How brand architecture of a healthcare equipment company was streamlined
The $9B diagnostic imaging business of a global healthcare equipment manufacturer was becoming increasingly complex and difficult to do business with as a result of siloed management, proliferating brands, and inconsistent naming practices. The management of each product line (or modality, as referred to in the industry) had grown so autonomous that decisions were often made independently, sales efforts to the same customer were duplicative, and sub-brands multiplied to the point that customers were overwhelmed. Moreover, terms to distinguish products within lines were inconsistent and confusing, thus defeating their purpose (e.g. “select” in one modality meant premium, while in another modality meant value). Not only was the overgrown brand portfolio confusing, it was sub-optimizing the company’s efforts to articulate clear value propositions that distinguished them from their competitors.
Aligning the marketing leaders of each modality on the key fundamentals required to move the business forward was the first step of the engagement. Among them included an acknowledgement that there was a more efficient way to go to market, efforts across the modalities needed to be better coordinated, opportunities for cross-modality branding should be explored, and future strategies should be heavily informed by target customers, including radiologist and healthcare administrators. Brand architecture scenarios were developed ranging from incremental to transformative to further engage leaders, frame plausible but far-reaching options, and guide stimuli for customer research. In addition, multiple concepts for value propositions were developed that stemmed from customer need-states vs. the company’s internal orientation. These concepts and the architectural scenarios were both tested and refined with multiple customers in key markets around the world until the optimal solution emerged. The final strategy was refined in close collaboration with the marketing council and its business leaders to arrive at an agreeable approach that presented a unified, but modality-relevant, face to the market. A set of value propositions that resonated with customers was clarified, and naming conventions were developed that standardized approaches across divisions.
The final strategy that was adopted by leadership was the more transformative approach. “Range sub-brands” that crossed modalities and tied to universal customer needs were established and launched at the industry’s largest tradeshow, RSNA. Early feedback on the approach from the market was extremely favorable as the company scored the highest among its competitors for “most customer-centric” in a study conducted shortly after the launch.