Focusing on distinctions that make a difference
Glance at its website or other promotional materials for SPM Marketing & Communications and you’ll see images of tomatoes. In fact, the ad agency is widely known as the “The Tomato People.” And its white papers are called “red papers.”
It all traces back to the firm’s presence at a trade show some years ago, when it used the image of a splattered tomato to encapsulate the organization’s mission: healthcare messaging with impact.
The LaGrange, Ill.-based firm, founded in 1983, is a large healthcare-only practice. And because of its specialization, the agency operates under a philosophy that healthcare brings unique responsibilities in its marketing. “Our mission is that people deserve to know there are differences among healthcare providers, and that those differences can save their lives,” said Patti Winegar, SPM’s managing partner.
SPM’s featured ad campaign for DanaFarber Cancer Center/Brigham & Women’s, Boston, challenged the agency to look for innovative ways to make an impact on the organization’s position in the market. Winegar noted that while its client enjoyed great name recognition, it also faced formidable competition from other players just as well known.
The approach was to focus on the cancer center’s patient-centered brand of care. Winegar said a lot of hospitals deliver great cancer care in Boston. The emphasis had to be on how that care was delivered, which led to the “You Have Us” campaign. “We let the physicians, the patients, the caregivers tell their stories,” she said. “And it was all totally unscripted.”