Defining your brand’s creative direction with a Healthy Brand Board™

Our protocol for brand building and positioning

The Healthy Brand Board™ is a device that we use to help establish the personality and visual identity of healthcare brands. It’s a combination of photographs, graphics and words on a single panel that express the identified brand position. Together these elements should provide an illustrated example of the brand position; imparting the energy, mood and spirit of the brand.

The Healthy Brand Board™ is usually the first visual representation of an organization’s new competitive positioning. It will serve as a template to develop subsequent brand identity and marketing materials. And it can be an agreed-upon point of reference when choosing visual or verbal messages in future communications.


The Healthy Brand Board™ for Vassar Brothers Medical Center

Elements to include on a Healthy Brand Board™:

  • Images that convey the brand’s spirit or energy, and reflect visual content likely to appear in marketing communications.
  • Text that helps express mood and personality, usually limited to three to seven carefully chosen words that define a feeling, a way of behaving, or a characteristic attitude of the brand (These may be the brand pillars or core values).
  • Graphic elements, including iconography, color palettes and typography, that foreshadow the brand image and formal brand identity program.

In a world of subjective opinions about design and communication, the Healthy Brand Board™ provides an objective tool to help you make important decisions. It is very helpful in defining, explaining and building out a new brand position:

  • Initially, the Healthy Brand Board™ is a discussion guide, useful for compiling ideas and testing their relevance to and resonance with the brand position.
  • For gaining buy-in and approval of competitive positioning initiatives: If the Healthy Brand Board™ captures the feel of an organization, if it’s a believable representation of what makes the brand different, desirable and exciting, then it is likely a successful position.
  • An excellent decision-support tool; a Healthy Brand Board™offers a visual measuring stick that can be help up against creative executions, an acid test for whether communications are on-brand or 
off-brand. Does a new ad or brochure capture the look and feel of the brand? Does it support the position and promise of value?

This series continues next month with a look at why it’s important to gain consensus from all key decision makers. To learn more, download the white paper, The How-To Guide for Brand Building, or read these other posts in this series:

Understanding the value of a clearly defined healthcare brand

22 Questions to map your brand universe

Writing a successful brand positioning statement