With the current cash strapped Medicare system, the poor under funded states and territories and the hospitals all being in crisis point with too many patients and not enough beds, Independent Midwifery practices are opening their businesses to provide what they hope a better service.
How then do you brand a service which women need to pay thousands of dollars for when they can receive a similar service through a public funded service? How do you tell women that this new service is worth the money and how do you tell women that whey are getting amazing value for money? You tell them it is all about them….yes every women would love a service which rotates completely about them and their needs. So you call the business My Midwives. You brand the company telling women the service is dedicated to their needs in having a baby.
So why do companies brand? This can be looked at from 2 perspectives – the customer and then the company. According to Iacobucci (2014) the purpose of brands for the customer are:
- Brands convey information
- Brands signal consistent quality
- Brands confer status
- Brands reduce customer risk
- Brands makes many purchase decisions easier Iacobucci (2014:78)
If this is true, does the My Midwives brand fulfill these points and does it then convey accurate information to the customer?
- Yes the My Midwives brand tells the customer what the service is about – it provides a Midwifery service for the customer. This could be seen as misleading though. Midwives practice is regulated by various government and regulatory bodies and laws. This means that Midwives have directed guidelines and protocols they must follow no matter where they practice. This being the case it is fair to say while customers aim at receiving higher quality, individualised care through the My Midwives service in reality the outcome will essentially be the same.
- The brand of My Midwives is built on word of mouth and advertising – this being said that the brand is a contemporary logo, bright colours attractive to women, and being conveyed through various multimedia and social media sources.
- The old saying of ‘you get what you pay for’ could be applied in this circumstance. Paying for a service implies within the community you will get a better service – this can be applied to the service of My Midwives and its brand.By buying into a brand that implies it revolves it service around you as the customer.
- The brand implies a company with various practices. As outlined on the companies website having multiple practices with multiple practitioners increases accessibility and availability of services.
- Having a baby is a life changing event. Every woman wants to start their life as a parent with the best dreams and aspirations for their soon to be child, so buying into a product and a brand that promises individualised care – the brand of the midwifery model has a significant impact on luring women into the practice
So in reflection the brand of the ‘My Midwives’ practice has positive effect on customer decision making. As stated by Iacobucci (2014:79) “Customers so appreciate the reliability, high quality, and status of their favourite brands that they’re less price sensitive, knowing that they’re paying somewhat more” This is reflective of the ‘my Midwives’ brand of care. Whilst women buy into the brand as outlined previously, they are also willing to pay a significant price for this model of care. Many public hospitals provide the same or similar model of care which would be publicly funded. Whilst these models are not outwardly marketed and branded and the availability of these services are only known through word of mouth or interaction with the public sector hospital, it is clear to see the effect of branding on a service in comparison to the same service which are often under utilised due to lack of public awareness and branding.
So, branding of a Midwifery service may not provide any better outcome, may not guarantee a better outcome, or make you a better parent but it will ensure women get increased status through buying into the brand, and the sense of individualised care – which in reality women were always going to get.
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Iacobucci, D. (2014). Marketing Management. 4th ed. South-Western, Ch 7