Design strategy and identity system for global private hospital group brand alignment

Brand audit / research / design strategy / communications strategy / visual identity / corporate identity design system and guidelines / creative direction


International private hospital group with operations in South Africa, Namibia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, Mediclinic, required a brand alignment. Up to the time of my involvement, a broad range of brand communications were generated daily by 53 hospitals, extensive partners, and all corporate divisions. No guidelines or central quality management systems were in place. The result was a vast array of misbranded and unbranded material, and the collective effect was damaging to the organisation's status and position. My responsibility was to strategically defragment and restructure their brand, align all communications to brand strategy, and design a more refined corporate identity design system. I then had to develop and implement a new management system for the design and production of all brand communications. This was a two-year project that preceded the upcoming global rebrand project that was to be undertaken by Landor, London.

Strategy I architected and directed an exhaustive brand audit across the entire organisation to identify the nature and extent of defragmentation. This provided critical insights into the types of visual communications required by the organisation, overlaps and redundant material, the range of audience groups, the segmentation model and the messaging needs per group. I undertook the analysis and evaluation of corporate identity elements and brand assets, refinement. I identified where re-design or refinement was appropriate, and I developed a brand architecture system managing complex co-branding & endorsement systems for 53 hospitals and all partners and external stakeholders. In developing the design strategy, a matrix served as a practical easy to use system. It provided structure to the complex communications, identified and facilitated all communication types, all audience groups, and all types and levels of brand messaging. The matrix identified and managed the cadence of repeat and ongoing communications and it separated ad-hoc, special and event-based communications. The strategy provided direction for the visual identity refinement and highlighted where new templates and guidelines would need to be developed. This formed the core of a new entirely centralised production model for the organisation. Visual identity I set up the basic framework of the new refined visual identity and mentored and directed their design agency in rolling out the design system to a comprehensive set of templates that would drastically reduce time spend and remove the risk of off-brand material. To assist the design and advertising agencies in keeping their work aligned to the new framework, I architected and implemented a tailor-made system of processes that managed the different types of creative briefs. This system interrogated and eliminated the unwanted random and off-brand briefs that were damaging to the organisational brand.

Result

A professional and well structured corporate identity and brand communications system that was on-brand and easy to produce. Creative agencies could produce on-brand, world-class material in significantly shorter timeframes at a drastically reduced cost to the organisation. This refined design system also provided Landor with a neat and organised framework to proceed with the global audit.

Key learnings

A brand restructuring and redesign of any nature is a sizeable culture shift within an organisation. By actively involving staff and internal stakeholders at all critical points, the changes that were taking place became far less disruptive. Involving all parties involved in the production of branded materials, including them in the project and listening to them meant that not only did we gather valuable insights into the problems, we also had willing ambassadors who took ownership of implementing the solutions.









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