Novari Health’s team of software developers spent 6 years creating an IT solution for the healthcare industry. The clinically driven program was designed to help patient flow and moderate wait times in hospitals, a leading issue in healthcare systems all over the world. It was a fantastic product, backed by healthcare experts, but home grown marketing and communications strategies were not producing the desired growth.
When Novari Health hired a new VP of Business Development, John Sinclair, he immediately acknowledged that the company needed to make some changes. “To be seen as serious contenders in the healthcare industry, we needed a new identity” said John. “We had a great product assortment and everything in place to grow our business with the notable exception of our identity.”
There was a lot of confidence in the product and Novari Health thought that this might be obvious to the healthcare industry without extensive marketing. “There was a bit of a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality towards marketing” said John “we weren’t presenting ourselves or the product in the best way.”
One of the more prominent issues was the name of the company and the product. Prior to becoming Novari Health, the company was called AdapCS and their signature product was called AcessRX. “No one could pronounce or spell either name” said John “and because of the RX after the product name, everyone assumed that our surgical software had something to do with prescriptions. It was very misleading.”
Novari Health needed to build a marketing and communications strategy worthy of their world‐class product and present themselves as a partner in which the healthcare industry was willing to invest.
The goal was to position Novari Health as the surgical access and wait times specialists in the Canadian healthcare IT market. The company faced two main challenges in marketing to the healthcare industry.
First, the majority of players in the healthcare industry are large corporations. As a small company from Kingston, Ontario, Novari Health needed an identity that would allow them to stand up to the competition. “We wanted to give them high impact materials and a competitive edge” said Brian Dodo, Principal and Strategic Designer at BmDodo.
Second, hospitals are looking for reliable, stable partners on whom they can depend. Novari’s previous branding was not compatible with this image. The new branding needed to present Novari Health as a partner in which hospitals could safely invest.
Finally, the scale of the project was huge “We went right back to scratch, as if the company didn’t exist” said John. Novari Health needed a new identity and every single touch point needed to be re‐created and re written. This included everything from a new website and marketing materials, right down to the phone answering system. Many details and a lot of new content would need to be managed.
BmDodo Strategic Design created materials that would address Novari Health’s challenges and could be used in every element of their brand strategy. “Everything we created was meant to stand out in a hospital environment” said Brian. “We also wanted to create high impact materials in a cost effective way. For example, folders with product information were designed to keep, not throw out.” This made Novari Health a more permanent fixture in hospitals and new materials could be added as needed. This prevented reprinting all the marketing materials every time there was an update.
The logo was at the heart of these new materials. The Novari Health logo is a depiction of elements coming together as patient data flows from the surgeon’s office, through the pre‐surgical preparation process, to the operating room and the provincial and national wait time authorities. The centre of the logo contains the medical cross symbol – a universal symbol for access to healthcare. The cross creates clear, logical, efficient pathways within the logo. It also evokes a sense of movement, direction and flow into a common point; just as patients progress from the surgical wait list into the operating room.
“The shapes in the logo are loosely based on cellular forms, which are independent elements bound together to pursue a common function” said Jen Cameron, Strategic Designer at BmDodo. “This is a subtle nod to independent units in the healthcare system operating together to deliver quality services to patients.” The shapes also remind us of an hourglass that funnels a variety of elements to a common point, like patients waiting for surgery.
The font used for ‘Novari’ echoes the shapes in the logo, creating a sense of balance, flow, integration and stability. The font is deliberately lower‐case, which evokes a quiet confidence and openness. This is reflective of the authoritative, yet collaborative character of Novari Health.
BmDodo’s thorough understanding of the situation also helped Novari Health address their cautious client base. “Brian and Jen really understood how to create impact without alienating a risk averse industry” added John.
In the midst of the re‐branding process, Novari Health also addressed the company name. Inspired by the changes they were making, Novari Health held an in‐office competition to choose a name “through a process of debate and elimination it came down to Novari. It was actually the CEO’s suggestion” said John.
To re‐think the product name and help support marketing and communications strategy for the new identity, BmDodo collaborated with Theresa MacBeth at Boom Strategy.
“BmDodo and Boom Strategy addressed all of our shortcomings and the results have been spectacular” said John.
The new identity and a more systematic approach to communications allowed Novari Health to reach out to other vendors and create potential partnerships with other big companies. “I think our credibility has been much enhanced” said John “we have had interest from all over the world.”
The high impact materials also gave Novari health the competitive edge they were looking for. “No one assumes that we’re a small IT company based in Kingston. Everyone is taking us at face value and it has really opened doors for us.”
While there was concern about the scope of the project and its condensed time line, everything was completed without problems. “We started in May and everything was finished in September” said John “Brian and Jen were incredibly professional and resourceful.”
Most importantly, Novari Health has seen significant impact on their bottom line. They recently closed a large sale with a major Canadian hospital and expect more deals like this in the future.
As a final note of praise, John added “prior to working with Novari, I worked internationally. You wouldn’t expect to find a resource like Bmdodo, with their enormous talent and extraordinary professionalism, in a mid‐sized city. BmDodo Strategic Design allowed us to economically compete with much larger businesses across North America. We were so pleased to accomplish what we did with a local company.”