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Branding: Just Ask...

Brand Strategy For Healthcare Systems


Brand Strategy For Healthcare Systems

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you define and grow brand value. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketing oriented leaders and professionals everywhere. Today we hear from Karen, a VP of Marketing in Dallas, Texas who poses these brand strategy questions.

In the coming months I will be leading the branding exercise for a university medical center with an integrated clinical delivery system. We currently have a segmented brand. We have traditionally represented the academic and professional brand. Our health system comprises the clinical and consumer brand.

We recently completed a strategic plan that outlines the vision and goals for the academic, research and clinical enterprises. Interpreting the strategic direction of the organization from a branding perspective will help inform naming and visual identity. Concurrently, we have embarked on a visual identity exercise and are in the final stages of selecting a new logo.

What should we explore and clarify in regards to the brand strategy and brand identity of these two brands?”

Thanks for your question Karen. In our view, brand identity is designed to create differentiation, recognition and recall for a brand. It should be based upon the brand’s intended essence, promise and personality, that is, its positioning. Therefore it’s imperative that you position the brand before you move to naming and visual identity.

Advantageous positioning is the result of thorough competitive analysis, deep customer understanding (for each segment) and an honest assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses. A robust identity reinforces the most advantageous brand position and is based upon rigorous stakeholder research and competitor analysis.

With that, consider exploring these topics as you move forward in your branding exercise:

Brand Strategy:

  • What is the current brand position of each brand? How do they compare? How do they differ by segment (medical community, researchers, consumers, patients, donors, community leaders, and others)?
  • What current brand strengths can be used to pursue strategic goals? Is there a brand strategy that reflects the strategic direction of the organization for 5-10 years in the future?
  • How does each audience perceive the current/potential relationship of each brand?  How well does each brand transition to various products/services?  What are the implications for alternative brand platforms, nomenclature and architecture?
  • How are competitor brands positioned? How do other academic medical centers organize their academic and clinical brands? What are the best practices for brand management among academic health centers and their integrated delivery systems? (Unified vs. Segmented)

Naming and Architecture:

  • Would aligning brand names enhance awareness, reduce confusion, and create relative advantage? What are the risks?
  • What is the best brand platform for regional and national growth, academically and clinically?
  • Are there benefits to retaining and supporting multiple brands? What are the risks?

We hope this is helpful and wish you the best with your branding exercise Karen.

Do you have a question related to brand or growth strategy? Just Ask The Blake Project

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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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