Creating a Brand That Can Withstand a Global Pandemic
Health care marketers know that building a successful brand is not just about new logos, taglines, and ads. The brand must accurately reflect the vision and beliefs that make up the culture of the organization, drive all strategic decisions, and form the foundation for communications with all audiences.
“If your brand is authentic, you can lean into it during a crisis,” says Don Stanziano, MHA, APR, chief marketing and communications officer for Geisinger.
Citing COVID-19 as a true test of Geisinger’s recent rebranding, he is proud to report that not only did the brand prove to be an accurate reflection of the health system but the work that went into developing the brand platform allowed the marketing communications team to quickly pivot from “planned marketing activities” to “communications support for the crisis.”
The overarching promise of the Geisinger brand is to help people live better lives by making better health care easier to access for everyone, says Stanziano. To ensure that communications from all facets of the organization carried the brand message consistently, a 121-page style guide that describes the core messages, brand persona, writing guidelines, visual style, and all design elements was developed.
Although many health systems had to pull advertising when the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced in the U.S., Geisinger was able to easily pivot and add information to existing ads with COVID-specific information.
“There was some debate about pulling brand advertising, but ‘Long Live Everyone’ was an appropriate message,” says Stanziano. “We did produce a COVID-19-specific public service announcement using animation to supplement our other advertising and to honor our employees. We evolved our campaign theme to ‘Long Live Heroes’ and featured our staff prominently in banners, social media posts, and a TV spot.”
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