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By Market Intelligence Team

Until recently, many organizations in the behavioral health and social service space haven’t been very focused on competition for consumers—and distinguishing themselves from competitors in particular. But, the growing percentage of people in consumer-directed health plans and the increasing proportion of behavioral health spending paid directly by U.S. consumers (now at 9%) has changed all that.

This environment has increased the need for a clear brand identity. Branding is the culmination of various images-as-symbols and associations that are invoked when a product is mentioned. A brand is built upon the union of many factors including name, reputation, service quality and measurements of such, pricing, and service line. Public perception will ultimately be the arbiter of your brand image, though there are basic steps your organization can take to influence how you are known.

Many organizations are starting their rebranding through changing their organizational identity. Connecticut non-profit behavioral health provider organization formerly named the Child Guidance Clinic of Greater Waterbury rebranded itself as Wellpath Inc. The former Gary Community Mental Health Center is now the Edgewater System of Balanced Living, and Colorado-based Pikes Peak Mental Health changed its name to the more expansive Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group.

A first step in looking at your organization’s brand is to answer these three questions:

  • Do you understand how the public perceives your organization?

  • What is the niche that your organization specifically fulfills?

  • Are your promotional materials aligned to highlight strengths?

My November article, featured in OPEN MINDS, “Assessing Your Organization’s Brand Identity: Is Your Market Positioning a “Winning” Position?” premium, expands on each of these three questions and gives you some practical strategies for assessing and addressing your brand identity to make sure your organization is accurately conveying what makes it most attractive to payers and customers.

If you’d like to share some on-the-ground strategies and tactics, or have a question, just send a message to

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