Michigan Medicine launches new branding campaign

March 29, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership, ,

It’s been more than six years since the medical enterprise had a major brand campaign in place.

In that time, not only did the organization introduce the Michigan Medicine brand to unite its three-part mission under one overarching umbrella — but faculty and staff have also won awards, broken records, celebrated major breakthroughs and safeguarded our community through an unprecedented pandemic.

There is no shortage of things to be proud of, but research shows that our community’s perception of the impact of our organization doesn’t always match the reality.

“How our community perceives our brand impacts everything from where patients choose to receive care, to our ability to hire the best and brightest faculty and staff, to whether we can continue recruiting the most promising learners and our ability to keep growing as a philanthropy of choice,” said Rose Glenn, chief communication and marketing officer. “We have a powerful story to tell.”

Something’s different here

When the Department of Communication set out to design a new brand campaign nearly two years ago, the imperative was clear: This campaign needed to reflect the contributions of the people who power all three parts of our mission.

“We started with dozens of focus groups across research, education and patient care,” said Glenn, who has worked at a number of health systems before coming to Michigan Medicine. She quickly noticed something different about what the focus group participants were saying.

“What we heard that is unique here, even relative to other major academic medical centers, is that our people come to work every day in pursuit of answers,” Glenn said.

“Our focus groups showed what many of us already feel about working here — this is a place where the answers are within reach. The search for answers and the ability to give them to our patients is what motivates our scientists, it empowers our nurses and doctors, it inspires our learners. Each of us has a connection to creating, finding and giving patients the answers they are looking for — from our security personnel to our IT staff to our facilities teams.”

The findings from the focus groups informed a unique new campaign: Michigan Answers.

Before production began, the Michigan Answers concept was also tested across a number of groups, including external stakeholders across the state.

“How people perceive brands is a very emotional thing,” said Rebecca Priest, director of marketing. “We were able to measure how people felt before and after watching the Michigan Answers test ads, and we saw movement in the right direction toward being a preferred brand on many key measures, such as trust, respect and inspiration.”

The campaign anthem video, which can be seen above, was almost entirely filmed before the pandemic, when requirements for social distancing and mask-wearing were not in place. It was designed to show how all three parts of our mission are reflected by the “Michigan Answers” message.

Just the beginning

The first visible signs of the campaign will be elevator wraps installed this week in University Hospital and Taubman Health Center, with additional campaign images installed throughout the medical campus over the next several weeks.

The multi-platform campaign will kick off in the external community the week of April 5, with the debut of three new television commercials and billboards. Later in the spring, radio, print advertising and other digital advertising will kick off as well.

Check back next week for more updates and tips on where to watch the new TV ads!

Learn even more about Michigan Answers from Rebecca Priest on The Wrap employee podcast via the YouTube video below.