Like few other industries, healthcare rebranding is essential in a marketplace that is constantly evolving.
New threats to public health have fundamentally transformed the healthcare business model, leading more and more organizations to realize that a rebrand is long overdue.
A high-profile rebrand can transform a healthcare company, outlining a new way forward, boosting company morale, and helping to better serve the needs of the community.
In what follows, we take a look at exactly what we mean by healthcare rebranding, as well as 20 healthcare rebranding examples that can inspire any rebrand.
What is Healthcare Rebranding?
Healthcare rebranding is the process of reshaping how a healthcare company is perceived. A healthcare rebrand can include the reimagining of everything from a healthcare brand’s name and tagline to its logo and visual identity to its website and marketing assets.
The best healthcare rebrands start with brand research into current brand perceptions—those of both internal and external stakeholders.
Data from research guides the strategy or brand positioning phase, where the brand is repositioned to better meet patient needs and marketplace opportunities.
Only following research and strategy does a healthcare rebrand move on to the identity phase, where the brand’s visual and verbal identities are reimagined.
The identity phase culminates with the redesign of the healthcare brand’s website and marketing collateral, which is then launched into the marketplace in the final phase, brand activation.
Healthcare Rebranding Examples
COVID-19 has upended the healthcare landscape and, not surprisingly, led to the rebranding of many hospitals and health systems.
But the global pandemic is only the latest in a number of industry shifts that have led healthcare brands around the world to rethink their brand pillars in the past decade or so.
What follows are 20 noteworthy healthcare rebranding examples from every corner of the industry (some more successful than others).
CVS Pharmacy Becomes CVS Health
At the start of 2016, CVS, the company known for its huge nationwide chain of pharmacies, became CVS Health. The organization restructured itself into four separate and distinct brands: CVS Pharmacy, CVS Specialty, CVS Minute Clinic, and CVS Caremark, each offering customers products and services in a different area of personal wellness.
Prominently featuring “CVS” in the names of these new sub-brands clarified brand architecture, allowing CVS Health to expand the scope of their offerings while leveraging the equity of their trusted, existing master brand.
The sub-brands in the CVS family also utilized the well-known typography and color of the original CVS Pharmacies, proving that a company doesn’t always need a complete overhaul of its identity for a rebrand to be successful. Sometimes a simple restructuring and a fresh approach to what already works is enough to get the job done.
Zocdoc Finally Ditches a Dated Logo
The healthcare platform Zocdoc may be considered an industry leader and an innovator in the medical tech space, but until the company rebranded, many wondered aloud why their logo looked like it was from 2007 and cost about $80.
The answer was simple: Zocdoc’s old logo was from 2007 and it did cost $80! That was all the money the company’s founders could scrape together at the time for a designer to craft their brand design.
Now, with billions in annual sales, Zocdoc can afford to invest more into their brand. As a result, they’ve left their old look behind in exchange for a friendly and imaginative identity that speaks to the accessible nature of their platform.
Catholic Healthcare West is Reborn as Dignity Health
In 2015, multi-state healthcare system Catholic Healthcare West changed its name to Dignity Health. The switch gave the company an opportunity to reposition itself with a new name with extremely positive connotations.
“Dignity” is a powerful idea in the healthcare space. It is the gold standard of patient treatment—to show respect to those you serve while also providing excellent medical care.
By directly associating the brand with the highest goal of healthcare providers, Dignity Health tapped into positive existing perceptions to create a powerful new brand.
North Shore-LIJ Health System Rebrands as Northwell Health
Northshore-LIJ Health System sought to reposition itself from a regional healthcare provider to a nationally recognized brand (and gain a foothold in the vital New York City market in the process).
“Being highly visible and clearly understood within and beyond the New York metropolitan area requires strong brand recognition,” said Michael J. Dowling, the 21-hospital network’s president and CEO.
While critics were somewhat underwhelmed by the “safe” choice in name, there was a decidedly more excited reception for the company’s new logo. Northwell Health replaced the generic medical look of the old Northshore logo with a colorful, life-affirming identity incorporating upward-pointing arrows that evoke growth, progress, and positive change.
From Pesinet to Djantoli
One might not assume that an organization specializing in healthcare for at-risk families throughout Africa would make investing in rebranding a priority, but French health and wellness provider Pesinet understood the potential benefits of elevating its brand.
Moving from Pesinet (and its staid logo and color palette) to the name Djantoli (with a vibrant yellow color scheme) evokes the brand’s lifesaving services and projects a feeling of warmth and hope that was missing from the brand’s previous identity.
The new tagline, “Because every life counts,” is a powerful distillation of the selfless mission of those who help provide healthcare and medicine for those who need it the most.
Cancer Research UK Shifts to a More Personal Approach
Despite the lifesaving work performed by the fundraising teams at Cancer Research UK, the organization’s logo circa 2014 felt far too corporate and detached to communicate the warmth and teamwork central to the brand.
Rather than overhaul the entire brand, or rename the company, the rebranding team behind Cancer Research UK simply took a different approach to an existing idea. Using the dots and other circular images to form a “C”, rather than the previous arrow shape, the organization was better able to communicate its core competency of raising money for cancer treatment.
The new identity speaks to the collective, team-focused approach needed to succeed in helping families coping with the disease.
Merck’s New Identity
German pharmaceutical giant Merck unveiled a new identity system in 2015 that was confusing to many. The firm behind the concept, FutureBrand, found its inspiration “in the infinitely fascinating world under the microscope.” A press release announcing the new logo went on to say:
“Inspired by this vivid universe, FutureBrand created an ecosystem of elements: striking colours, expressive cells, energetic strings, and experiential macrobes that can be combined to celebrate Merck’s imagination… All of this is held together with a simultaneously technical and organic typeface that allows Merck to tell its most colourful stories ever.”
The idea of empowering a pharmaceutical company to tell more colorful stories was a bold one. And most of the colors themselves are fresh and invigorating. But the custom typeface that comprised the new Merck wordmark feels a bit too creative and inscrutable for a pharma brand.
Another example of what not to do when it comes to healthcare rebranding, the global healthcare conglomerate Siemens was responsible for what some considered the most notorious rebranding missteps of the 21st century. Certainly, the brand had the best of intentions when, in 2016, they abandoned the longtime name Siemens Healthcare and rebranded the company as Siemens Healthineers.
The invented word “Healthineers” was intended to evoke images of people helping other people achieve good health. Pioneer, engineer, volunteer—they’re all impressive and inspiring characters. Surely, combining “health” with their common suffix could only result in an equally impressive and inspiring concept, right? Turns out, the name sounded more like a term for employees at a dystopian theme park.
Quest Diagnostics’ Lettermark
After reimagining their logo in 2015, Quest Diagnostics received positive reviews of the font they chose for the new wordmark. Critics were less kind, however, when it came to the redesigned lettermark that came along with it.
While the old Quest Diagnostics lettermark—an overly busy affair that had tried to shoehorn both a sunrise illustration and the letter “Q” into a confined oval shape—was well overdue for an update, the new iteration did not prove much stronger.
Between the interior gradient, the internal and external borders of the Q, and the boundary of the lettermark itself, there are no fewer than four circular shapes, cut through by the sharp tail of the Q. The resultant effect is dizzying and imbalanced—and not in a good way.
Kettering Health Drops the “Network”
Simplification is often one of the primary goals of healthcare rebranding, and eliminating unnecessary words like “network” is a good place to start, as Kettering Health Network—a faith-based nonprofit serving Western Ohio—realized when they rebranded as Kettering Health.
As is often the case with healthcare rebrands, the name change was part of a system-wide brand transformation, updating the network name, hospital names, and logo.
As Fred Manchur, CEO of Kettering Health, put it, “The past year has shown that we are truly stronger together, and this shift makes it clear to our communities that we are one, united Kettering Health—dedicated to being our best, to help our patients be their best.”
Partners HealthCare System Becomes Mass General Brigham
Massachusetts’ largest health system, Partners HealthCare System rebranded itself as Mass General Brigham in order to more closely align the system with the brands of its “world-renowned academic medical centers”: Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Rebranding is always most effective when informed by research, and Mass General’s was no exception. Officials said the change was based on feedback from patients and employees as well as extensive market research.
“The Partners HealthCare name has served our organization well for 25 years and has helped us to become the strong system that we are today, but we are moving forward to rebrand to better articulate what we offer patients and more closely reflect the vision for our system,” said Anne Klibanski, M.D., president and CEO of Partners HealthCare.
Adventist Health System Becomes AdventHealth
The rebrand of one of the nation’s largest faith-based health systems, Adventist Health System, to AdventHealth, did more than just change the name of the organization and its facilities. It marked a culture shift that placed consumers at the forefront of care.
“One of the hardest things about health care is that people have difficulty navigating the system to get the care they need, which leads to gaps in care,” said Terry Shaw, president/CEO for AdventHealth. “Now, when a person goes from one stage of care to another in our network, they know that they are transitioning in a connected system because the facilities carry the same name. We are also hands-on with the care navigation process, so we guide and work closely with consumers to help them have a more seamless experience throughout their care journey.”
CBI Health Rebrands
When it comes to health care rebranding, the best rebrands are more than just cosmetic. Such was the case with CBI Health. Along with its new logo and tagline, “Where better begins,” the organization set out to redefine who they are, the work they do, and the contributions they make to shaping healthcare in Canada.
The brand’s new purpose articulates its contribution to shaping the Canadian healthcare landscape. Its new values proudly defined the 13,000 people at the heart of what they do. And a new brand promise focused on the brand’s responsibility to help millions of clients across Canada improve their quality of life.
HealthSouth Transforms into Encompass Health
When HealthSouth, a leading provider of inpatient rehabilitation, acquired Encompass Home Health & Hospice to expand its position in post-acute care, the two companies needed a new brand to unite them.
The brand that emerged from the acquisition would not only have to stand out in a crowded U.S. healthcare space, it would also have to unify a combined 35,000 employee workforce.
Encompass Health was the result, a brand whose positioning is centered on driving integrated care and improving health outcomes. The brand was built to draw on the strengths of both HealthSouth and Encompass Home Health & Hospice, but communicate something larger and more united.
HCA Hospitals Coalesces as HCA Healthcare
Founded in 1968, HCA Healthcare expanded over decades to own and operate 186 hospitals and nearly 2,000 sites of care. With such immense growth almost inevitably comes challenges with brand architecture, however, and HCA was no exception.
Facilities in 21 U.S. states and in the U.K. had varying naming conventions, including HCA Hospitals, until the company decided to simplify the system under a unified brand, HCA Healthcare, effectively removing unneeded complexity.
It is always easier to build brand equity around a single entity than around multiple brands whose connections are not immediately clear.
McKesson Becomes Change Healthcare
When McKesson Corporation, a leading global healthcare services and information technology company, merged with Change Healthcare Holdings, Inc., a leading provider of software and analytics, network solutions and technology-enabled services, critical healthcare rebranding decisions needed to be made.
What emerged was a new healthcare information technology brand, with a simplified name: Change Healthcare. The brand’s visual identity and positioning were completely new, with a brand launch that touted the unification of the two organizations.
“From day one, our intent has been to create a new company uniquely equipped to drive collaborative and positive change across the healthcare industry,” said John Hammergren, McKesson chairman and CEO. “We came to the conclusion that ‘Change Healthcare’ best articulates the new company’s mission. It speaks directly to our clients who share our vision for a better healthcare system, and it reinforces the ambitions and spirit of our new company, our great potential and our transformative role in healthcare.”
Lemonaid Health Puts on a Smile
The global pandemic served to fast-track digital health like no one could have predicted. It led to a slew of healthcare rebrands across the industry as more and more patients and providers turned to telehealth for their healthcare needs.
One brand that benefited from the digital health sea change was Lemonaid Health, an on-demand telehealth platform providing both online care and pharmacy services.
Lemonaid Health’s reimagined visual identity was simplified by dropping the lemon graphic and retaining only the wordmark. The subsequent reshaping of the mark into a smile was intended to symbolize the friendliness of employees, as well as the health of those who use the brand.
Net Health Puts People First
Following a successful merger and acquisition, Net Health needed to reimagine its brand for a new stage of growth. A provider of healthcare software in thousands of facilities nationwide, the brand looked to healthcare rebranding to reshape its narrative to focus on the industry’s oft-unrecognized frontline workers.
The new Net Health brand puts people over product, with a brand voice that emphasizes empathy and encouragement. The new logo takes symbolizes two united pieces, implying that Net Health is the connection between providers and patients.
Patterns and shapes in the brand’s extended visual identity are inspired by the symbol’s center circle and evoke connection and upward movement. In an industry where blues and greens dominate, Net Health’s bold palette features highly differentiated shades of red.
Curative grew from a lab science startup to a health services company with more than 7,000 employees and a network administering 35,000 vaccines a week. With such a rapid growth trajectory, healthcare rebranding was critical
The company needed a new identity tied to its brand narrative around inspiring trust. The brand’s new design system is based on the principles of universal accessibility, radical ambition, and collective power. The resultant system extends across digital assets as much as physical ones, and was designed to help regional teams rapidly and consistently execute the brand.
Simple geometric patterns evoke optimism without coming off as ornate or superfluous. The logo’s new symbol was designed to communicate the brand’s forward direction. The color palette is bold yet approachable, conveying positive energy as well as trustworthiness.
NURX Makes a Bold Statement
Since 2015, Nurx has offered telemedicine with a focus on birth control and sexual health treatments. Without the barriers of health insurance, users can consult with licensed medical providers and have prescriptions delivered to their home—safely, securely, and discreetly.
NURX’s rebrand began with a brand strategy centered on the three things Nurx gives its users: greater control over their bodies, more choice when it comes to affordable treatment, and the freedom to live their best lives—on their own terms.
The brand’s new positioning provided a starting point for a bold visual and verbal identity. The new brand begins with confident wordmark that unapologetically announces Nurx’s presence in the healthcare landscape. A hand-drawn period at the end of the word underscores the sentiment, announcing the start of a new chapter in healthcare.
When healthcare rebranding is done right, companies are able to reach more of their target audience, change course to address new business objectives, and breathe new life into a tired brand.
As the industry continues to change, healthcare rebranding becomes increasingly important. One need look no further than the slew of organizations that have rebranded in the last few years as evidence.
A changing industry means changing patient needs and challenges, after all. And addressing the changing needs of patients is one of the most important reasons any healthcare company should rebrand.