Healthcare system branding: the anatomy of 3 recent efforts

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Interesting article on healthleadersmedia.com – Anatomy of 3 Health System Rebranding Efforts – providing the backstory of three recent initiatives.

For each of these efforts, author Marianne Aiello seeks to answer “why the name change”, “what’s the marketing strategy”(which really just nets down to tactics) and “what does it mean for patients.”

The three examples are:

Port Huron Hospital, which became McLaren Port Huron to better reflect its new partnership with McLaren Health Care. For patients, the new partnership will bring expanded services to Port Huron, so with the name change comes added benefits.

SLC Health (CO) retires ‘Exempla’ name. Three years after Colorado’s Exempla Healthcare merged with Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, the new system—SCL Health—is unifying its brand. According to SCL Health President & CEO Mike Slubowski, “this is a symbol of where we have come and where we are going as one system with a shared sense of purpose.” For patients, the name change “reflects the organization’s effort to streamline internal processes, which will ultimately improve the patient experience.”

Catholic Health Partners becomes Mercy Health, to unify its brand across seven markets in Ohio and Kentucky.  According to Kristen Hall Wevers, Mercy Health’s chief brand, marketing and communications officer,  “simplifying our operating structure improves our ability to maximize our clinical quality and cost effectiveness, and allows us to improve the overall experience for patients and their families.”

After reading the article, however, I find myself wanting more. More insight about…

• the business case for the re-brandings
• how the initiatives are expected to better meet strategic objectives
• how each of the organization’s were building on their brand equity
• how the initiatives will re-energize employees, physicians, and staff to spur growth
• how they’ll create an emotional connection with customers through a more distinguishing and compelling story which starts with each system’s name (SCL is going to have a tough road ahead)

Ms. Aiello did a nice job beginning to examine these efforts, but there are other important things to think about to better understand the internal workings of them.