Howard Brown Health brand audit

Howard Brown Health (HBH) offers health and wellness services targeting at Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender population. The goal is to eliminate disparities to LGBT groups and provide them both physical and mental support. The main services include primary care services, HIV/AIDS services, counseling and psychotherapy and social services. The main target customers are LGBT people, but Howard Brown Health is also open to heterosexual patients as well. Under a three-year strategic plan, Howard Brown Health opened new clinics in several neighborhoods in Chicago, including Edgewater, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, and Lakeview. In 2017, Howard Brown Health opened its clinics in the south side of Chicago at 55th Street. Englewood and Thresholds clinics are also belonging to south side communities. The south side clinics offer affirming and affordable services to southern community. 


Research problem
Even though Howard Brown Health established three clinics in the south side of Chicago, it failed to raise awareness and attract new enough patients. In the past two years, Howard Brown Health rebrand its identity and promote the new brand through various channels, including digital, print, social media and event. 

Furthermore, Howard Brown Health tried three advertising campaigns in the Chicago city: “Support not Sigma”, “Zero feet away” and “Pronouns”. “Support not Sigma” and “Pronounce” were both advertised through CTA (Chicago railway), in order to reduce stigma in the LGBT communities, increase awareness and attract potential patients. The “Zero feet away” was collaborating with a dating app to increase visibility of sexual health services. However, campaigns did not intrigue interests of LBGT people and engage more people with the brand. Therefore, Howard Brown Health expects to know how to engage patients in the south side neighborhoods.


Research method
The article includes both qualitative and quantitative researches. Participants are interviewed mainly through surveys. Secondary data is also used to analyze on brand message and social media platforms. 

Target audiences
Howard Brown Health conducted a paper survey to its patients at the end of the clinical services. The survey was a self-administrated questionnaire targeting at all patients in the Howard Brown Health from 5/1/2017 to 6/30/2017. Three sections included were “Satisfaction with the Amount of Wait Time to Make an Appointment”, “Able to Access Care/ an Appointment When Needed”, and “First Visit at Howard Brown Health”. Patients were required to demonstrate their demographic information and score their level of satisfaction at a 5-score scale. 


It is found that in the southside clinics, half of the patients interviewed are around 25 to 44 years old. Regarding the current gender, about 83% of patients in 55th street clinic was claimed to be cisgender, compared to 41% from 63rd street clinic. Over 90% of patients in 55th site is male gender assigned at birth. A little over 60% of patients on the southside are single. Around 50% of patients are black/African American in 63rd street clinic and over 80% are black/AA in the 55th clinics. Latino ethnicity people are among all neighborhoods but only occupy a small amount of all patients. According to our survey, patients living in the southside usually do not have a higher education background. At 63rd, 26% finished four years of college while only 10% of patients at 55th got four years of college degree. 

Overall, patients belong to the southern Chicago are male (assigned at birth) who are single and probably with high school degrees. Regarding of Howard Brown Health services, patients are very satisfied with “Clear instructions on taking medications” and “Clear instructions on completing referrals received”. Patients complain about “long wait time” and “the length of time waited to meet with the provider”. The survey helps Howard Brown Health understand what demographic the targeted patients have and how patients perceived the health services. 

Marketing channels
The second survey is Patient Referral Data provided by Howard Brown Health. Patients filling this survey wrote about which channel they heard about Howard Brown Health, the clinic they visited, ethnicity, gender, orientation and zip code. The article filtered patients who visited southside clinics and found out their referral channels. According to our survey, Family/friends is the top channel patients get referrals, following by Insurance and Threshold. This survey gives valuable resources on which channel Howard Brown Health should take advantage of. The results will be valuable for the brand to make its next step after not getting significant progress on previous campaigns. 

This article uses secondary sources on analyzing branding messages. The resource cited applied quantitative research to discuss if messages regarding disparities may make undesired behavior in a campaign. The hypothesis is that a campaign messaging highlighting poorer outcomes for a minority group may also activate a “stereotype threat” response and reduce performance. In this survey, 11 data collectors visited North Carolina Pride Festival. In total, 225 participants agreed to take the survey and were randomly assigned one of the three health-related advertisement concerning LGBT community. The three messages were: “HIV among gay Black and Latino men”, “CDC Tips from Former Smokers Web campaign targeting LGBT communities”, and “A positively framed contrast about community progress”. The survey showed poor results regarding disparity message. 40% of respondents rated the message of “HIV among gay Black and Latino men” as “not at all believable”. Furthermore, the survey proved that even though some messages containing poor outcomes may be accurate, those messages are limited in effectiveness because target audience may reject them. 

Social media
Regarding social media performance, Howard Brown Health has present Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. In the research phase, the article focuses mainly on Facebook performance. Howard Brown Health has 15,363 followers and 15,601 likes. We analyzed Facebook performance from 10/01/18 to 01/01/19. We found that the average daily engaged users were 126, a number that is lower compared to the total followers. Users who liked the official page were attracted by ads (average 3.05), page profile (average 2.25) and feed story (average 1.78). Furthermore, regarding the average clicks on the Facebook page, other clicks, photo clicks and link clicks are the top three clicks. Top daily tabs users visited were Howard Brown Health home page, profile page and post page. The top external referral website is It means organic search will be a great opportunity for the brand to gain potential audiences. Users also provided both positive and negative feedbacks on Facebook. Considering users’ reaction, followers would like, or click links to give positive feedbacks on Howard Brown page, and report “Hide clicks” and “spam clicks” for negative feedbacks. Facebook analytics also helps analyze audiences’ demographic information. It was shown that the group ages 34 to 44 are the top segmentation who likes the brand Facebook page, following the group ages 25 to 34 group. This result proves that previous statement that 25 to 34 years old patients account only half of the target market in the southern neighborhoods. Patients around 34 to 44 should also become the target market of Howard Brown Health. 


Key findings
The article conducted a SWOT analysis to gather all information provided from the research section:

    •    Good instruction service
    •    Reliable service providers (doctors and staff)
    •    Affirming brand message
    •    LGBT inclusive 


    •    Weak brand awareness
    •    Low online and offline presence


    •    middle-aged people segmentation may become new target market in the southern neighbourhood
    •    Potential increase on social media platforms
    •    Using family/friend networks to attract potential patients and grow LGBT community
    •    LGBT population is rising

    •    Disparity message or message containing “stereotype threat” may become ineffective 



Target audience
Through the previous findings, Howard Brown Health should reposition the target audiences in the southern neighborhood clinics. Different with the northern demographic, the south citizens are male (sex assigned by birth), around 25 to 45 years old with high school degree. They care about their communities and rely on family and friends’ networks to get related health news of LGBT communities. They value good instruction services provided by Howard Brown Health and expect the waiting time in Howard Brown Health to be shorter. African American males have higher risk of HIV infection, compared to Hispanic (25%) and White (9%) males. 


Based on our research, the branding message to LGBT groups needs to be inclusive but not disparity. It means that Howard Brown Health should tailor message to LGBT people and communicate positive messages. Based on our search, 64% of YouTube viewers who identified as LGBT said they are more likely to follow brands that include LGBT people and message in their ads. Therefore, LGBT inclusive messages will help the brand attract more potential audiences. Secondly, Howard Brown Health should be also cautious about the disparity message. The previous campaign “Support not stigma” was not very successful because even though LGBT patients knew stigma situation may be true, they rejected to response to this negative message. Hence, Howard Brown Health lost connections with its potential audiences. It should be aware that LGBT people face stigma or disparities all the time and they are eager to get some positive feedbacks from the public or from communities they are living. Hence, Howard Brown Health may consider conveying an energetic brand tone with positive and affirming languages. 

Social media 
For the new social media strategy, Howard Brown Health may need to promote heavily on Facebook and other social media accounts. According to the previous research, users usually would search for online information about Howard Brown Health through Facebook page, online research and online advertising. Users are also highly engaged with the brand account. They would be attracted by photos and clicks to get further information about LGBT health. Therefore, in order to attract potential patients, Howard Brown Health should take advantage of Facebook Ads (both organic and paid) and keep the brand exposed to more audiences. Furthermore, the brand should create engaging contents online such as attractive photos, clickable links, engaging posts etc. Even though not providing Instagram information, Howard Brown Health need presence on Instagram as well. According to our research, user interaction on Instagram is much higher than Facebook and Twitter. Instagram is a valuable platform to attract Millennials patients and to engage LGBT people through an online community. 


This paper gave a brief analysis of Howard Brown Health on its branding and current problems. Quantitative and qualitative researches were implied to analyze target audiences, marketing channel, message, and social media. Further information may be needed on the qualitative information of target audiences. It is important to know target audiences’ perceptions of the brand, communities or event engaged, factors intriguing them to visit Howard Brown Health. A focus group or an interview could be a good way to get more deep information about audiences. Secondly, the article was not provided with Instagram data and did not include Instagram insights. More information is needed on some basic demographic information about Instagram users, data of impressions or conversion rate, and performance of Instagram ads.