June 3, 2015

Shuttle buses drive exterior hospital branding

Shuttle buses drive hospital branding

When it comes to hospital branding, I have seen some really good examples of branding on shuttle buses and vans. More often than not, I see missed opportunities.

Hospital shuttles are highly visible and mobile, and the service itself generates goodwill from patients, visitors and employees. Many medical campuses have parking areas spread out over a wide area, so patients and visitors with already frayed nerves have a convenient way to get around. Some hospitals also provide shuttles from airports, train stations and bus terminals. There aren’t many hospital branding opportunities as distinctive as shuttles, yet branding teams may overlook them particularly if shuttles aren’t “owned” by brand management.

The following are a few things to consider when adding hospital branding to shuttles:

  • Personality: Your hospital shuttle needs to demonstrate your brand identity. For example, hospital branding for a children’s hospital should use colors and images that resonate with children and their families, and the shuttle bus is no exception.
  • Visibility: Shuttles are an excellent way to reach people in the community who might not otherwise see the brand. Make sure to pick distinctive, colorful, highly visible brand treatments that will make it easy for patients and visitors to spot your shuttles from a distance. Because hospital shuttles travel back and forth between transportation hubs (airports, etc.), parking lots and medical buildings, hospital branding on shuttles has to stand out from the crowd.
  • Consistency: Brand management needs to focus on consistency during hospital branding, so all branded assets have a similar look and feel. For hospitals that allow departments other than brand management to make branding decisions, you would be surprised how often corporate brand management practices are circumvented to save time or money. Branding inconsistencies hurt a hospital’s reputation because attention to detail is important to people seeking medical care.
  • Vibrancy: Going big with color on shuttle buses that are highly visible is a key to capturing a return on your hospital branding investment. Neutral colors, especially white, minimize impact and cause your brand to fade into the background. If cost is a concern, use a tiered approach to vibrancy levels. The more visible the shuttle bus needs to be for the target audience, the more vibrant the brand treatment.

Compared to the costs of other hospital branding initiatives, the cost of adding hospital branding to shuttle vans and buses is low given the reach and impact. Unlike stationary signs, shuttles deliver your message to your target audiences.