Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville, NJ, was in danger of becoming invisible. When the hospital engaged Pace to handle its advertising and media buying, it had been out of the market, from a branding and advertising standpoint, for several years, relying primarily on physician referrals and high-end specialty procedures. We were charged with a complete repositioning and rebranding of the hospital that would increase its visibility and make RWJUH the hospital of choice in the NJ/NY region.

Challenge accepted. We created a multi-tiered marketing campaign that was primarily focused on patient testimonials, to share the hospital’s unique success and capabilities by telling the story from their points of view; especially patients who had challenging medical conditions and who could convey the benefits of RWJUH in their own words. We chose to highlight actual patients (one of them was a transplant surgeon who actually had a successful heart transplant at RWJUH) to provide an authentic perspective.

We utilized a comprehensive, multi-layered media strategy (print, TV, radio, out-of-home) that was initially specifically designed to market their Cardiovascular Services, while reinforcing the hospital’s overall brand and culture. Our campaign objectives were three-fold: Awareness, Engagement/Education, and Advocacy. Eventually, we branched into other areas of specialization, including Neuroscience, Pediatric Care (Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital), and we developed ancillary campaigns including one focused on “Conquering Cancer.”

After three years, awareness and preference had risen to #1 in NJ against RWJUH’s major competitors and the hospital had high recall and visibility in major service lines. Surveys taken throughout the campaign registered higher “top of mind” awareness than all other hospitals in the tri-state region. RWJUH also enjoyed the highest name recognition in its service area and for complex and serious care issues, RWJUH came up #1 in the region.