Putting the Right Pieces Together: Brand, Culture, and Strategy

Starting this month and throughout the rest of 2018, we will be showcasing the people that make our brand what it is and the people that we do it for - our customers and our partners. They are the true health care heroes on the front lines helping patients at the most vulnerable times in their lives. The compassion in this industry is second to none. We are honored to share the real stories of the people making a difference one day, one patient and one moment at a time.

To kick off our culture of service series, Chief Strategy Officer Annie Erstling shares her thoughts on the power of culture on building a strong brand and company and what makes Forcura stand out from the crowd.


Annie-PhotoI'm a brand geek. To the extent that I'm always telling my husband that we need to develop our family mission and vision statements so that we can live an intentional life. It drives him crazy. But to me - it just makes sense. In my professional life I've been in business strategy and marketing for most of my career because strategy is like a puzzle that starts with the business challenge and to solve the puzzle you use marketing creativity to place the right pieces together to drive success.

Solving that puzzle, in my opinion, all starts with BRAND. Before you can set your business goals or pull marketing levers you need to define who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

When you define a brand with crystal clear simplicity and authenticity it makes almost everything about running your business so much easier. From what you build and sell to how you promote, price and service your offerings. I've worked on brand building for really large companies to my own uber small floral design company. The principles are all the same. Brand starts at the top and is built by defining who you are, what you want to be and ultimately who the market says you are. It's about setting your brand intention and living up to that through the way you grow and manage your business and the culture you establish.

Two years ago at Forcura we went through a brand strategy exercise that included really understanding our Founder and CEO, Craig Mandeville's motivation and passion for the business and interviewing every employee, several customers, partners and industry influencers. The high-level end result was a strong mission statement {To empower healthcare providers to provide better faster patient care}, vision statement {To be the standard communication platform for the post-acute healthcare industry} and guiding core values {BOLD, TRANSPARENT, PASSIONATE, INNOVATIVE & FUN}. To some people this stuff may sound like a lot of fluff, but I can tell you that from my perspective it has allowed Forcura to not only create a strong visual brand identity but also make strategic decisions on the way we do business, what products we offer and how we build our internal culture.

And this is where the BRAND really shines and where the rubber meets the road (that’s for you Christian Lisowski). 

The culture of Forcura is stronger today than it ever has been. We've implemented programs, hired the right people and established the right environment to live up to our brand. Now this culture and our people are making the brand promise reality and taking it to a greater place than I ever could have imagined. For a brand geek this is almost nirvana.

The challenge now, as with any high-growth company, is how to sustain this authenticity, ensure that we are being true to ourselves and iterating as needed. Easier said than done. I can't wait to see how we do.

Annie Erstling leads strategy and marketing for Forcura. She has experience launching new brands, products and companies in the healthcare, technology, hospitality and consumer products industries on both the corporate and agency side of marketing. Connect with Annie on LinkedIn.

Topics: Building a Company Culture, Culture of Service, healthcare

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