Why brand perception is important – especially for the NHS

Satisfaction with the NHS has fallen from 70% in 2010 to 58%, according to the think tank The King’s Fund, which surveyed 3,300 people last year and released its figures this week.

Lucy Handley

Yet the government’s own statistics from last month show that 70% are satisfied with it – contradicting the think tank’s results.

So why the disparity in figures? Health minister Simon Burns says that the government stats are from people who have actually used the NHS recently, but The King’s Fund’s numbers are the attitudes of members of the public in general.

This might suggest that the perception of the NHS by the general public is falling, perhaps due to the ongoing reform and mixed press reports of late. Whereas those who have recently had direct experience of the NHS are more positive. But is this cause for concern for the health body?

You could say that it is better for perception to be poorer than the reality, as those people with lower expectations might be pleasantly surprised when they actually use a service. Government statistics show that satisfaction is the same as it was in 2010.

Or it you might argue that a brand’s positive perception will actually lift how people think they experience a product. Virgin Mobile, for example, is run by the operator T Mobile, but in a survey a few years ago, Virgin had the better customer satisfaction – proof of what good branding can do.

The percentage of people who state that they are dissatisfied with the NHS is going up in both studies. The King’s Fund says this has gone up from 18% to 24%, and the government stats – by Ipsos MORI – have gone up from 14% to 17%.

GPs do better than the NHS in general in both studies, with 83% of people being satisfied after their last visit, according to the government. So perhaps brand NHS is in need of a revamp, some positive PR or good marketing to up its perception.

I don’t think that Virgin-style marketing is going to help, but once perception improves, so might the general public’s experience of the NHS.

Learn about the latest developments in market research to help your brand gain a competitive edge at Marketing Week Live. The event is being held on June 27 and 28 at London Olympia and is free to all registrants

Recommended

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Discover even more as a subscriber

    This article is available for subscribers only.

    Sign up now for your access-all-areas pass.

    If you're an existing paid print subscriber find out how to get access here.

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now

    Got a question?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

    If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here

    Subscribers enjoy unlimited access to unrivalled coverage of the biggest issues in marketing, alongside practical advice from the digital experts at Econsultancy.

    With a subscription to Marketing Week Premium you will get full access to:

    > World-renowned columnists

    > Analysis & case studies

    > Exclusive leading-edge insight

    > Carefully curated reports & briefings from Econsultancy

    > Plus, much more including a £300 discount for the Festival of Marketing

    Subscribe now