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Hospice unveils marketing campaign

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Faced with more competition from for-profit medical chains, the Hospice of South Central Indiana is making a simple tweak to its name and unveiling a new logo in a bid to stand out from the crowd.

Its goal is to drive home the idea that the nonprofit hospice acts as a good neighbor for Columbus residents with medical needs.

Effective Tuesday, the agency, which offers end-of-life care, will become known as Our Hospice of South Central Indiana.

Adding the single word “our” to the agency’s longtime name and coupling it with a colorful logo showing the outline of four homes is meant to depict a diverse neighborhood that cares.

Debby Pratt, marketing director for Our Hospice, hopes to cut through what the agency sees as consumer confusion about competing hospice services.

“There’s a lot of confusion in the community, and we are looking for a way to differentiate ourselves from other providers,” Pratt said.

The new logo (in shades of orange, red, blue and green) replaces the hospice’s old look, which was basically a huge shade tree with broad branches and deep roots.

“The idea of the new logo is to show a circle of four homes, suggesting that we are friends and neighbors,” Pratt said.

A tagline in light blue lettering under the logo drives home the point. It states: “Because Neighbors Care More.”

The phrase is meant to distinguish Our Hospice from profit chains competing for hospice business in the 15-county service area, including Bartholomew County, that Our Hospice covers.

“The idea is that we don’t answer to stockholders but to the community,” Pratt said.

Unveiling the new logo and embarking on a fresh marketing campaign comes roughly 10 months after Louisville ad agency Price Weber initially volunteered to tackle design work for Our Hospice at no charge.

“We were able to tap into their expertise pro bono, and that was a huge help for a small agency that doesn’t have a lot of dollars to spend on marketing,” Pratt said.

Tony Beard, chief creative officer at Price Weber, said Friday that his goal was to design a logo to set Our Hospice apart from corporate competitors. He also wanted to use muted colors to soothe viewers and reinforce a caring image.

“One thing that we’ve recommended they do is create a quilt using the four-homes logo,” Beard added. “The colors are warm, welcoming, and the design fits with the concept of a quilt block.”

The four-color logo will appear on the agency’s letterhead, on marketing materials and in print ads.

“Our new name reflects the importance of recognizing that we are the local, nonprofit community hospice serving patients and families in this area for over 30 years,” Pratt said.

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana serves an average of 180 patients at any one time, most of them in private homes or at assisted-living centers or nursing homes. But Our Hospice also has a 14-bed, inpatient facility, which opened nine years ago.

The new logo and catch phrase evolved after a series of focus groups this year with hospice volunteers, doctors, nurses and donors offering opinions.

One competing tagline was: “It’s not our job, it’s our privilege,” but that played best just with doctors rather than with the community as a whole, Pratt said.

“It’s more than that, the majority of people said. You’re our neighbor, our friend, and we know that you care about us,” she said.

The next step will be to spread the word about Our Hospice’s new marketing approach. Because the agency has a small budget, some of the campaign will rely on word of mouth.

One novel approach calls for hospice donors and other supporters to hold in-home events over the next several months to unveil the new look in specific neighborhoods, Pratt said. There also will be a small amount of print advertising and special events.

“We’ll go out to visit with doctors and assisted-living agencies to spread the word, too,” Pratt said. “We want people to know which hospice they’re choosing.”

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