Streamline Service Lines to Avert Brand Identity Crisis

Marianne Aiello, June 9, 2010

Once an organization's logo well bursts, it's difficult to stop the flow of disjointed logos for each separate service line. Soon the organization will be left with a bad case of logo soup and its branding will be covered in an unpleasant sheen. But in this case, the situation can be corrected without using any half-baked plan that starts with the word "top.' Lehigh Valley Health Network attacked its logo spill head on and streamlined its service lines under one cohesive brand.

Logo soup resulted in Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVNH), then Lehigh Valley Hospital, having poor brand recognition in key markets. So the 459?bed Allentown, PA, hospital launched an organization-wide rebranding campaign that aligned its service lines with marketing goals.

"People were sure there were good hospitals in the community, but they weren't sure who won what award because we couldn't differentiate ourselves," Laura Harner, LVHN's marketing manager, said at the April Customer Based Marketing Strategies conference in Atlanta.

Working with Springboard Brand and Creative Strategy, an Arlington Heights, IL, agency, LVHN identified five key objectives: support market share goals, integrate service line messaging, establish awareness and preference, differentiate from local and regional competition, and engage stakeholders as referral sources and brand advocates.

But first, LVHN had to solidify its brand identity. To do this, marketers spoke with leadership and other key stakeholders to discover the essence of the organization. The word "drive' came up again and again, but focus groups found it too mechanical. So marketers translated "drive' into "passion,' and created the tagline "a passion for better medicine.'

"The notion of drive came through because everyone there is driven and goes above and beyond the call of duty and their timecard," said Rob Rosenberg, president of Springboard. "People really put in the time and the passion, so employees were engaged and aligned behind the strategy because they understood what was going on."

With a standardized brand in place, marketers created a new network identity and logo to brand all of its service lines under.

"Traditionally, if there was a request for a graphic treatment or a logo for an individual department program or service, we would accommodate that," Harner said. "But what we saw was that was sending a very confusing message to our community and patients."

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