Monday, June 28, 2010

Brooklyn's PR Challenge

While increasing numbers of young families have been drawn to tonier areas of Brooklyn (such as Park Slope) to live, according to The New York Times, these same families are choosing to give birth to their babies in Manhattan hospitals. Common sense would suggest that a woman would prefer to have her baby in a hospital closest to home. So what accounts for this strange phenomenon? Why is it happening?

Because “best doctors” and Manhattan are synonymous. Think about it. For years now, New York Magazine has featured an annual “best doctors” issue; and even though it covers the tri-state area, its biggest focus is on Manhattan, across virtually every area of specialization. Further, the promotion of the New York issue year after year has resonated with many and, in my opinion, has built a perception of New York City, in general — and Manhattan, in particular — as a mecca for quality doctors and medical institutions.

Further the article indicates that the four hospitals that have had the biggest uptick in births, particularly from Brooklyn and other nearby areas — New York University Langone Medical Center, the Roosevelt branch of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Mount Sinai Medical Center — all carry out significant advertising and public relations campaigns stressing that they have the “best doctors.”

Thus, the perception is that going to a Manhattan-based hospital will be a better experience because mothers will encounter doctors with the best reputations — in effect, the best doctors. Meanwhile, hospitals in Brooklyn have experienced a downturn in the number of families registering to give birth.

It is no doubt true that there are many exceptional doctors in Manhattan, but I have to believe that on a relative basis, Brooklyn also is loaded with talent. The problem is that Brooklyn hospitals have not been as aggressive on the marketing/public relations front and have not built the reputation Manhattan has. Brooklyn and its hospitals can fight back and change the ratio of customers they get compared to Manhattan hospitals through aggressive public relations and advertising techniques. The only thing standing between them and a turnaround is one ingredient: diligent public relations work.

Technorati Tags: New York University Langone Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Mount Sinai Medical Center, oil spill, New York Times Magazine, best doctors


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