What Is A Brand?
A brand is not a logo, color scheme or tagline. A brand is the sum total of the customer’s experiences, and often begins before they even set foot in the doors. It’s far more than just a logo or a tagline. The meaning of the brand is defined by, and lives in the minds of, consumers. It is shaped by every interaction they have with an institution and its representatives.
The Stony Brook Medicine brand is built on the experience we offer across our campuses, the community, classrooms, research facilities, websites, communications and events. How it is brought to life captures our vision, momentum and passion as a world-class academic medical center.
Maintaining a consistent and powerful brand identity takes great attention to detail; these guidelines are here to ensure that you have the right tools to present the Stony Brook brand in the most engaging and appropriate way possible at all times.
About Stony Brook Medicine
As an academic health center, we at Stony Brook are all about ideas. Creating them. Nurturing them. Protecting them. Challenging them. Improving them. Teaching them to others. And most importantly, delivering them to patients and their families – sooner, smarter and better.
Whether that’s in a new treatment protocol, best practices, a bright new researcher we’ve recruited from another institution, the convenience of an outpatient clinic, or simply a more user friendly way to access our medical care. Ideas drive us, they thrive here, and we are committed to bringing more of them to our patients than anyone else.
Remember: Stony Brook Medicine is not a place. You can’t go “to” Stony Brook Medicine. It’s not a building you can walk into. It’s our shared medical enterprise, encompassing teaching, patient care and research. When you need a geographic reference, be sure to use the name of the specific building: for example, Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, etc..
About Stony Brook Children’s Hospital
We consider Stony Brook Children’s to be our major sub-brand, as a second hospital devoted especially to children.
But just as children are not small adults, Stony Brook Children’s is not a pediatric version of the Stony Brook Medicine brand. Far from it. Like kids themselves, it has its own personality, voice and tone.
Brand Essence and Personality
Stony Brook Medicine’s brand essence shares much in common with Stony Brook University: ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions (the hallmark of academic medical research), and exceptional leadership. Likewise, our brand personality shares many traits of SBU’s brand: driven, curious, hands-on and welcoming.
Stony Brook Medicine is a vital component of one of the brand pillars of Stony Brook University, with its emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). We also support and reinforce the University’s brand pillars of diversity and momentum.
As an academic health center, we help conduct and communicate activities of one of the institution’s major priorities: basic and translational research --- from bench to bedside to benefit our patients.
Programs of Distinction
As Stony Brook Medicine becomes a larger presence on Long Island, we’re working to strengthen our perception among healthcare consumers. One way of doing that is by highlighting key areas of expertise: our programs of distinction.
Stony Brook has four major programs of distinction, all of which have their own logos for brand identification: Stony Brook Heart Institute, Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook Neurosciences Institute and Stony Brook Trauma Center. These centers and institutes draw upon the brand attributes of the Stony Brook Medicine name, while conveying specific expertise in these important service lines.
How does the Stony Brook Medicine brand relate to our off-site locations?
Stony Brook Medicine is the “master brand” for our four hospitals: Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital and Stony Brook Children's Hospital, and more than 200 off-site locations throughout Suffolk County. It is also the brand name for our growing network of physician practices who are joining the Stony Brook Medicine network.
Our goal is to move consumers through a relationship process, from unaware, to brand awareness, to preference, to usage, to brand advocates who help tell our story.
Remember: Every ad is a brand ad. Even when it’s a simple flyer, brochure, or a short term effort to build clinical volume, we need to consider whether it reinforces the goals of the Stony Brook Medicine brand.
Ask yourself: Does this piece of communication reflect our passion for innovation and our unique expertise as an academic health center? Is it focused on our brand pillars? Does it communicate our brand essence? Does it express our brand voice and tone, and convey our brand personality?
Here are a few more things to think about as you’re preparing a piece of communication, whether it’s a social media post, a news release, a brochure, or other vehicle:
- What is the innovation or idea that your message will convey?
- Who will benefit most?
- How is it unique on Long Island or in Suffolk County?
- Why is Stony Brook devoted to this particular idea?
- When will patients be able to benefit from this innovation?
Consider all three missions of an academic health center. While one – research, education, or patient care – may dominate your message, look for opportunities to frame it in terms of the larger mission.
This linkage does not have to be forced or unnatural, but do take the time to consider potential synergies which may help the larger institution as a whole.
Bringing The Brand To Life
The Stony Brook brand should permeate every experience and publication we create. That’s why we offer detailed guidance on producing materials that reflect the brand in an appropriate and consistent way.
The content guidelines detailed here will inform the way you produce on-brand, consistent and engaging materials that establish a strong, meaningful connection between Stony Brook and its audiences. Pay very close attention to these guidelines; with every communication you create — whether it’s a newsletter or presentation, flyer, video or tweet — you are an ambassador for Stony Brook Medicine and its brand.
Voice and Tone
The language we use when writing about Stony Brook Medicine shapes the way people feel about us. You should always convey the spirit of Stony Brook — direct, yet friendly, inclusive yet thoughtful, and confident, but never boastful. This is the same brand voice as Stony Brook University.
The Stony Brook Medicine brand is further defined as confident, intelligent and passionate. It gives the reader credit for their own intelligence as a healthcare consumer who is looking for the smartest choices. We are eager to share information about the latest advances we’ve been able to bring to their health.
The Stony Brook Children’s brand voice is empathetic, human, compassionate and fun. Even when we deliver information that is complex or serious, we try in our communications to explain things in a way that is emotionally relevant and interesting to parents.
Our brand voice should also be reflected in internal communications.
The way we communicate with one another internally — in newsletters, on posters, on hallway video monitors — should aspire to be the voice of that brand. We should be enthusiastic, motivating, and eager to share the power of our ideas with our fellow employees and other parts of the Stony Brook Medicine enterprise.
Telling a great Stony Brook story not only furthers the mission of Stony Brook Medicine and spreads an engaging, powerful message about the incredible people, discoveries and opportunities — it also can create emotional connections, change perception and drive the audience to action.
Every Communication is a Story
While calendar listings, event announcements and lists/tips are not typically wrapped in a narrative, the information around them should provide enough context and enthusiasm to draw attention and garner results. There is so much content noise to compete with, it’s important to think critically about what will inspire your audience.
Every Story is an Opportunity
For longer stories — whether they are about patients, alumni, faculty, staff, initiatives or research breakthroughs — remember the key ingredients of a compelling narrative thread will keep them engaged.
Words and media should support the core idea. Consider strategically placed pull quotes, photographs and headlines that create a visual rhythm to your storytelling and make the story richer and more engaging.
Also consider the opportunity to draw in a broader audience via social media. Is there a particular subhead that could double as a Facebook or Twitter headline? A photo that could serve as a visual header on a website?
Take the time to craft these elements specifically for the appropriate channels, and your story will travel beyond its original medium. That said, for social media, don’t force it. If there is not enough there, don’t create social media components just because you think you are supposed to. Always keep your core idea and goals in mind. Please review our Social Media Guidelines for any questions on this topic.
Clear call to action
What would you like your readers to do or feel once they’ve finished the story? It could be an emotional response or transactional, or both. Whatever the end goal, keep it firmly in mind as you develop the story, considering who or what will grab your readers and create the desired outcome.