More Than Just a Name

If your hospital is going through a merger, acquisition or if your name/logo has become dated, you are probably beginning to think about a new name and/or logo. Before calling your advertising agency, it’s important to get leadership on the same page regarding the name, brand architecture and brand nomenclature.

Brand architecture is the relationship between a parent brand and its sub-brands or other entities, e.g. partnerships, affiliation, join ventures, etc.

Brand nomenclature is the system by which a corporate brand and its sub-brands are named.  

While selecting a new name is important, it’s just as important to create an established brand architecture and nomenclature system to communicate effectively, maintain consistency and streamline decision making. If you spend time on brand architecture and nomenclature before names and logos, your name and logo projects will more efficiently meet your needs.

The most common health brand architecture and nomenclature types are:

-Parent Brand Dominant
-Co-Branded
-Parent Brand as Endorser
-Insulated

Your health system may use a blend of these types across different levels of branding. There is no right or wrong type of system, but having a system and rules which govern the system are the key to success.

Before establishing guidelines, review and understand your organizations long-term goals. For example, if you want to be regionally or nationally known, fragmenting your brand by having the parent brand be only an endorser might not be the right strategy. After you have reviewed the long-term goals, identify the different levels of your organization (foundation, system, departments, practices, etc.) and explore which levels warrant their own name or logo. Remember that just because it has a name doesn’t mean that it needs its own logo. Develop options for each level of your organization to force critical thinking of multiple scenarios.

After a brand architecture and nomenclature system is established, institute a process for requesting a new logo or name to ensure compliance. Exceptions are bound to happen, but having leadership on the same page will ensure that expectations are few and far between.

Leading a rebrand effort with brand architecture and nomenclature also helps to plan for the costs associated with the rebrand. From signage to uniforms, logo variations have cost implications and knowing if your organization will move forward with a handful of approved logos or countless approved logos will drive rebrand cost scenarios.

Content summary from SHSMD.U online course developed by Jean Hitchcock and Gary T. Naifeh with my added commentary.

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