A new year means a fresh start, and for many hospitals that means launching a renaming and rebranding campaign.
It is not a task that organizations take on lightly, as every single outward facing aspect of the brand is affected, from websites to signage to public opinion. For some hospitals it is a last-ditch effort to save a sinking ship, while for others renaming and rebranding is more of a course correction, realignment designed to get the organization where it wants to go, only faster.
Thus far in 2013, I've noticed three trending reasons why hospitals are deciding to take the plunge and change their identities.
1. To promote an affiliation
If an organization's brand is faltering and it is affiliated with a more prominent hospital, a name change may be just the fix.
Durham (NC) Regional Hospital is hoping to use this tactic to change its name to Duke Regional Hospital, in order to further stress the relationship with its parent health system.
Hospital board members have officially asked the county to allow the name change because they fear losing patients long-term as Durham residents increasingly identify Duke as the county's leading health care provider.
Without changing the name and drawing strength from Duke's brand, "the marketing budget we have we simply [couldn't] compete with other hospitals in the area," Mike Pearl, chairman of the Durham Regional Hospital Corp. board of trustees told local press.
Hospital trustees decided to propose a name change after a 2012 survey found that about 62% of Durham residents named Duke University Hospital when asked the first hospital that came to mind. Just 15% said Durham Regional. In fact, it barely finished ahead of UNC Hospitals, which is in Chapel Hill.
For Durham Regional, and many other smaller, struggling hospitals, strengthening ties to an affiliated organization is a wise business move and a relatively easy way to increase market share.