Successful Rebranding Begins at Home

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December 18, 2017
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Your brand is like your house. You’ve built equity over the years and taken care of the details. You want visitors to feel at home. But needs change over time. What once fit perfectly sometimes needs a new coat of paint, maybe more.

Rebranding your business is a big job, and it’s tempting to try and make it easier by limiting the voices in the room. Too many opinions can slow the process and complicate the decisions, right?

Maybe, but the time you take at the beginning pays dividends in the end.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than the newly rebranded Oregon Oncology Specialists, formerly Hematology Oncology of Salem.

Building a Better Brand

One of the last physician-owned oncology practices in the Northwest, Hematology Oncology of Salem had developed a reputation for building genuine relationships with patients. They delivered outcomes that met or surpassed the national average. And they saw patients from across the state, not just the Willamette Valley.

The practice’s name and branding — which dated back to the early 2000s — spoke to none of that. In the past, that might not have mattered, but as consumers become more engaged purchasers of healthcare, brand recognition matters. Hematology Oncology of Salem wanted to impress upon patients that they don’t have to go to the city get the leading-edge care they need.

CEO and partner Steven Taylor knew us from our previous work with Brim Healthcare and the Salem Cancer Institute, where he held leadership roles. It was important to him that every path was followed, every idea worked to its logical conclusion. So we got to it.

We surveyed the industry landscape. We assembled dozens of naming options, and winnowed them through a series of meetings with staff and partners — that first most important audience.

Together, we debated whether “cancer” or “oncology” was the way to go. We considered names inspired by nature, geography and mythology. And when the final options were narrowed down, we tacked on a few more — just to make sure we hadn’t missed anything.

In the end, we landed on Oregon Oncology Specialists. “Oregon” speaks to a presence beyond Salem and the mid-Willamette Valley. “Oncology” has the benefit of focusing on the treatment and not the disease. And “Specialists” puts the emphasis on the people who provide the care — the people patients count on when they encounter one of the most difficult moments in life.

Next we designed a new logo, one that drew its inspiration from the Willamette Valley’s rolling hills, meandering rivers and fertile fields. The logo and its color palette informed the look of a new website.

Working parallel to the rebranding, we conducted extensive research to rearrange the new information architecture, ensuring the user experience is friendly and allows the primary audience — patients and their families — to easily find the information and reassurance they need.

We built Oregon Oncology Specialists a cutting-edge site that matched their promise of leading-edge, compassionate care.

Finally, we developed a comprehensive rollout plan, one that took advantage of online and traditional print advertising. We designed cards for referring doctors, and another for patients who might be worried something other than the name was changing.

In the impersonal world of healthcare, it was the personal touch applied by the people at Hematology Oncology of Salem that patients remembered. We were able to help the staff and partners emphasize what they do best as they rebranded as Oregon Oncology Specialists.

The process, heavy on details and collaboration, may have taken a little longer, but that time meant the most important voices were heard. The staff and partners at Oregon Oncology Specialists are the ones who had to buy in first, and they’re the ones who will promote the change in the years to come, because they’re the people who interact with their customers each and every day.

We understood that, because protecting the brands, interests and reputations of our clients is what we do at Gard. That’s the foundation we’ve built our house on.

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