In recognition of its outstanding commitment to a new brand and evolution into a comprehensive system of care, we are thrilled that VCU Health was recently honored with the prestigious Commonwealth Award for Excellence in Reputation and Brand Management at the 2016 Virginia PRSA Awards.


About the Awards

Celebrating its 69th year in 2016, the annual Virginia Public Relations Awards recognizes the most creative and effective communications programs and tactics in the state of Virginia. The Commonwealth Awards category specifically recognizes exceptional public relations programs or campaigns. The VCU Health and the Monigle teams were awarded the Commonwealth Award for Reputation and Brand Management that recognizes programs designed to enhance, promote or improve the reputation of an organization.

Cynthia Schmidt, CMO at VCU Health, said: “Winning this award is a true testament to the great client-agency partnership VCU Health has with Monigle.  Not to mention that we beat out many other well-qualified entries in this category. We see this award as one of the really fun aspects of our ongoing brand journey.”

Let’s look at the journey behind the award…

Transforming a Health Care Pioneer

VCU Health has changed over the past 175 years and evolved into a comprehensive system of care and pioneer of health. However, managing brand change is no easy task — but when done right — it can be an opportunity to propel the entire organization forward.  Working closely with the VCU Health marketing team, we set out to determine a way to honor the health system’s strong past while building a forward-looking brand foundation.

To Relentlessly Explore New Ways to Improve Human Life

With the ambitious goal of unifying the entire organization under one brand with a common purpose – to relentlessly explore new ways to improve human life – VCU Health didn’t just need to change how it looked at health care. It had to change and communicate its identity to ensure the internal and external perception of the brand aligned with its strategic direction.

A Clear Path Forward

As one of the nation’s oldest and most venerable health systems, VCU Health had developed a complex and disparate brand portfolio. Paired with the health system’s acquisition of Community Memorial Hospital and the resulting challenge of integrating numerous physicians and offerings into the existing system, a solution was sought that drives clarity and unity.

To solve this challenge, the name “VCU Health” was adopted to stand for all aspects of the organization and communicate the breadth of all offerings. Furthermore, system complexities were simplified by creating a brand architecture that clearly defined hierarchy and designated the relationship with the Virginia Commonwealth University.

VCU Health Logo

Brand as a Rallying Banner

A strategic brand launch galvanized 20,000 employees around the new brand. Posters and other environmental communications helped build awareness and generate excitement for the upcoming brand reveal. All of the launch communications carried forward the message of “leading what’s possible” – tying it back to the revised brand strategy.

The Next Chapter

Engaging employees and sustaining the brand beyond launch was a critical success factor. With thousands of employees that needed to be educated and engaged around the new brand, an online brand center was built to empower brand advocates and ensure that the brand thrived through launch — and beyond.

Read the full case study on the VCU Health brand journey

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.

May 19, 2016 By Monigle