4 Tips to a Successful Hospital Rebranding

Several hospitals and health systems across the country have recently announced new names, logos and brand to reflect new affiliations, expanded service lines or population health management efforts.

Even though the healthcare industry has seen multiple new brands surface this year, the process is not something to enter into lightly. The planning process can take anywhere from six months to more than a year to complete, and actually rolling out a new name or brand across multiple facilities takes even longer.

With all of the time, money and effort invested in the planning and unveiling of a hospital or health system's new brand, it's important to get it right the first time and have it stick. Here, Marissa Chachra, senior advisor with Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, a healthcare communications firm, shares four important tips for hospitals and health systems that are thinking about taking on a new name, brand or logo.

1. Talk to patients. With the prospect of a years-long process looming ahead, it can be easy for hospital executives and marketing experts to forget the real reason for a rebrand: communicating to patients what the organization stands for. "Current and prospective patients should be front and center when considering a rebrand," Ms. Chachra says. She recommends engaging with patients during the planning process, to ensure any new name or brand will resonate with them.

2. Involve both operations and marketing. A new name or brand for a hospital or health system is bound to come along with a new brand promise. "Be sure your operations can support that [brand promise]," Ms. Chachra says. To do that, it is important to give both marketing and operations personnel a seat at the planning table. That way, a hospital's marketers know for sure the organization can actually deliver on the new brand promise on the operational side.

3. Start with internal support. Employees and medical staff members can be the first supporters of any name change or new brand at a hospital or health system, but they could also be the first — and loudest — dissenters, depending on how the change is communicated internally. Therefore, it is critical to prepare everyone inside the organization first. "Giving them first-hand knowledge of what has changed and why it has changed will help position your new brand in a positive and supportive light," Ms. Chachra explains. "Equipped with that understanding, employees will be able to support the new logo, name change and brand promise when it is unveiled to the community."

4. Get feedback. This last tip ties into the first suggestion of engaging patients during the planning phase of a rebrand — their feedback is also crucial to the success and lasting power of a new brand. Ms. Chachra suggests setting up communication channels, such as a place on the organization's website where patients can submit testimonials or a contact sheet where they can give constructive feedback, so organizations can easily track patients' reactions to the new brand. "Your brand is what patients think of when they think of you, so make sure your rebranding efforts begins and ends there," she says.

Of course, implementing a new name, logo or brand is complex and lengthy process, but keeping these four tips in mind can make the transition go more smoothly and help the new brand attract and keep patients for years to come.

More Articles on Healthcare Brands:

The Four Questions of Hospital Positioning
10 Hospitals, Health Systems That Recently Changed Names, Brands
Rebranding to Reflect What's Important to Patients: CEO Bill Leaver on UnityPoint Health's New Name

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