Emilia Thurber, Marketing and Planning Leadership Council
Many market forces—particularly health system consolidation and the rise of strongly branded retail competitors—are pushing providers toward a unified brand architecture. However, some physicians, administrators, and even community members are pushing back.
Caught in the middle, marketers must quantify the likely benefits of making the switch—not only to address stakeholders’ concerns but also to make sure it’s actually the right move for the organization.
McLaren Health Care, a 10-hospital system in Michigan, recently streamlined their brand architecture to consolidate resources behind a single brand.
It also added the system name to each facility; for example, Bay Regional Medical Center is now McLaren-Bay Region. Since making these changes, McLaren’s marketing department has tracked rapid improvements in brand visibility and marketing costs.
Increasing brand visibility
Within months of the relaunch, McLaren saw changes in its brand recognition. 60 days after the launch, search engine activity around the word “McLaren” was three times greater than pre-launch activity.
Within 90 days, the media had adopted the new brand in news stories. McLaren administrators also noted greater recognition among government officials and physicians seeking employment, many of whom did not realize the system’s full scale before the new brand launch.
Reducing marketing costs
McLaren’s unified branding strategy also reduced marketing costs. By consolidating marketing campaigns and system newsletters, creating internal marketing templates on their intranet, and reducing the use of advertising agencies, McLaren’s marketing department is saving $500,000-$750,000 each year.
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