We believe in three driving principles when it comes to the development of a master brand health system name: 1) Equity 2) Clarity 3) Cost. Our approach balances these factors as we seek out the best process and recommendations for Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Since 1902, the Anne Arundel Medical Center name has been synonymous with quality, comprehensive health care in the county and region. We totally understand the concern, however, that as the system expands there is potential confusion with other “Anne Arundel” properties and enterprises throughout the region. Additionally, as you enter new service areas, the question of whether the name “Anne Arundel Medical Center” will have relevance is an issue.
Our experience working with other health systems in other markets with similar situations provides some insights. For example, when Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network wanted to change its system name for similar reasons, consumer research overrode any concerns the organization had about confusion in the market with other “Lehigh Valley” entities. Today, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), as a premier healthcare brand, has superseded any geographic boundaries and its expansion has taken it into many new markets and even some national programs.
North Mississippi Medical Center, a two-time Baldrige Quality Award winner, used the “medical center” brand as its consumer-facing entity. When research was conducted to determine whether a name change was in order as the organization acquired smaller, community hospitals, consumers repeatedly commented that the brand has tremendous equity and would be welcomed in their market.
Before we jump to conclusions or “answers,” our proposed approach for Anne Arundel Medical Center will be to assess your current equity from research studies as well as gain an understanding from leadership as to the vision and goals of the organization with regards to market and geographic expansion. This will help us better understand the big picture and guide us in the right direction for further probing into the branding opportunity.
For the last 18 months you have thought through the master brand opportunity and we want to take advantage of the insights you’ve gleaned and input you’ve gathered. We’ll want to review these documents, discussions, and directions to better understand how to quickly and efficiently pick up where you left off and move you forward.
We have conducted dozens of consumer focus groups across the country on naming strategies for health systems. Regardless of market size, location, level of sophistication, it comes down to one core idea: “don’t make it confusing for me.” Consumers want to simply know who’s behind the brand, what it stands for, and where to find it. While we have tested many “buckets” of naming strategies – from geographic references to computer-generated – these names are typically not as well received as some variation of the existing entity in which there is some level of knowledge and/or usage. Clients in focus groups have had to be restrained (not really) when consumers still refer to the new system as the old hospital name!
Internally, team members within a health system also tend to have a difficult time grasping or engaging new names. It’s important that a sound story be developed to rationalize a name change. They do, however, find it essential to understand the components of a health system and how/where referrals should be made as well as what is expected of them to benefit the performance and viability of the enterprise.
As part of our approach for Anne Arundel Medical Center, we are suggesting focus groups be conducted internally and externally to gauge thoughts on brand equity, market confusion, naming strategies, and other insights. Since there is interest in a potential strategy around the “lantern” in your logo, we’ll want to gain a sense of recognition and “story” about it. For example, we’ll ask people what it means to them and from there, naming ideas might emerge from the perspective of the customer.
Of course, we’ll want to know the thoughts and ideas that have been given to the “light” concept so, again, we can pick up where you left off and not re-create “the wheel.”
Based on our experience and case studies from the field, it costs significantly more to introduce a new brand than to re-position or refresh an existing one. Therefore, before a decision is made to create and promote a new system brand, due diligence should be given to determine how to best leverage the brand you have. We’re not suggesting that a new name and refreshed identity should not be considered, they will, but so will a variation of the Anne Arundel Medical Center/Health System name so it can be tested with internal stakeholders and consumers.
Other determining cost factors will be in the promotional end of the equation – for example, will an “introductory” phase be launched or will the strategic focus for the organization be on service lines and other entry points.
The brand architecture piece of this engagement will be extremely important as it will determine and clarify how the different entities fit together; system brand, entity brands, service lines, etc. We know this is very important to you and will share samples of others we have produced in the case study section.
We look forward to further discussing this opportunity with you and developing the most timely and cost effective way to help you launch a master brand strategy for your health system. Anne Arundel Medical Center has accomplished so much in its history – including the announcement that you are a finalist in the AHA’s 2018 Quest for Quality Prize. Congratulations on this and the other accolades the organization has received!
The master brand and naming strategy is very much in line with Springboard’s expertise and working with Anne Arundel Medical Center would be a priority for our team and a prestigious client on our roster.
Lehigh Valley Health Network
Springboard conducted a series of leadership and key stakeholder interviews and numerous employee and consumer focus groups to fully understand what made this organization special and unique. Key findings included:
- The leadership and employees of this organization are “driven”.
- The organization is known for quality – those geographically outside of the Lehigh Valley valued and wanted this brand in their communities.
- The marketplace valued the strength and resources of an integrated health system.
We identified a new name for the organization, a unique market position, brand promise, logo, tagline, internal employee launch, graphic standards and external marketing communications.
Reference: Laura Harner at Laura.Harner@lvhn.org.
The Name: Lehigh Valley Health Network
The Brand Position:
- Lehigh Valley Health Network is a team of dedicated healthcare professionals driven to make better healthcare possible for our patients, our community and our region.
The Tagline: A Passion for Better Medicine (making the concept of “driven” relevant to consumers, per our research)
Internal Brand Launch (the Inspirational Phase of branding)
The new brand strategy was first launched internally through a series of employee forums, a brand book, brand video and a graphic standards manual, which were developed by Springboard.
Additional Branding Work
Beebe Medical Center has served the community for nearly 100 years. However, additional capabilities and entities made the organization more than a hospital.
Springboard was hired to transition them into an integrated health system. Through a series of leadership interviews and both internal and external focus groups, we learned the following:
- There is equity in the “Beebe” name and “B” icon.
- The community values the additional access provided by its new health centers and urgent care facilities, but associating them with the medical center causes confusion.
- Strategically, the organization strives to enable the community to live to its Fullest Potential for a Healthier Life – this became the brand promise.
Reference: Alex Sydnor at ASydnor@beebehealthcare.org.
The Name: Beebe Healthcare
Additional Branding Work
Springboard conducted a series of leadership and key stakeholder interviews to better understand where the brand is today and where they want to go. Key findings included:
- The organization is perceived as a quality-driven, historic institution with a well-regarded academic, clinical and research reputation.
- An integrated and combined enterprise was viewed very positively by customers and seen as instrumental for growth and success.
- Leadership’s vision was to create one highly aligned and consistent enterprise that is a model for excellence and innovation for all things related to health.
Reference: Chuck Lewis at Chuck.Lewis@jefferson.edu.
- Jefferson is thinking (and acting) in an entirely different way; creating innovative ideas and solutions to the way health is researched, taught, practiced, and provided.
Naming Recommendation: Jefferson
Identity recommendation: An update of the current identity to reflect the desired brand position and a master brand strategy reinforces their desired market position and became the exclusive brand in identity architecture and promotional activities.
Tagline recommendation: Health is all we do
- Unifies their mission
- Touches all five divisions; academic, hospital, physician, foundation and innovations
The new Jefferson brand was launched internally on Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, with a series of internal forums that utilized the “One” brand collateral and new brand launch video.
Additional Branding Work
Spectrum Administrators was the name of this full-service third-party administrator (TPA). The addition of population health management technologies and services created a significant change in its marketing position – requiring a new name.
Springboard was asked to help the organization develop a new, more descriptive name, identity and tagline to more effectively present the company in its new capacity to its key audiences.
With an understanding of the long-term vision of the leadership team, combined with key findings from research conducted with current/potential customers, Springboard developed a name that reflects the new company’s focus on population health, through analytics – Populytics.
Reference: Stacey Asbell at Stacey.Asbell@lvhn.org.
Additional Branding Work
Holy Cross Health
Holy Cross Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit healthcare system known for quality and its commitment to the communities it serves. They expanded from a single hospital in Silver Spring, MD, into a system of hospitals and health services in locations throughout the community in order to increase access and enhance the patient experience.
The new brand must depict the breadth of Holy Cross Health’s services to tell the story of a comprehensive health system offering innovative programs and services, when and where people need them most.
- Holy Cross Health is a forward-thinking health system with the knowledge and resources to help people address their individual needs and goals to achieve a better quality of life.
Holy Cross Health is here to help me move my life forward.
Moving Life Ahead
The new theme and brand message was first launched to employees and internal stakeholders to educate and inspire them around the importance of the work they do each day.
The new brand was introduced by the CEO online and through a number of town hall meetings. To engage employees around this theme, Springboard created a series of testimonials featuring employees explaining how they move life ahead.
The brand theme was then launched to consumers. It promotes the breadth of the Holy Cross Health services to position them as better able to help people achieve more, through their continuum of care and innovative programs and services. Ultimately enhancing the reputation of Holy Cross Health and building trust that they have the knowledge and resources to help consumers.
The following tactics were implemented to build overall brand awareness for Holy Cross Health.
The following tactics were used to get the Moving Life Ahead message in front of people who are most likely interested in Holy Cross Health’s services and programs.
Springboard’s Team for Anne Arundel Medical Center