Rebranding Helps Sharpen Marketing Strategy

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , August 7, 2013

Healthcare organizations that go through a rebranding process learn a number of things quickly. Perhaps the most valuable lesson is that rebranding clearly identifies the organization's vision and mission.

Old Logo

Before rebranding

Putting a fine point on the term "marketing" can help a hospital define its strategy and vision. Too often, and for too long, the term has been a catch-all for branding, public relations, communication, advertising, and outreach. Those individual activities are part of the functions of marketing, but the terms are not interchangeable, and organizations that go through a rebranding effort quickly find out the definitions of each.

For example, Greenville Health System (GHS), a nonprofit, integrated network of hospitals and physicians in South Carolina, launched its new brand and logo this past March after months of working on defining its marketing goals.

Before taking the step to formalizing a marketing strategy, GHS had to find out who it was, according to its employees, patients, and community.

GHS was once known as Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, which according to Sally Foister, director of marketing services, was confusing because the system isn't part of any university. As GHS continued to grow and acquire physician practices, so did the system's inventory of logos (at least 30 different logos at one count!).


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2 comments on "Rebranding Helps Sharpen Marketing Strategy"

Eric Brody (8/7/2013 at 8:33 PM)
Good article Jacqueline. But it's critical to the success of any rebranding effort that all of the insiders (administration and medical leadership, doctors, nurses, staff, volunteers), partners and vendors who must deliver on the brand's promises, and subsequent marketing, do so in a manner that consistently and collectively reinforces those promises. To this point, organization's must take the time to educate, engage and mobilize their teams (via resources and tools) around a re-branding. And this needs to be done both on an organization-wide level (the WE) and individual level (the ME) so that people understand their individual roles and responsibilities as it relates to building brand value from the inside out. Eric Brody President, Trajectory

Charles Falls (8/7/2013 at 2:15 PM)
Every organization already has a "brand", no matter how little the organization promotes it, since this brand is simply the market's perception of who the organization is The brand is what the consumer/patient already thinks or expects. The important thing is that the organizations can, as Bob says, promote their "promise." They can take the lead and explain exactly what their brand is. Whether or not it's true is up to each individual patient based on his/her experience, so it's important that any organization's brand be supported by all touch points within the organization. This consistency is hard for healthcare, especially with so many mergers and acquisitions. Brands must be consistent across all touch points. If the "promise" is not met at one location, the "brand" is just an empty promise to a consumer that extends to all locations. If it's an empty promise, the brand actually does more harm than good. Charles




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