A brand positioning marriage
Merging two legacy brands into one national leader.
What do you get when you combine high growth with great culture? The best of both brands.
It’s a tale of two companies that needed to come together to form one new brand. One specialized in hospice; the other in home health and personal care services. One was family-owned; the other owned by a private equity company. One grew organically; the other predominantly through acquisitions.
Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care was a privately-owned home healthcare company run by a charismatic, effective leader. Family-owned with a strong internal culture, the company experienced rapid, organic growth.
AccentCare is a national leader in personal, home health and hospice care services, and one of the fastest growing brands in the space. In 2020 it merged with Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, expanding from 20 to 36 states. But because it grew so quickly, AccentCare’s brand position and identity were in flux.
Enter Revive. The ask: Marry the best of both brands. And not just at a surface level. Internal teams, customers, purchasers and other stakeholders needed to embrace the new brand.
There were three key questions on the table.
- One, would a unified brand best serve the new combined entity?
- Two, if a unified brand was the best solution, what should the company be named?
- And three, what would be the best brand position to differentiate the company from its competitors?
First, we researched
The Revive team conducted more than 40 interviews with executive leadership, directors, department heads, sales teams, and clinical staff from both AccentCare and Seasons to understand the strengths, weaknesses, values and vulnerabilities of both companies, as well as competitive and marketplace dynamics. We also conducted primary research with healthcare audiences and consumers, including a national quantitative survey and focus groups.
Our research revealed three key findings. First, health system leaders, important purchasers, and influencers of referrals valued one company that could provide all three services — hospice, home health, and personal care services — over working with multiple companies. Second, both AccentCare and Seasons, which didn’t have many overlapping markets, were relatively equal in awareness and reputation. Third, an analysis of the legacy brands’ equity, including brand recognition and loyalty, ultimately proved the AccentCare name would best unify the expanded organization.
These were just the insights we needed to form a new brand. We also found that healthcare leaders and referrers thought the space was ripe for more innovation and evolution, which matched the company’s business strategy — this would ultimately drive our brand positioning.
Refreshed look and feel
We collaborated with BrandActive to help AccentCare prepare for implementation of their brand change. Although the AccentCare name would continue and existing sub-brands would sunset, the brand needed to be refreshed to reflect the character of the combined organization. We led workshops with the AccentCare team to identify the voice and tone of their unified mission and vision, which led to a brighter, modernized look and feel. From word marks to color palettes, imagery and iconography, we ensured a vibrant brand still respectful of the seriousness of the services AccentCare delivers.
Retiring the legacy brands can be challenging for employees. With the passion former Seasons’ employees had for the company, we knew we needed to be sensitive to their feelings and give them the space to process. Because these employees worked in hospice, however, they understood change and how to honor loss. So, the employees of Seasons held a “memorial service” to honor their old brand – with a dash of humor. Revive also facilitated meetings to celebrate the legacy brands and reveal the new identity at the first combined all-staff townhall. We drafted rapid responses to potential hard questions and identified and empowered brand ambassadors— the individuals who could help influence morale.
A major announcement
Once we took the time for a comprehensive internal launch, we were ready for an external launch. Both organizations had valuable relationships with referral partners — the critical source of volume. Because of this, Revive positioned the merger as bringing the best of both brands together, retaining the high-quality standards of each. The announcement of the merger was made through a multitude of touchpoints: emails, postcards, phone scripts, an infographic, and engaging announcement videos.
“Determining AccentCare’s brand position, name, and identity required a unique combination of industry knowledge, smart research and analysis, brand knowledge, creativity, and effective communication in many sensitive situations. And, as a new leadership group was finding its footing, reaching agreement on key decisions was essential – in a time when decisions were, understandably, influenced by emotion. Our data-driven, collaborative approach methodically pushed the balance of subjectivity toward objectivity and unity.”revive, lead strategist for accentcare
With both quantitative and qualitative evidence of their unique strengths, along with empathy for staff navigating change, Revive joined two legacy brands into one national leader in care for home health and hospice patients.