Hospitals increasingly pursue Russian-nesting-doll brand strategies

In a growing trend, hospitals and health systems across the country are increasingly pushing the emerging “Russian-nesting-doll” brand strategy. The opposite of a unified brand strategy – in which one name is used across the entire organization – the Russian-nesting-doll approach calls for using as many brand names as humanly possible.russian nesting doll

Take the new Tyler T. Tylerton Center for Knuckle Replacement Surgery in Chicago, IL. The “TTT Center,” as system marketing lead Jonathan Sampson J. Johnson calls it, is part of the Mary Ginger Bone and Joint Institute, which is housed in the Western Southside Chicago Medical Center, which is part of the Prairie Meadows Health System, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PMS Health LLC.

“There are so many advantages to using multiple names, like being able to come up with different logos every time,” says Johnson. “Our docs love designing logos, and this gives them an outlet. It also lets our designers spread their wings and really get creative by coming up with new brochure designs with every campaign. Our marketing plan looks like a kaleidoscope of messages, strategies and tactics. It’s like Christmas every day.”

Johnson said the organization tried a unified branding approach in the early 2000s, but found it too mundane.

“The signage was all the same, we only had one website, even the hospital bills all looked like they came from the same place. Where’s the inspiration in that?” says Johnson. “Our patients love trying to figure out exactly how it all fits together – it’s like a little game, like pocket Scrabble or something.”

Johnson said that while the TTT Center sets a new internal record with a five-level naming derivation, the organization is hoping to go to an unprecedented sixth level by co-branding with a system in the northern suburbs.

“And just wait until we launch our ACO – the possibilities are endless!”