With over 12,000 employees and an average daily census of more than 19,000 patients, VITAS Healthcare (NYSE: CHE) is the leading provider of end-of-life care in the United States. It was founded in 1978 as VITAS Hospice, and by the mid-2010s its leadership determined that a brand transition was needed due to the company’s growth and the evolution of its services. Knight Strategic Communications (then Knight Marketing) worked with the chief marketing officer on the brand as well as a comprehensive plan to roll out the newer version to multiple audiences both internal and external.
The project began with extensive qualitative research that included focus groups and in-depth interviews with select VITAS team members, stakeholders, and referral sources, delving into brand perception, reputation, and positioning. Comprehensive competitive research was also conducted to provide accurate context.
KSC then guided the client in an examination of brand architecture and naming conventions, with several brainstorming and planning sessions to consider VITAS’s many divisions and how an updated brand could effectively encompass the company’s expanding family of names. KSC recommended transitioning from VITAS Hospice to VITAS Healthcare to best represent the company in its present state and aspired future, as well as a monolithic (or unified) architecture for maximal leverage and brand awareness.
Once the name, architecture, graphic identity, and key messages were developed, KSC produced a comprehensive brand transition plan that included messaging for various internal and external audiences, communication tactics, scripts, and other operational initiatives. With nearly 48 locations in 17 states and untold volumes of printed materials and digital assets featuring the old name and logo, replacing the old with the new was a daunting proposition that required a tight strategy and timeline.
To kick it all off, KSC produced a video to unveil the transitioned brand and the rationale behind it to VITAS’s leadership team, titled “Moving at the Speed of Healthcare.”