Putting On a Public Face: UCHealth’s Corporate Branding Initiative

Leaders at the Denver-based UCHealth have been busy working on a “good problem”: the integrated health system, which encompasses 10 inpatient hospitals, plus two more that are under construction, as well as more than 150 clinic locations across the state of Colorado, as well as in southern Wyoming and western Nebraska, and more than 21,500 employees, has been growing through merger and acquisition. And the “good problem” is that, until very recently, the organization had no consistent public identity.

The core of the integrated system was created back in 2012, with the merger of the University of Colorado Hospital and the Poudre Valley Health System. That initial merger brought together three hospitals—the University of Colorado Hospital (Denver), Poudre Valley (Fort Collins), and Medical Center of the Rockies (Loveland); and the health system has been growing via acquisition and affiliation since then.

As the health system states in the “about” section on its website, “At UCHealth we measure success first by patient outcomes and satisfaction. With an academic medical center at our core, we have at hand the newest technologies and the latest proven treatments – but those advantages mean little unless we have helped you regain a level of wellness that opens you to life’s possibilities. We serve the people of Colorado and the nation with the very latest in patient and family-centered care and service. Over the years UC Health facilities and programs have earned – and continue to earn – numerous awards and recognitions.”

And while that statement may seem relatively straightforward, it actually came about as the product of intensive research, internal discussion, planning, and preparation, according to Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth’s chief marketing and experience officer. The challenge? As the health system has grown, it has lacked a single, consistent public identity across all of its component facilities and sites. As a result, Rodriguez and his colleagues have spent considerable time and energy crafting a unified public identity for the system.

Manny Rodriguez

Among the numerous results of the rebrand, according to UCHealth senior executives:

> UCHealth has become a top-of-mind health system, now leading all its competitors with an 18 percent unaided recall

> UCHealth has strengthened the perception of its market leadership with 40 percent of consumers having a more favorable opinion of health care facilities associated with UCHealth versus any other system in Colorado

> Meanwhile, 44 percent of consumers have taken action as a result of seeing UCHealth advertising, including visiting the website or making an appointment

> Website viewers have increased more than 17 percent from last year, receiving over 1 million page views per month

> Compared to last year, 75 percent more people are visiting the Make an Appointment section of the website

> The University of Colorado Hospital was ranked the fastest-growing hospital for social engagement nationwide, with 112-percent growth, as documented in ListenFirst’s state of social report

Manny Rodriguez spoke recently with Healthcare Informatics Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland about the corporate identity initiative at UCHealth. Below are excerpts from that interview.

What was at the origin of this initiative?

UCHealth is nearly six years old; it was brought together by a merger of the University of Colorado Hospital and Poudre Valley Health System, and we’re nearly 12 hospitals now—two are under construction. In June 2015, when I started, we had no consistency in who we were. We wanted to develop a consistency in our care model, but also in how we represented ourselves. The University of Colorado Health? UCHealth? Memorial Health? Poudre Valley Health? We wanted to create a consistent identity. And so in June 2015, we started the process of the rebrand, and undertook an 18-month process that culminated in the launch of our brand on February 1, 2017.

Did that process encompass a lot of listening to your patient communities?