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What’s in a Name? Your Organization’s Identity

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, December 28, 2011

"Our goal was to develop the brand around our strengths, to raise awareness of the quality care and programming at The Retreat and ultimately to increase admissions and market share," Sorensen says. "Returning to the historic name and to an updated version of the historic clock tower logo was an important signal to our staff and to the world that we know who we are—and where we're going."

The name change and subsequent rebranding marketing campaign was a hit with the community and with The Brattleboro Retreat staff, who felt the organization was getting back to its roots.

The rebranding effort also focused on improving the patient experience. Leadership streamlined the admissions process and implemented a centralized call center. They also renovated several units and installed new landscaping to meet the new brand standards. The satellite outpatient offices were closed.

"The Retreat needed to grow in order to become financially viable and position itself for the future," Sorensen says. "The rebranding effort extended well beyond marketing and communications."

Updating the patient experience along with the brand was a vital step for the center—or any organization trying to turn around. Merely changing the name doesn't fool anyone if patient service and options don't improve, too. A rebranding is also an opportune time to reinvigorate staff and boost morale, which ultimately trickles down to the patient.

Market surveys conducted since the rebranding have illustrated a positive shift. A survey of mental health and addiction professionals in early 2011 shows that The Brattleboro Retreat is perceived as a leader primarily due to its quality of care and patient outcomes and variety of programs. It has the highest program awareness among its competitors, at 94% of respondents, and has the highest overall unaided awareness at 38%, with its nearest competitor at 26%.

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