Case Study: How an Employee Publication Helped a Health System Speak With One (Brand) Voice

by Thomas Crocker, Copywriter - 01/02/19

onevoice

A faith-based health system with a national footprint amplified its brand voice internally through a carefully considered rebranding of its corporate employee magazine.

You want your audience to interact with your brand via a variety of channels—print, digital, social media and more. Keep in mind that if the patients, prospects and employees you’re trying to reach encounter a different voice at every touch point, your brand will come across as scattershot and inauthentic. To tell your story consistently and coherently, you need to speak with one voice that captures your mission and values and engages your audience with the brand.

The importance of a unified brand voice doesn’t only apply to external messaging, it’s also key for internal communications. A strong brand voice can help build a sense of continuity, community and connection among the disparate hospitals, clinics and outpatient centers of a large health system, as well as among various departments within a single facility. In short, it’s a way of showing your employees, regardless of role, that you’re all playing for the same team, with the same goals.

During a rebranding process, it becomes especially important to unify your voice, especially if it is shifting with the transition. Here’s a glimpse into one health system’s journey to engage employees during the rebranding process.

Casting the Vision

In spring 2017, a large health system with facilities across the country began working with True North Custom to rebrand its corporate employee benefits and wellness magazine to align with the organization’s new brand voice, which champions the reader’s well-being through positive, person-first language that empowers individuals to explore what is possible.

“The magazine redesign was a next-steps action in a planned brand shift,” says Jen Matthew, account manager at True North Custom. “The goal was to bring the branding that was already in place at the facility level to internal communications projects by adding elements that would speak to and inspire the organization’s employees.”

The results demonstrate the success of this strategic approach. The magazine is a valued resource for staying connected and keeping the team informed, based on employee surveys and active participation among the system's national network.

To ensure your rebrand is thoughtfully communicated among your employees, here are three principles to glean from this case study. 

1. Get Partners Involved out of the Gate

A key element that ensured the True North Custom team was able to capture the health system’s brand voice was getting involved early in the planning process. For example, the organization hosted a webinar for True North Custom and other vendors. 

“The webinar presented both an overview of the branding philosophy and a practicum on the brand voice ‘sound’ demonstrated via before and after original writing samples and rewritten versions in the brand voice,” says Candice St. Jacques, senior managing editor at True North Custom. “True North Custom copywriters continue to use materials from the webinar.”

2. Set Clear Goals and Stay Connected

Close collaboration between the True North Custom team and its primary contact in the health system’s corporate benefits office was key to the process of revamping the magazine and refining the finished product. Clear goal-setting at the outset of the project, a commitment to continuing education about the brand voice by both parties (e.g. the brand voice webinar), and a robust loop of feedback and response helped produce a publication that has been a hit with employees since it debuted in its rebranded form in winter 2018.

The magazine’s content blends important benefits information with storytelling that is true to the organization’s spiritual roots and stirs employees to make meaningful changes in their lives that can improve their physical, emotional and financial well-being. The publication features several recurring departments, including a popular employee profile that highlights employees’ efforts to enhance their health, often with an employee benefits tie-in.

3. Ensure Consistency at Every Touchpoint

Content isn’t the only vehicle for conveying brand voice.

“The new magazine branding uses bold, simple color combinations to help tell the story and draw the reader into the content,” says Emily Sewell, art director at True North Custom. “The colors are also cleverly used to guide the reader through the content using an established system of street signs at the outer corners of each page. These elements help orient the reader, as well as reaffirm the organization’s commitment to its employees by providing a sense of stability throughout the health system.”

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Topics: Healthcare Case Studies

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