For the past 100 years St. Charles Hospital has been providing exceptionally high quality medical services with an unmatched tradition of compassionate care. But it has done so with a very low profile in the community.
It all began when 27 homeless children with disabilities (mostly afflicted with Polio) boarded a train in Brooklyn, NY headed to Port Jefferson where they were lovingly accepted into the care of four French Sisters with a mission to provide support, care, education, and medical and surgical treatment. By 1910, a three-story structure designed to accommodate 250 children
was dedicated as St. Charles Hospital. But, rehabilitation is just one of the many specialties at St. Charles. The hospital provides a wide spectrum of world-class medical services in the areas of Maternal/Child (Obstetrics), Bariatric, Orthopedic and Emergency medicine to name a few.
The St. Charles story is deep and inspiring but was not well known. They have not done a good job of self-promotion outside of their loyal constituents, and needed to re-position themselves from being considered a nice little “community hospital” to a leader in healthcare on Long Island, competing with the likes of well funded institutions such as NorthShoreLIJ, Stonybrook and Mather.
The Reality Check
We had originally been engaged by St. Charles Hospital to develop a campaign to promote their Emergency Department. At that time we implemented our brand development methodology, which we call the Reality Check.
During the Reality Check, we performed a series of activities designed to clarify and reveal the Hospital’s position in the community, their full service offering, their short and long-term goals and the community mindset. We performed our initial research which uncovered the hospital’s best kept secrets and revealed some very interesting findings. Although St. Charles has some of the finest specialty departments with high industry recognition and exceptional outcomes, and they provide a wide spectrum of exceptional hospital services rivaling those found in Manhattan, they do it right here on Long Island. In fact, many doctors who practice at noted specialty hospitals such as the Hospital for Special Surgery were actually trained by doctors who are pioneering groundbreaking procedures here at St. Charles.
Unfortunately, because of their mission focused mindset, which puts the patient above profit, they had a very small budget for self-promotion. As a result many in the community thought that if they were in need of serious or specialty medical care, they would need to go to a university hospital a specialty hospital in Manhattan rather than to St. Charles. We needed to change this mindset quickly, and do it with that same small budget.
Our recommendation called for a paradigm shift at St. Charles. We needed to communicate about the hospital’s high level of care, superior outcomes and numerous accolades attributed to the various departments both within the hospital and without. We challenged the conventional wisdom with regards to how a community hospital should be perceived, re-thinking the definition for those within the organization and outside amongst their referral partners, and as a result this changed how St. Charles Hospital was promoted. This report, which we call “The Reality Check” was presented to the leadership team during an exciting and revealing session which led to a very enthusiastic expanding of the scope of the project.
We embarked on a journey to enhance St. Charles’ brand identity, developed high profile tv, print and radio campaigns featuring each of the hospital’s major departments, re-launched the website and completely redesigned their community outreach newsletter.
Slightly Mad went on to strategize and design an integrated marketing program which reaches across all customer touch points including the redesign of St. Charles Hospital website, print and broadcast ad campaigns, sales and informational materials, newsletters, and much more is planned as our three plus year relationship with St. Charles Hospital continues and as new initiatives are explored.
- St Charles Hospital has gone to the top of the Catholic Health Services network and rehabilitation is their largest driving force.
- Referrals and admissions are up significantly.
- We enhanced the brand identity's look and feel and updated the hospital's communications materials.
- We redesigned the hospital’s community newsletter receiving very positive community feedback as well as numerous accolades within the Catholic Health Services network. The newsletter credited for an increase in incoming community inquiries.
- Slightly Mad’s redesign of the St. Charles Hospital Website successfully showcased the hospital’s services resulting in an increase in user engagement. The new site also made it easier for staff to make critical changes to the site in real time, do to its advanced administrative features.
- We developed integrated print and broadcast advertising campaigns for the orthopedic, obstetric, bariatric and emergency departments generating significant awareness and an increase in patient inquiries.
- We have worked with St. Charles to promote partner programs with sister hospitals within the system – creating campaigns for Colorectal partnership, Concussion Management and Sports Medicine Programs, Bariatric and Stroke Partnerships and more are planned.
- Slightly Mad continues to provide long-term support via strategic planning, creative campaign design and web development across a broad range of communications and throughout various departments.
- Our engagement has been characterized as “A pleasurable and enlightening experience from beginning to end” by senior management.