Healthcare architects

A branding crisis … recruiting difficulties and a deadly viral outbreak. How did a healthcare-focused architecture firm overcome these challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth?

  • Marcom Award Winner Marcom Award Winner

A brand that required a shot in the arm

FreemanWhite, now part of Haskell, was a 120-year-old architecture firm focused on engineering, planning, and analytics that had built a growing reputation in healthcare design and consulting. They had developed considerable expertise in a wide range of healthcare-related specialties, including acute care, ambulatory care, architecture, buildings, construction, emergency departments, engineering, healthcare reform, integrated project delivery, interior design, LEAN processes, operational efficiency, planning, post-acute care, prototypes, and surgery.

While this depth of expertise was comforting for their clients, it masked two sharp pains at FreemanWhite: 1) their highly successful emergency room design and consulting subsidiary, Catalyst, was on a trajectory to overwhelm FreemanWhite’s brand; and 2) as their firm’s name recognition suffered, they had a difficult time attracting top talent to keep their business thriving.

Where could FreemanWhite get immediate treatment and alleviate the pain?

“We’re getting many more hospitals visiting our website each week.”

Franklin Brooks, AIA, ACHA, Client Executive, Former CEO, FreemanWhite

Getting to the heart of the matter with research

Hinge began the engagement with a comprehensive research study to fully understand how target markets perceived FreemanWhite. Using these insights, we repositioned FreemanWhite as more than another healthcare facility design firm. Instead, we emphasized their unparalleled data-driven, strategic approach to design and specialized focus on healthcare. No competitor could make the same claims. Hinge supported this distinctive positioning with a robust content marketing program that has exposed FreemanWhite to a broader international audience of hospital, emergency room, and ambulatory care center administrators.

How did a major global health crisis play into FreemanWhite’s enhanced visibility? Read on…

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Equipped to lead through a crisis

When the World Health Organization (WHO) reported cases of a new outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa, the world was caught by surprise. Over the next two years, this EVD outbreak grew on a massive scale with more than 28,600 cases and 11,325 deaths. Around the globe, healthcare administrators and professionals had lots of questions. How can we contain this infectious and deadly disease? How should emergency rooms be designed to address the disease and the threat it posed to patients, doctors and staff?

Hinge recognized an opportunity to raise FreemanWhite’s expertise profile and help them take a more prominent leadership role. We had already helped FreemanWhite’s team write authoritative pieces on relevant issues, such as infection control and emergency room design. Many of these pieces were published in major industry publications, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC) blog and Becker’s Hospital Review. As a result, they were perfectly positioned to address questions from a worried public, and we prepared their team to make themselves available to the media. FreemanWhite was able to help healthcare professionals around the world — and generate inquiries from 29 hospitals they had never spoken to before.

How else did FreemanWhite benefit from a repositioning? That’s up next…

The vital signs are looking stronger than ever

At the heart of the new marketing program was a new High Performance Website. To help address the firm’s recruiting challenges, we developed a robust new careers section that focused on their deep expertise, healthcare focus, and compelling professional opportunities. In addition, we deployed a compelling target audience offer strategy and a platform for sharing expert content.

With the rollout of the new website and ongoing implementation of their Visible Firm strategy, FreemanWhite saw a dramatic increase in brand visibility, website traffic, and interest in their healthcare expertise. And because they had the right infrastructure in place, the firm was well positioned to take a leadership position on the ebola crisis.

In fact, the changes attracted the attention of global AEC firm Haskell, who acquired FreemanWhite. Now integrated fully within the Haskell brand, the team continues to deliver innovation and leadership in healthcare architecture and consulting.

What we did

Visible Firm Program

  • Client, Prospect, and Lost Prospect Research
  • Content Strategy
  • Market Opportunity Strategy
  • Messaging Architecture
  • Positioning
  • Training
  • Writing

High-Performance Website

  • Design
  • Online Strategy
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Website Development
  • Writing

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