Friday, September 09, 2011

M D Anderson Rebranding Program’s Great Story – Behind the AMA Firewall.

Am I committing a faux pas? Or delivering a service?

I ask because Mary M Flory wrote a fine, descriptive article in the just-arrived issue of Marketing Health Services. Titled, “Painting the Town Red,” it’s about the M D Anderson Cancer Center rebrand. And for the moment, it’s for American Marketing Association members only – stashed behind the firewall.

This copyrighted article features the institution’s Associate Vice President of Marketing Alicia Jansen – that’s her in the publication’s photograph – and details how the institution’s stakeholder team pulled off its “comprehensive brand overhaul.”

(On a smacking-my-forehead note, I missed the chance to scoop Flory because Jansen presented the story, in person, at our AMAHouston Healthcare SIG event in June. And I did NOT blog about it.)

I am not going to reprise the article, nor take away from the hard work of brand reviewing and rebranding conducted by the MD Anderson Cancer Center team. But I think it’s worth bringing some element out from behind the firewall – the five challenges that MD Anderson had to identify before the brand could be “fixed.” Directly quoting from the Flory piece, they were:

1. Brand interpretation: MD Anderson did not have an understanding of how its brand promise was being perceived across its many stakeholders.

2. Brand asset performance: MD Anderson’s previous logo and other brand assets did not differentiate the organization nor communicate its mission as strongly. In addition, the assets were dated, fading into the current communications environment.

3. Brand voice: With the volume of communications being disseminated from the organization, MD Anderson noticed a dilution of the brand. This dilution was due, in part, to the lack of a unified design and messaging system.

4. Brand growth: Due to growth in the past 10 years and the mission to be a global leader in cancer care, several national and global relationships were established and a brand architecture and management system had not been implemented to unite or tie the strategy together.

5. Brand management: MD Anderson used a cross-functional approach to communicating its brand and did not have a strategy to manage its current approach, much less future growth.

It’s classic “Find the problems” stuff. (Gotta find ‘em before you can fix ‘em.) Well…your institution or company may be facing the need to build a stronger brand voice. So you next steps are: join the American Marketing Association, get behind its firewall and read the article. It’s a fine first guide to rebranding.

Me? I’m grateful to AMAHouston and Jansen for the chance to have heard all the newest parts of the story first-hand. (I did blog about the MD Anderson ad campaign here 18 months back.) Even more, thanks to Flory, Managing Editor of Magazines for the American Marketing Association, for the telling-in-print.

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