Barrow Neurological Institute is one of the world’s premier destinations for neurosurgery and neurology. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the institute combines state-of-the-art treatment with exceptional educational opportunity, establishing itself as a first-class facility for patients, scientists, researchers, and clinicians. Its core philosophy is simple: Accept challenges. Reject norms. Push boundaries.
One thing that distinguishes Barrow from all other teaching hospitals in the U.S. is its claim to the country’s largest neurosurgery residency program. Its seven-year program has produced some of the brightest and most innovative neurosurgeons in the world, including directors of many distinguished academic neurosurgical departments. This philosophy of excellence ultimately translates to unparalleled care for all patients requiring neurological and neurosurgical expertise.
To extend awareness and help grow the institute’s already well-established brand, Barrow turned to video as a way to draw patients, researchers, and residents to its facility. In 2013, Barrow partnered with Brightcove to elevate its video marketing initiatives and create more impactful digital messaging for those three core audiences.
Since putting the Brightcove platform to work, Barrow now distributes video efficiently across its website and social media channels. It’s also incorporated live stream neurosurgeries into its video marketing repertoire. Barrow recently live streamed an acoustic neuroma surgery to over 40,000 viewers, which then helped increase traffic to its website and improve overall SEO ranking. And with the added benefit of Brightcove’s analytics providing valuable insight into viewing behavior, Barrow’s digital team can now implement best video practices, optimize video content, and command viewership across target audiences.
Before partnering with Brightcove, Barrow’s digital team focused on distributing high quality, low quantity assets via video billboards, TV ads, and YouTube. But Andrew Wachtel, Barrow’s Digital Marketing and Strategy Analyst, realized these efforts were too few and far between to generate the level of brand awareness the institute was looking to achieve. From a branding standpoint, YouTube was particularly problematic. With YouTube, Barrow lacked total control over the user experience, and it bombarded viewers with unrelated or irrelevant content, which often prevented audiences from migrating to the Barrow website.
Wachtel refocused Barrow’s efforts on creating a branded video site to gain complete control of the user experience. Zeroing in on video storytelling as a way to promote the Barrow name, he pushed for shorter, high-quality, narrative-driven video content that would attract top medical students to Barrow’s residency programs and help spread the word about the hospital’s life saving treatments.
The first project under this new direction was Barrow’s “50 Years, 50 Faces,” a 50th anniversary tribute to the hospital. Wachtel’s digital team produced 50 individual story-driven video vignettes, each highlighting a Barrow staff member, and they released one per week throughout the year. With this new strategy, the team saw how much more audiences engaged with the shortened, story-focused content.
“Our emphasis became more of doing something quickly, timely, and relevant, as opposed to spending a lot of time and money on only two or three videos a year,” says Wachtel.
After implementing Barrow’s new video strategy, Wachtel realized he needed a powerful video solution capable of managing and distributing Barrow’s increasing collection of branded video content while providing technology necessary for live stream distribution. As it turned out, Brightcove was just the platform.
With Brightcove’s flexible video ecosystem and partner integrations, Wachtel and his team were able to easily merge Barrow’s content management system with the video platform, thereby creating an all-in-one solution for managing and distributing assets across the Barrow website.
“If you’re dealing with website marketing, the thing you’re looking for to make your life a bit easier is a bulletproof content management system,” says Wachtel. “Brightcove was the bulletproof CMS for our video content.”
Wachtel also says Brightcove’s analytics have proven critical in establishing best use practices for video content, especially in regards to social media.
“Looking over the data, we know video on Facebook and all the other social platforms really helps,” he says. “Video, over other forms of content, tends to perform much better on those platforms.”
Video analytics have also become a vital asset in determining effective use of video within the Barrow site itself. Using Brightcove analytics to review video performance data Wachtel was able to see just how precisely video content could be modified in order to provide the most marketing impact for the organization. Specifically, he saw that longer videos failed to perform as well as the shorter ones, which led the digital team to recraft the lengthier pieces into shorter ones for the website.
“Instead of one video, we now have three different pieces of content we can release over time and maximize the value of our video efforts,” Wachtel says.
He continues: “I use the analytics to really make my case for video marketing. I can prove it with data, and that’s really as good as it gets for me.”
In an effort to propel the Barrow brand even further, the hospital arranged to live stream a surgical removal of an acoustic neuroma. To promote the event, Barrow published an article on its website introducing readers to Dr. Randall Portell and Dr. Mark Syms, the two neurosurgeons on the case. When the same article was posted to the Facebook page of the Acoustic Neuroma Association, word spread.
The day before the live stream, over 27,000 Facebook and Twitter users clicked on promotional ads, which, in turn, brought a tremendous increase in traffic to the Barrow website. About a month preceding the surgery, over 40,000 users logged on to watch the live stream footage. Moreover, the aggregate national average search ranking for the term “acoustic neuroma” jumped 12 spots over the course of the promotional period.
Similarly, Barrow live streamed the surgical treatment of a patient suffering from Parkinson’s-related tremors. The treatment, known as deep brain stimulation, is part of the hospital’s DBS program, which promotes awareness of the surgery in order to make it more accessible to people in need. Program coordinators provided the patient’s wife with ample education and guidance preceding the surgery, so much that she felt comfortable enough watching the live stream in real time. And the patient, himself, noted how honored he was to help educate others considering DBS surgery.