Integrate positioning into healthcare brand communications

Our process for brand building & positioning

An important step in healthcare branding is updating your brand communications to reflect your new positioning. The scope of this step depends on how far-reaching your repositioning is: for some organizations, this may mean an all new identity while for others, just refreshing the brand language.


a01947b2dadb516e34965cea01871458_f971Brand is more than just a logo. It’s an entire communication system that anticipates and addresses every consumer touchpoint. A successful identity system makes every piece look, sound and feel like it comes from the same organization, with the same personality and the same voice, regardless of the individual author. The imagery, typography and graphics should all work together to reinforce your brand promise and competitive position.

Reactions to the design of a communciations system can be very subjective; some people prefer a specific color or font, but by establishing certain parameters you can ensure that all your brand identity solutions are strategically and aesthetically appropriate.

Successful healthcare brand communications should be:

  • Appropriate to the category or specialty, professional and technically well executed;
  • Reflective of the brand position in its personality, tone and style;
  • Clear and easily reproduced in any medium or production process; and
  • Distinctive from every other business in the category or marketplace

Testing your brand communications system

When updating your brand communications, it helps to do some pro forma design exercises. Test the new visual identity across a variety of media, and then view them together. Create examples of social media marketing, website design, online ads, owned media, mobile or traditional advertising in the new style to see connections, recognize potential problems and develop integrated visual solutions that reinforce the brand positioning. Working out design applications for the most common channels (and a few less predictable ones) can set precedents for future projects and ensure a more consistent treatment of your brand communications.

Here are some other considerations for brand development:

  • Naming: Does your new competitive position, a corporate merger, reorganization, market or service change warrant a new business identity? Now is the time to act.
  • Marketing & Advertising: Incorporate your new brand messages and identity elements into all of your advertising campaigns, including branding, service line campaigns and recruitment advertising. Refer to your Healthy Brand Board™ to test whether the messages effectively support your new position.
  • Facilities: A successful brand system should translate easily into the physical environment, with opportunities to apply it to exterior signage, way finding, interior design and decor. Remember to allocate some of your repositioning budget to facility merchandising.
  • Intangibles: Think beyond your letterhead. Consider how you can apply your brand position to your phone system, answering service, patient information package, new employee orientation, incentive plan, food service, and on and on.

In the final post in this series, I’ll present some tools and systems to help manage your brand identity. 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 

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

Gaining consensus from all key decision makers