcare organization in the country. CommonSpirit Health was created in 2019 when two legacy healthcare systems merged. Since then, they have acquired other organizations and developed partnerships with renowned research institutions. Mark tells us his job is to connect all of these consumer-facing brands through a single brand promise. As part of these efforts, he spearheads the award-winning “Hello Humankindness” brand platform, which communicates the organization’s unparalleled and pioneering approach to care through kindness and connection. He is currently leading the platform’s national expansion, which includes found footage-style content showcasing touching moments and relationships and ensuring patients, physicians, and employees are intrinsically aware of an unyielding commitment to humanity.

In this episode, Alan and Mark discuss the importance of working for and with smart creative people, taking risks, and being bold, as well as the opportunities that new technologies bring and the role music plays in advertising. They also talk about the “Hello humankindness” brand platform, how it came about, and how it comes to life across people, practices, and communications. Mark reminds us that people enter healthcare because they have a calling, a passion, and a purpose. CommonSpirit Health’s approach to advertising is meant to reflect this shared purpose. No one wants to think about healthcare until they need it, so CommonSpirit Health’s strategy is to stay present in the subconscious, so when you do need them, they come to mind first. By focusing on the emotional connections, Mark and his team are sowing the seeds of values alignment, awareness, and trust to create category differentiation. After patents are in the door, their experience is top of mind. They have to feel like the promise that they have been served up is coming to life through the interactions and the visual cues they see.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How rallying behind “Hello humankindness” encourages connection and improves health outcomes
  • What it means to deliver on the brand promise all the way through in-person patient experience 
  • How CommonSpirit Health is creating category differentiation by keeping alignment of values, awareness, and trust top of mind
  • The ways we can make Gen Ai more empathetic and the use cases associated with that shift

Key Highlights:

  • [02:00] Forget Napa, we’re going to Anderson Valley 
  • [03:30] How an English major got into marketing healthcare
  • [06:00] The 7th largest healthcare you’ve probably never heard of 
  • [07:10]  “Hello humankindness”
  • [11:00] The impact human connection has on health outcomes
  • [12:30] How the humankindness sausage is made
  • [15:00] Commercials highlighting found footage of real connections 
  • [15:55] The role emotion and connection play in a patient’s selection of care 
  • [18:10] The role of technology in human connection 
  • [22:50] The impact of working for and with smart and creative people
  • [23:40] Advice to his younger self
  • [24:05] Understanding and defining Gen AI is essential 
  • [24:35] Music as an important component of advertising 
  • [27:05] The answer really is Gen Ai

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