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Research Boosts Branding Results; Here's Proof

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2013

Doing consumer research before a major rebranding campaign is worth the expense. A year after focus group testing prior to launching its campaign, one Philadelphia health system is tracking double-digit increases in call volume and website traffic.

Catholic Health East's Mercy Health System in Philadelphia is reporting success with the revamped brand the four-hospital system launched in 2012. A closer look at the preparation and execution of Mercy Health's strategic marketing plan illustrates how key research can be to positive end results.

Before a major rebranding campaign, quantitative consumer research is usually one of the first boxes checked off on the to-do list. It makes perfect sense to find out reach, audience, and preference data those surveys can provide. Mercy Health took this step with approximately 800 participants in a telephone survey that used the same questions from the previous surveys in years 2007 and 2010.

The results revealed an increase in market share and awareness, but a decrease in preference, which was troubling since Mercy Health's service area is the Delaware Valley. Patients who live in this area have access to highly acclaimed hospitals and health systems in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.

Gabrielle DeTora, principal of DeTora Consulting, who was acting interim chief marketing officer for Mercy Health during the development of the campaign, says that in addition to market pressures, the hospital was faced with launching a campaign on a thin budget.

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