HBI Awards 2018: Building a sub-brand to appeal to new consumers

NMC Healthcare is the largest private healthcare company in the UAE and ranks amongst the top three fertility service providers in the world.

When evaluating its patient base in 2016, NMC found that the majority came from the Indian sub-continent and the general perception was that it was an Indian healthcare brand. To change this and to increase expat and Emirati patients, NMC introduced a new “Royal” brand of hospital, which focused on the preferences of expats and Emiratis for a personalised care service adding to the overall patient experience.

The leading non-Royal brand NMC hospital has 45% of its patients from India, 2% Western expats and 8% UAE national. With the new Royal brand, this ratio was reversed with 45% UAE nationals, 10% Western Expats and 15% from India.

Full application

1. Briefly describe the organisation giving number of facilities, staff, revenue numbers.
NMC Healthcare is the largest private healthcare company in the UAE and ranks amongst the top three fertility service providers in the world. In 2012, NMC became the first company from Abu Dhabi to be listed in the London Stock Exchange and is a part of the prestigious FTSE 100 index. Every day, 13,000 patients undergo treatment at our 130+ facilities in UAE, Oman, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark and Saudi Arabia. NMC employs over 20,000 staff across the globe and featured in the Top Companies to Work For list-UAE by the Great Place to Work institute. In 2016, the Group generated revenues of US$1.22 billion (an increase of 39% over 2015 revenue of US$881 million) and EBITDA of US$246 million (an increase of 64% over 2015 EBITDA of US$150 million), resulting in a Group EBITDA margin of 20.2%.

2. Please describe what steps the nominated organisation carried through in the best building of a brand. These are likely to include market research, changes to services, the communication of brand values and the measurement of brand impact
Ever since its inception in 1975, New Medical Centre or NMC has been a widely recognized and popular brand in the UAE. Year after year, millions of patients have visited NMC facilities as a result of the trust built by the organization, thanks to its dedication to providing superior healthcare outcomes, genuine concern and a sincere commitment to the overall well-being of the patient.

As NMC evaluated its patient base, it was recognized that majority of our patients were from the Indian sub-continent and the general perception in the community was that NMC is an “Indian” Healthcare brand. While NMC had established itself as a leading healthcare brand in the UAE, it was recognized that in order to take the brand to the next level, NMC needed to establish a more diversified patient base that includes other nationalities, especially the Emirati and Western Expatriate communities.

A market study was commissioned to understand the requirements in a healthcare facility preferred by these communities. It was revealed that besides good clinical outcomes, these communities preferred a personalized care delivery model that focused on overall patient experience. This sowed the seed for NMC’s “Royal” brand of facilities, starting with the establishment of Brightpoint Royal Hospital and NMC Royal Hospital.

NMC’s desire to delight the patient and deliver a superior patient experience has been a continuous process since its inception. We have always believed that the key to providing exceptional customer service is to ensure a delightful patient experience across all touch points of engagement in the patient’s journey within the organization. With the understanding that long-term sustainability of healthcare rests on the 2 pillars of excellent outcomes and stellar patient experience, The Royal brand ensured the latter by formulating and implementing a holistic Patient’s Journey Experiences Map covering over 50 touch points.

The other main objective of incorporating the Royal Service Excellence Assurance Parameters was to ensure customer delight with each engagement. This would in-turn help us achieve the most important business benefit of sustaining the image of the largest private hospital providing premium services across UAE.

3. When were the brand changes launched?
Month : December
Year : 2016

4. What has been the impact of the change?
With these Royal brands, NMC was able to change its service delivery model from one focused on volumes and outcomes to one that placed equal emphasis on outcomes and experience. We no longer talked just about the clinical service lines offered at our facilities, but we also promoted the holistic care environment at these facilities.

Within a short period of time, NMC’s Royal brand of facilities have been accepted widely by Emirati and Western communities with these patients now forming a significant segment of our patient base.

Keeping the feedback received from multiple patient focus groups as a strong foundation, a team of experienced professionals from various verticals such doctors, service excellence managers, training and innovation team etc., brainstormed multiple scenarios and solutions to identify the best in class parameters, relevant key performance indicators and rigorous performance evaluation methods. The key was to ensure that the solutions had to be a driver of NMC’s strategic goal of excellence in healthcare in this case from the particular perspective of exceptional patient experience.

The Royal brand had to live up to its name by providing royal customer experience and hence this led to formulation of Royal Service Excellence Assurance Parameters based on the inputs received from the above-mentioned brainstorming sessions.

5. How has this impact been measured?
To provide some color to the discussion, out of its total patient base, the leading non-Royal NMC hospital has over 45% of the patients as Indian expats, 2% of the patients are Western expats and only 8% of the patients are UAE nationals. Subsequent to the formation of Royal brand, the ratios are reversed at NMC Royal Hospital wherein 45% of its patients are UAE nationals, 10% are Western expats and 15% are Indian expats. Similarly, Brightpoint Royal Hospital has 16% of its patients as UAE nationals, 11% Western Expats and 15% are Indian expats.

The strategic shift in patient base based on nationality has a direct impact on the revenue generated per patient in the insurance regulated market of UAE. The brand change exercise at NMC has resulted in a revenue per patient growth of over 94% between the Royal and non-Royal facilities of NMC.

The Royal service excellence parameters have also helped us achieve high customer satisfaction scores of over 95% at the Royal brands as compared to 87% at the non-Royal hospitals. The Royal service excellence parameters have also helped us achieve high customer satisfaction scores of over 95% at the Royal brands as compared to 87% at the non-Royal hospitals.

6. Additional documentation
Brochure

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Max Hotopf or call 0207 183 3779.