Setting the stage for a new audience
Virginia Premier had been known as a regional Medicaid insurance provider, yet it was ready to transform perceptions and go from a brand that was preselected for people to one that people wanted to select. Business shifts aside, the existing Virginia Premier brand had been around for over 20 years—it was high time for a refresh. The most significant opportunity in front of the Virginia Premier brand team was around the recent rebrand of their parent company, VCU Health. Virginia Premier had a major opportunity to form stronger ties to this progressive, innovative and widely recognized brand and to benefit from the ensuing halo effect.
Harnessing internal energy to build an experience-driven brand
Our team worked with the Virginia Premier team to uncover the unique experience they offer to their diverse communities. We found that what they offer is much more than insurance products: It’s an invested partner, with you every step of the way. For example, consultants from the organization call their customers to make sure they’re taking their medication properly and offer safe and reliable patient transport to and from appointments. Accordingly, we built the new brand to reinforce Virginia Premier as a provider of experiences, rather than products.
"Monigle brought the expertise and structure that was needed to guide us through planning and creating this new brand."
Building alignment between brands
Beyond the platform, the team used architecture to strengthen the tie between Virginia Premier and VCU Health, turning to an endorsement strategy. Maintaining Virginia Premier as the lead brand would allow the insurance provider to carry forth its own existing brand equity and position itself for future growth and partnership opportunities, while the connection to VCU Health would increase awareness and credibility, reinforce clinical expertise and open the door to new audiences.
Design was another tool to further link the two brands. Virginia Premier’s new logo builds on the color of the legacy mark combined with VCU Health’s signature gold. It was only natural that our design strategy aligned with our inside-out approach of building the new Virginia Premier brand. We leveraged the existing Virginia Premier logo and storied heritage to create a modern mark that epitomized the brand’s commitments to thinking differently, making meaningful connections and staying true to its clinical foundation in a way that empowers providers.
Together, the Virginia Premier and VCU Health teams use a shared brand asset management site that, like the design system, treats the two brands as part of the same family. Powered by Monigle’s BEAM, employees of Virginia Premier and VCU Health can float seamlessly from one brand to the other.
A multipronged launch plan ensures buy-in and sustainability
The Virginia Premier team was active in laying tracks internally during the four months ahead of external launch, which was timed to coincide with Medicare Advantage open enrollment so that the brand would be introduced as part of the program’s service offerings.
“There’s so much communication that goes into rebranding, to ensure it’s an organizational approach and not just a marketing approach,” said Ryan McCarthy, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at Virginia Premier. “You really need to have the backing of both VCU Health and Virginia Premier employees and leadership to make sure the community and our members really understand why we’re doing this and why it’s a good thing for everyone involved.”
The internal launch, held two days before, was conducted at locations throughout the state and featured a number of culture-building activities. Virginia Premier employees are dedicated to taking care of their communities and making care right every day; internal launch was their turn to being on the receiving end of such care.
A successful brand launch requires ongoing support and attention, and so the team developed and supported a comprehensive, 12-month rolling launch plan. Accounting for new-product lifecycles, the plan was designed to ensure Virginia Premier employees could access what they needed—from guidelines to marketing collateral to business cards—as products were renewed or introduced to the market.
Today, Virginia Premier is simplifying the health insurance experience for all who interact with the brand—employees, providers and above all, members.
"The new brand pushes us forward. Health care isn’t always easy to comprehend or understand, and really, it can be quite frightening. Now, we’re saying, ‘Here we are, we’re going to make it easy and simple for you.’"
Virginia Premier is the first and only university-based, non-profit managed care organization in the state.
Virginia Premier’s plans and services extend to members in over 100 counties across Virginia.
True to its plan to connect with new audiences, Virginia Premier’s membership base has doubled in 10 years.
Virginia Premier’s preterm birth rate for fiscal year 2016 was 8.9 percent, compared to 9.6 percent for the state and 11.4 nationally.