Several years ago, researchers delivered the difficult news to Scripps Health leaders in Southern California:
Your brand lacks a clear, compelling, distinctive message.
The analysis didn’t fall on deaf ears. It was a catalyst for a multifaceted brand and identity project.
Don Stanziano, System Vice President for Marketing at Scripps Health, recently shared the lessons he and his colleagues learned at an industry conference.
The six points that Stanziano and his team identified are the basis for an effective, enduring health care rebrand:
Invest in research. If possible, conduct upfront research―even if budgets are tight. Know where you are in the market, as well as where you stand in your organization, before you rebrand.
Prepare for politics. Whenever you change a logo or a name, there will be questions and concerns. Communicators must prepare themselves with a strategy, anticipate who or what departments will be the most skeptical, and create allies early on who can influence the doubters. Framing the changes through WIIFM (What’s In It for Me?) works very well to disarm pushback.
Engage broadly. Include frontline staff, management, and executives on internal assessments. Different insights are critical to a successful rebrand. It requires engaging everyone from the bottom up and the top down to get consensus.
Use a partner. Bring in someone so you don’t have to do it on your own. Rebranding is a very deliberate process; a partner who guides you is invaluable. Partners are seen as objective, not prisoners of internal politics or dynamics.
Be patient. Rebranding isn’t something that happens overnight. It cannot be a side project taking up space on the far corner of your desk. You must commit to the time and effort it takes to do a rebrand and do it well, otherwise you’ll waste energy and resources.
Build a core team: You need resources and support to move a project this important forward―the marketing department, representatives from the entire organization, and external partners should all be part of your core team.
These tips on your branding journey can help you avoid pitfalls, save time and money, and, most important, help you arrive at an effective brand aligned with your strategy and embraced by all.
Kim Hofland is a senior marketing director at Monigle, a health care branding consultancy.
Previously published material.