Brand governance has traditionally been a topic that receives little attention beyond ensuring that the right people have access to the brand guidelines.

Today, the task of stewarding a brand is more challenging than ever. To empower and educate employees and partners to express and live the brand on a day-to-day basis consistently, organizations need to be equipped with effective systems and tools.

Highlighting this important trend, the annual e-Healthcare Awards, presented by Strategic Healthcare recently recognized organizations that are rewriting the rules of brand governance with the latest brand center technologies and approaches.

So, who was recognized in 2016 and what can we learn from them?

VCU Health— Best Interactive Site: Platinum and Best Intranet Site: Platinum

VCU Health

The first three months alone saw nearly 4,000 unique log-ins to the brand center to learn about the brand and access new brand materials, resulting in over 6,000 content downloads. A key feature of the VCU Health brand center is an online interactive helpdesk for employees to submit questions and applications, as well as request material reviews and even showcase best practices. The helpdesk has eliminated the need for a ‘Brand Inbox’ and reduced the amount of duplicate requests freeing up team members to focus on more important tasks. Reports provide key insights on trends related to the most often asked questions, creating a feedback loop that informs the need for new assets, applications, and training.

Northwell Health— Best Interactive Site: Silver and Best Intranet Site: Platinum

NWH Healthcare

Two decades ago, Long Island Medical Center merged with North Shore Health System to become North Shore-LIJ. In 2016, the organization rebranded to become Northwell Health. The rebrand has helped differentiate the system in a cluttered market and showcases the breadth of the system’s diverse operations, which include long-term and home care, research, and medical education, as well as hospitals and clinics.

Today, Northwell is the largest private employer and health system in New York State, boasting over 61,000 employees that work across a network of 21 hospitals and medical facilities. Governing the launch of a brand at such scale can seem daunting. But, having the right systems and processes in place were key to making it easy for everyone, including agencies, to learn and adopt the new brand.

“This recognition acknowledges the resounding success of our 2016 rebranding campaign, which united our health system with a singular focus while reaffirming our commitment to world-class patient care,” said Ramon Soto, Northwell Health’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.

“We are thrilled that our excellence in digital media in health care, along with our marketing partner Monigle, has been confirmed by the eHealthcare Leadership Awards.”

Northwell’s brand center goes beyond brand guidelines and assets by serving as a platform to share and access best practice examples of the brand in action – including campaigns, stories, news and work— becoming a hub that showcases the brand’s continued evolution.

The brand center also features a learning center with engaging video content and training programs that allow employees to immerse themselves in the various aspects of brand, such as brand voice and visual identity.

These efforts to engage and provide useful tools are backed up by metrics that show, on average, more than 1,200 logins per month and 100,000+ content views since launch.

[Read the Northwell Health case study here]

Children’s Health— Best Intranet Site: Platinum

Childrens Healthcare

Children’s Health℠ is the eight-largest pediatric health care provider in the nation and the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, providing a full spectrum of health care services – from daily wellness and primary care to specialty visits and critical care. Holding eight disease-specific care certifications from The Joint Commission and consistently named one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Health fulfills its mission to make life better for children every day at its flagship hospital, Children’s Medical Center Dallas, as well as nearly 40 other locations including hospitals, specialty centers, primary care practices and more.

To recognize the organization’s growth from a hospital to a health system, Children’s Health rebranded in 2014 with a new system name, logo and refresh of the iconic red balloon. The Brand Center was launched to roll-out the organization’s new assets and to ensure a seamless way to maintain brand consistency and alignment. The investment in a best-in-class Brand Center signals a commitment to the integrity of the brand itself, demonstrating an evolution of traditional brand governance to a living, breathing asset empowering employees to bring the brand promise to life.

What Makes a “Winning” Brand Center:

Each of the winning brand centers accomplishes three key objectives: boosts engagement, increases ease of use, and maximizes efficiency. Want to compare your current brand center to the best? Here are eight best practices that the judges recognized in the winners that helped them achieve these overall objectives.

  1. Focus on experience and content— Recognize that your brand center must be more than a repository of assets. All of the winners realize the importance of providing a customized user experience that feels intuitive and on-brand.
  2. Update content regularly— Showcase best practice applications of the guidelines and add new assets, sections, and templates. To do this, you not only need fresh content, your system also needs to have an easy and intuitive content management system.
  3. Create a personalized experience— Enable user permissions to display personalized content on the brand center to different groups through permissions and allow users to personalize their “favorites.” Also, ensure your brand center doesn’t sit behind a firewall that prevents agency partners from accessing it.
  4. Make it easy to find and use assets— Search and filters are crucial. For images, ensure your system can convert files for different user needs such as a one-click option to download the same image in low res for a PowerPoint or high-res for a designer.
  5. Cater to different applications— Make it easy for different service lines and groups to customize their own brand materials while maintaining consistency through pre-designed collateral templates and a PowerPoint wizard. This is particularly convenient if your organization has different sub-brands and logos.
  6. Provide a brand concierge experience— Streamline communications and get rid of the “brand inbox” by setting up a helpdesk ticketing system to answer questions, manage requests, and approve materials.
  7. Prioritize brand education— Create engaging and educational brand videos to supplement the guidelines on important topics like brand voice. Work with your HR counterpart to include relevant content as part of the onboarding process, and continue to add new modules to keep brand education fresh and interesting.
  8. Understand usage and uncover insights— Determine who is accessing the brand center and what they’re using through reporting and analytics. This will allow you to identify trends and potential opportunities to improve the brand content. Establish KPIs and longitudinal metrics to set a baseline for monitoring engagement. Most brand centers experience a big spike at launch, for example. Sustaining usage levels 18 months on is much harder, and yet much more powerful in determining the success of a brand launch.

How many of these eight best practices are you adopting with your current system and processes?

Connect With Us if you’d like to learn more and benchmark your platform against VCU Health, Northwell Health, and Children’s Health and learn more about BEAM (Brand Engagement Asset Management).

Cynthia Schmidt from VCU Health will be part of an upcoming panel discussion speaking about how the VCU Health rebrand acted as a rallying point for unification across the system. Find out where you can hear the story first hand here.

James Parker
December 8, 2016 By James Parker