CHAPTER 20Rebranding an Organization: The Novant Health Story

Scott Davis and David Duvall

Sometimes an organization faces so many challenges that small brand-building efforts simply will not be enough to create meaningful results. In these cases the organization may need to undergo a complete rebranding. These shifts are challenging, expensive, and disruptive, but they can provide significant benefits. The story of Novant Health illustrates what is required to successfully complete a rebranding effort.

The Issue: a Fragmented Brand Portfolio

Novant Health is a nonprofit healthcare provider that traces its history back to 1891, when Twin City Hospital opened in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The hospital changed names several times over the years until finally it merged in 1997 with Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte. The combined organization became Novant Health.

Over the next decade, Novant acquired hospitals and medical practices in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. By 2013, the Novant system included 13 hospitals, 500 outpatient clinics, and 1,300 physicians, and was earning over $4 billion in revenue.

While the company grew, its brand portfolio became increasingly complicated. By 2013, Novant was a classic house of brands, operating under 400 different brand names. For example, Hemby Children’s Hospital, Huntersville Medical Center, and Presbyterian Hospital were all part of Novant, but each had completely distinct branding.

The use of multiple ...

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