Behind the Brand with Catholic Health


Michael Baron

Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director

For the last eight years, Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations at Catholic Health Barbara McManus has started her workday the same way.

“I’m pretty traditional,” says McManus. “I look at my calendar and take a few minutes to think through the day and what I need to address and what I want to accomplish,” adding a moment later, “which aren’t always the same thing.”

With over 25 years of healthcare experience, McManus has honed her marketing and public relations skills tightly. And when Mower’s Group Creative Director Mike Baron asked for her thoughts on healthcare marketing today, she answered five of our most pressing questions about what it’s like to tackle the job for one of SDI’s top 100 integrated healthcare systems.

How has the role of CMO/Head of Marketing evolved in the past 5 years?

Oh goodness, we update our strategy every year with the continued evolution of digital and social media, still in combination with traditional brand marketing where it makes sense. I am not the expert in the room. Rather, I have a talented team who bring strategy and innovative solutions to amplify our impact.

Healthcare marketers have a serious responsibility to protect patient privacy and HIPAA, which governs protected personal health information. That means we must walk a careful line between targeting consumers who may benefit from a set of healthcare services and ensuring we protect access to any of that consumer data by other entities, including search and social media platforms. It changes our approach.

What’s the biggest challenge healthcare marketers face today?

Healthcare, particularly where and how care is delivered, is changing so quickly. Consumers do not think much about healthcare until they need it. It’s about consumer engagement, helping to educate and navigate where healthcare services are best provided today but also advancing the community’s affinity for our key services, all with a non-profit budget, of course. Marketing and outreach to your physician network is also a bigger challenge than ever before.

How are you continuing to make patient experience a priority?

We are often the first stage of the patient experience and work with our operations teams to support seamless access. Often patients aren’t even sure what they need or how to find the right care. Through our digital presence, some traditional elements, and patient engagement center, we work to make it easier to navigate the system and access the right care, easily.

Why is branding still critical to healthcare marketing?

Your brand evokes who you are and helps to build a meaningful connection with the people we serve. In our case, we hope that the community understands they can place their trust in Catholic Health to do the right thing for them and their loved ones when in need.

What excites you about the future of Catholic Health?

Our organization, along with other healthcare providers, is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic. As we deal with those challenges, and exciting developments like AI, healthcare advancements, and new technology, I love that at Catholic Health, we remain true to our mission and values, to support each other, and keep the patient at the center of everything we do.

Hey! Our name is pronounced Mōw-rrr, like this thing I’m pushing.

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