A massive healthcare system seeks its own truth
Imagine the sheer scale of a rebranding effort that includes 23 hospitals, 650 outpatient locations, and 3,900 employed doctors. Now factor in an additional layer of complexity when adding a name change and the historical context associated with multiple entities in the system.
This is the challenge that New York State’s largest private employer, North Shore-LIJ, took on. Following the 1997 merger between North Shore Health System and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, the organization continued to grow through acquisition. The massive healthcare system needed to position itself for tomorrow’s care and to fulfill its vision to grow bigger, better and more innovative, while retaining its roots in an industry defined by disruption.
Simply getting the project off the ground was a feat in itself. Chief Marketing Officer Ramon Soto overcame multiple false starts over a seven-year period before finally getting the buy-in of over 30 board members to agree to a name change of an institution that many considered sacred. That’s how North Shore-LIJ came to be Northwell Health.
From tradition to innovation
Because New York is a vanguard state in healthcare, pioneering information exchange and technology, consumers value innovation more in this region than almost anywhere else in the country. The brand purpose had to embody the notion of being cutting-edge, while staying true to Northwell’s roots as a boundary-pushing community pillar that provides high-quality all-around healthcare.
With a major research and innovation arm spinning off clinical solutions and new partnerships and business ventures, it only felt natural to build the core promise around innovation: Providing transformative leadership driving the future of health.
Design inspired by movement and direction
Having created a masterbrand strategy, Northwell’s primary challenge was unifying and coordinating the myriad parts and pieces of the brand that had come together through acquisition to create a cohesive experience.
The constellation symbol, used in the logo and throughout the design system, signals that Northwell is greater than the sum of its parts. The symbol’s multiple arrows, of different sizes and colors, convey the idea that many different parts combine to form a unified entity with dynamic energy. The upward right direction of the arrows is a nod to Northwell’s culture of innovation, demonstrating the system’s forward-thinking orientation. The symbol is carried through in Northwell’s signage family, which, along with the presence of “Northwell Health” following the facility name, expresses the notion of system-ness and thereby furthers the masterbrand strategy.
"Monigle has an amazing way of getting corporate players to talk honestly and collaboratively about their established brands and businesses. While respecting the essence of an existing brand, Monigle has a unique ability to find the white space and breakthrough to create a truly unique brand positioning and expression."
Precision at launch, preparation for beyond
To launch the new brand within an organization of 62,000 employees from doctors to social workers, administrators to nurses the Northwell brand team tailored tactics for each audience.
Together with Monigle, they put in place decision-making tools, templates and governance systems, including a brand center to manage assets and showcase best practices.
As a result, Northwell was well-positioned to execute and advance its new brand on day one, while also anticipating the need to continue to flex and evolve.
More than half of Northwell’s locations are doctors’ offices; other types of locations include hospitals, walk-in clinics, rehabilitation centers and cancer institutes.
In a service area of over 8 million people, more than a quarter each year receive treatment across the Northwell system.
Northwell contributes more than 12.65% of its annual operating expenses through participation in more than 3,800 unique programs, serving 5 million community members.
Northwell’s 62,000 employees represent the largest healthcare provider and private employer in the state of New York.