Atrium Clinic and Therapy Centre
Sensitive markets remain a major challenge for those businesses that choose to operate within them.
When that market deals with people’s physical mental health, then the choice of identity becomes critical. Get it right and everything else falls into place.
“By entering into the corporate world, we needed to display a professional identity”
Business: The Atrium Clinic
and Therapy Centre
Design Company: Fuse Marketing Communications
Business Type: Medical Services
> Download as pdf
Whilst perceptions are steadily improving, there remains much stigma and misunderstanding associated with mental health. Although The Atrium Clinic - formed in 1999 by GPs and a Consultant Psychiatrist – cannot hope to alter this scenario alone, it remains part of their chosen remit to help create a positive shift in attitudes.
Based in the heart of Southend, the clinic provides a range of counselling services to people with a wide variety of mental issues from stress, anxiety and phobias to depression and emotional concerns.
The clinic has grown in size and status, winning the Southend Primary Care Trust contract in 2001. Since this went live, they have received over 3500 referrals from GPs and local mental health teams.
Growth is an important part of their long-term business strategy. They have extended their service into the work place, offering specialist advice and counselling to local businesses, helping them maintain employee health and well-being.
They’ve also got their sights set beyond Southend with the goal of developing a franchise business that could see The Atrium Clinic feature in every major town and city across the UK.
So who knows, maybe they can alter perceptions alone!
Identifying the need for design
In 2001, Business Link for Essex were providing support to develop the business and part of this work involved looking at the business’ marketing activities. Caroline Bartlett, Atrium’s CEO, who joined Atrium in 2002 and holds a MSc in Strategic Marketing Management seized the opportunity to develop the Atrium identity, particularly as challenging growth targets needed to be met.
“By entering into the corporate world, we needed to display a professional identity that communicated the essence of what we do. After all, they themselves all adopt such an approach” notes Caroline. “Professional skills and competency are insufficient alone to win business in such environments”
They were also keen to step away from the discreet “brass-name-plate” image that is common throughout the medical services sector. Part of their vision is to make mental healthcare accessible and accepted by all and needed an identity to communicate this.
Developing the identity
Fuse Marketing Communications were handed the task of developing a new identity for Atrium. They also worked closely with Caroline in developing the strategy.
Fuse recognised that the identity had to appeal across two very distinct and different markets; professional healthcare and the corporate world.
The logo uses a modern typeface to demonstrate a forward thinking organisation with the “U” picked out in red to infer a smile – the creation of which upon the faces of their patients being the ultimate aim ofthe clinic.
The tag line “modern life solutions”avoids direct reference to mental health, emphasising the ubiquitous nature of the subject.
It would be inappropriate to say that the layout of material mimics the style used by the NHS but it certainly sits comfortably with it and thus builds acceptance within this sector of their market.
Extending acceptance in the corporate world is further achieved by avoiding jargon in the copy - getting to the key points quickly and swiftly.
“Since we introduced the new identity, we’ve noticed a marked improvement in our brand awareness – more people know who we are and what we do” enthuses Caroline. “We have added confidence in approaching the commercial marketplace, helped further by the fact that compared to our competitors, we appear to have a far stronger visualimage” Another benefit they have found is one of recruitment. The clinic regularly recruits new counsellors and found that since using the new design in their recruitment material, the abundance of quality applications has increased. This has the ripple effect of widening the pool of talent available to them and thus the acceleration of reputation that they are likely to gain.
“We’ve also seen a rise in the number of private work and a company-wide increase in staff motivation. They’ve all known that we have the talent and means to get to where we want to go but that has somehow been reaffirmed with this new identity. It shows that we’re serious about our intent”
A second batch of brochures are already being produced which will see the design evolve, as all design should, which also demonstrates another benefit, albeit a slightly more personal one, to Caroline:
“The Board of Directors now fully accepts the need for design investment. They understand the process and the benefits it brings which will undoubtedly make my life that bit easier in the future!”
You could say then, that design can remove some of the stress that comes with growing a business.
|They Say||We Say|
|Allow for design in your budgeting||It’s regularly overlooked yet its importance can never be overstated. Make allowance for it and view it not as a cost but as an investment.|
|Ensure the designers understand your business||In the case of The Atrium Clinic, this was vital. The subject matter is delicate and required a compassionate approach. It’s also easier to deal with companies who have experience or know about your markets. Sometimes though, selecting designers with no market experience can pay dividends too. They can bring a totally fresh approach to things and spot opportunities that others can’t. You need to assess the needs ofthe brief and the dynamics of your target markets. If in doubt, seek advice.|
|Work “with” designers||You are the expert in your business. They are the experts in design. Working together yields the best results.|