|New ‘UR Medicine’ Brand Better Aligns Clinical Services|
|Wednesday, January 29 2014|
What’s in a name? It turns out, that question is just as important for modern-day organizational branding as it was for 16th-century Shakespearean lovers.
“The most successful organizations have a brand that promises consumers a special quality or experience, and then delivers on that promise every single time in every location. When their name, graphic identity, communications process, and customer experience all align to convey that promise, you hit a sweet spot: The brand becomes a real competitive asset, almost as important as the organization’s people and facilities,” said Karl Withers, UR Medicine associate vice president for Marketing. “Legendary brands like Nike and Starbucks are now able to convey a powerful promise almost instantly, simply with their names or logos.”
Taking a page from the playbook of successful corporate brands, we’re introducing a new name—one that stretches across our fast-growing clinical network. We hope the name—UR Medicine—will help us better capture the full breadth of patient care services that we deliver daily across all of our affiliated institutions and collaborative clinical programs.
“Undoubtedly, as our concept of ‘URMC’ has evolved in the form of many fruitful connections across Upstate, we’ve outgrown our own name,” Withers said. “Faced with this very good problem, we’ve been searching for an elegant, easy-to-remember parent brand that sums up the so many ways we are strengthening our signature product: Medicine of the Highest Order.”
According to Withers, clarity, consistency, and visibility are essential in an industry undergoing the rapid change and consolidation that health care is experiencing. So, for the better part of a year, our in-house marketing team conducted research to see just how well patients and potential patients throughout our region understood the University of Rochester Medical Center brand. Did they associate it with high-quality, cutting-edge care? Could they identify the many players who comprise URMC?
“The good news is that we are unequivocally seen as the highest-quality, most comprehensive, most preferred regional providers,” Withers said. “But we also found that most people think of URMC as simply a destination–601 Elmwood Avenue, to be exact. They didn’t see us as a distinct family of providers that delivers care in dozens of locations throughout the region. The problem lies in the word ‘Center.’ It’s too limiting.”
The solution: UR Medicine. The new mantle will be used to brand all aspects of our patient care network, including Strong Memorial Hospital (along with its donor-named components like Golisano Children’s Hospital, Wilmot Cancer Center, Flaum Eye Institute, Strong West, etc.), Highland Hospital, Thompson Health, Eastman Dental, the Highlands at Brighton, the Highlands Living Center, and the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group.
“UR Medicine works because it both preserves the association with research and teaching that has earned us our reputation for innovation and quality, and it binds us together as a family of services,” said Brad Berk, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of URMC and UR Medicine. “It promises an exceptional experience rather than tying us down to a physical ‘center’ at a time when our ultimate strategy is to care for a large population across upstate New York.”
Certainly, we think this new brand will go a long way toward making us more recognizable as we stretch into new communities—but what’s equally important, we’re hopeful it’ll provide us a framework for thinking of ourselves more holistically.
“That’s a critical starting point if we’re going to make good on our promise of practicing the kind of medicine that makes the patient experience paramount, making sure we facilitate smooth transitions, that we create a consistently positive experience, and that we are working more closely, more in synch, than ever before,” Berk added.
At the launch, the UR Medicine name applies to our clinical services. Our teaching and science missions will continue to be identified by school–either School of Medicine and Dentistry or School of Nursing–or by the University of Rochester, as appropriate. The URMC name will now be used only when referring to the main medical campus between Elmwood Avenue and Crittenden Boulevard.
Kicking off the Brand
UR Medicine officially debuted at the Kick-Off Event for URMC employees on Thursday, Jan. 30 in Flaum Atrium. Hundreds were in attendance along with local Rochester media as Berk and Withers explained how the new brand came to be, previewed two of the new UR Medicine TV ads, and shared some of the new naming for UR Medicine’s clinical centers. Click the video image below to see a recording of the event.
Additional launch events are scheduled for Thompson Health (Friday, Jan. 31) and Highland Hospital (Tuesday, Feb. 4).
UR Medicine Commercials
The commercials begin airing during the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 2, flanking the half-time show. UR Medicine will have a strong presence during the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi where commercials will be featured during the opening and closing ceremonies broadcasts on Rochester’s WHEC, along with 32 spots in primetime programming. Approximately 150 spots will also air during daytime coverage across several networks in our region, including MSNBC, CNBC, NBCS, USA, and YNN. Click each of the images above to view the series of commercials.
Becoming the Brand
The installation of new signage has begun, identifying UR Medicine providers across the region. A new website dedicated to showcasing and supporting patient care will also debut, and social media such as Facebook will be updated. Over time, letterhead, business cards, and other related communications materials will switch to UR Medicine.
To answer questions about the brand, and how it combines alongside affiliate and program names, the Brand Center on the intranet will offer FAQs, a brand guide, templates, and other helpful tools to facilitate the transition.
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