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The Lutheran Hospital of Indiana.

Growth also is on the minds of officials at The Lutheran Hospital of indiana, Inc., in Fort Wayne. For 85 years, the hospital has served a 20-county region with a complete range of diagnostic and treatment procedures, including a heart program and a renal dialysis program. Its location on Fairfield Street was popping its seams. Hence, the decision to build a new medical park' off interstate 69 at U.S. 24.

According to plan, the Fairfield site would be remodeled for the Lutheran College of Health Professionals and to accommodate geriatric, psychiatric and chemical dependency services. A new medical park would be built along the highway southwest of town to contain acute care and child care facilities, doctors' offices, a diagnostic area and, eventually, a retirement community.

News of construction and renovation in both areas caused concern and misconceptions among close neighbors and other sectors of the community. They were concerned that Lutheran was being uprooted, leaving its old, established area and moving to the country where the rich people are.'

Lutheran asked its advertising agency, Bonsib, Inc., of Fort Wayne, to provide public relations help. Richard Bonsib headed a team whose mission was to build acceptance for the hospital's changes and to further its image as a corporate leader in the community.

The strategy that the Bonsib team developed was multipronged. It started an aggressive media effort with news conferences, press kits, talk show appearances and tours. The agency helped the client form a neighborhood task force that gathered together residents, business people and hospital employees so they could share information and get better acquainted. The agency published a quarterly newsletter and planned a Lutheran Fairfield Festival" that featured food, games and displays of hospital services. One-on-one meetings with Lutheran's president, Frederick R. Kerr, were arranged with key CEOs and other community leaders to discuss their concerns.

Research shows the campaign is paying off. Those who favor the expansion have climbed to 40 percent. The neighborhood task force has received an enthusiastic response. Positive print and electronic media coverage have increased and, lately, when those in the media look for a medical expert,' they phone Lutheran Hospital.

Another step in the image-building process has been to revise and revitalize the corporate identity. Before any decisions were made, five focus groups were conducted among 55 people, including eight business leaders, 23 'typical' men and women from outside of Allen County and 24 hospital employees. Their task was to express attitudes toward names for the hospital, the new southwest site, possible new ventures and the corporation. They also were charged with rating proposed new logotypes for the entire organization.

From a selection of seven logotype drawings, respondents were told to circle the one they liked best and draw an `x' through the one they liked least. Next, they were to put a square box around the one they liked second best and draw a single line through another one they didn't like. Written comments were encouraged, and there was discussion on every point.

When the 52 responses were distilled, the consensus was: Lutheran Hospital means something because of the good name it has built for itself over many years;" it is recognized as a quality health-care facility;' The hospital's religious ties are a positive attribute;' The best names are simple and describe the service which they provide" and Why change the name if the current name is working well for you?' The panel agreed that the best name for the hospital would be the one it had carried all along.

Was the research useless? Not a bit. it confirmed that Lutheran was perfectly positioned as it was to head into the future.

Respondents decided a cross was the most appropriate logo symbol for the organization. 'It expresses,' they said, 'the idea that care at the hospital goes beyond that rendered from a purely medical standpoint." Rather than opting for a traditional, angular cross, they selected a soft, free-flowing cross with a more floral design.

All of these decisions were incorporated into a dogmatic, 25-page Lutheran Hospital Corporate Design Manual.' It specifies the official typeface and shows how the logo should look when printed on one line or stacked in two lines. It declares that no color should ever be added to the circle. The mark always should be printed in black and white or in teal blue. Special applications also are given for different units of the hospital. There are required designs for letterhead and envelopes, bills, forms, signs, billboards and specialty items. Even the ambulances and other vehicles must be painted a specific way.

For Lutheran, the image-building process has been extensive, exhaustive and exhausting. This one has been grinding along for four years now, and will go along another two years until completion in 1992. As some say, however-"No pain, no gain."
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Title Annotation:Corporate Identity
Author:Johnson, J. Douglas
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 1990
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