Carrie Willets, Senior Vice President of WellSpan Health, talks with our president, Steve Gilman, about the connection between your brand and company culture in this episode of Brand Story.
Many internal and external forces affect a brand, from its organizational culture to its customer experience. Through working in a complex industry like community healthcare, Carrie understands the incredible importance of brand experience. Armed with stories from the front lines of hospital staff, she shares several real-life examples that illustrate how a brand touches on every aspect of an organization and those it serves. Brand experience is a result of a brand’s culture, which ultimately leads to brand loyalty (or not).
What is a leader? Carrie found her personal Why after reading Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why.” For her, being a leader means helping others to reach their full potential.
Culture IS brand. Culture is a major part of the overall success of an organization, something that Carrie very strongly believes in. Culture runs through all levels of an organization, often set by leadership and ultimately experienced by your customers. A good culture builds brand loyalty.
The importance of an authentic message. You can send a carefully crafted message out into the world, but if it isn’t true, it may harm you in the end.
Brand is both offense and defense. No brand gets it right 100% of the time. When a mistake has been made and you don’t fulfill your brand promise, what you say and do next is of utmost importance. Transparency is key.
Internal is just as important as external. How your brand story is communicated internally is just as important as the external story you tell your audience. This story influences all facets of a brand, from staff to the customer experience. An internal brand story sets the tone for culture, and your culture is your brand.
Storytelling is key. Carrie says the most effective way to communicate a brand is through storytelling – and it doesn’t always have to come from within the company. Tell the stories of your customers through testimonials.
The greater good. Healthcare is a complex industry, but at its core is a genuine connection to people and a purpose. Carrie feels all brands can learn from the healthcare industry by seeking out that emotional connection when telling your story, tying it into a greater good.
Listen. When you find yourself faced with an upset customer, just listen to them; it’s an approach that has never failed Carrie. Understand that this is not a time to argue or defend, it’s a time to listen, empathize, and acknowledge how that person feels. Doing so can help alleviate negative feelings and create a more positive brand experience for that individual.
What She Does
A mission-centered healthcare leader, Carrie is Senior Vice President of WellSpan Health and President of the East Region. WellSpan is an integrated health system serving central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. She built her career in community health at Rockingham Memorial Hospital and Sentara CarePlex Hospital in Virginia.
Words of Wisdom
“Your culture is your brand. Your customers know and feel when things are going well within your company, and they know and feel when they’re not.”
As the President of Gravity Group, Steve is passionate about helping brands reach their goals through honest, creative marketing and powerful brand stories.
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