Healthcare Branding that Makes a Difference: IPA + Eleanor Creative

Healthcare Branding that Makes a Difference 

Every day you can see marketing strategies effectively implemented to inform you about healthcare services that you can access at your local hospitals, what medical specialties are available in your community and how to make an appointment, what medications are the most effective for just about every illness or disease, and a host of other topics. Whether your business is an independent physician practice or a large health system, healthcare branding and marketing is key to differentiating your organization from your competitors in the minds of consumers.

What if you’re trying to grow your practice and your competition isn’t necessarily local? This is the case with Inpatient Physician Associates (IPA) in Lincoln, Nebraska, one of the largest, independent physician-owned hospitalist practices in the U.S. IPA provides hospital medicine services to inpatients at Bryan Health’s two hospitals in Lincoln.

Physician Branding 

After more than 20 years in the industry, IPA’s leadership decided to embark on expanding the number of providers in their practice. They found that there was a lot more competition within the hiring pool of top physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants than ever. They had heard about the successful work that Eleanor Creative had done for several Lincoln companies, including Innovative Pain & Spine Specialists, Lincoln Family Medicine, and Bluestem Health, and hired Eleanor because of their extensive experience in healthcare marketing and branding.

Marketing a Hospitalist Practice

In many hospitals today, more and more patients are taken care of by a hospitalist and not by their admitting provider. Primary care providers are choosing to use hospitalists to manage the care of their patients in the hospital setting so they can focus on treating patients in their clinic.

Hospitalists are physicians, advanced nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who specialize in hospital medicine. They are board-certified in a sub-specialty, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, or family medicine, and manage the round-the-clock care of patients in a hospital setting.

IPA, in Lincoln, was established in 2001 as the first hospital medicine practice in the Midwest and started with a team of 20 providers. Today, they have more than 60 providers and is one of the largest independent, physician-owned hospitalist groups in the U.S.

Understanding IPA’s Challenges and Goals

To continue to attract excellent medical talent, IPA’s leadership realized that more focus should be placed on its recruitment strategy due to the competition they were seeing from other health systems that were heavily targeting hospital medicine residents. IPA’s commitment to hire the best and brightest candidates from around the country required more exposure to potential applicants in order to effectively compete with these healthcare institutions. IPA determined that a marketing and branding “reboot” was needed and hired Eleanor Creative in Lincoln, Nebraska for their years of experience in rebranding healthcare businesses.

At Eleanor Creative in Lincoln, NE our creative team of professionals specializes in healthcare branding and marketing. With more than 50 years of combined experience working in the healthcare industry, we understand healthcare and how each discipline is different. Having this insider knowledge allows the Eleanor team to give our clients an advantage when it comes to developing healthcare branding and marketing plans by creating targeted strategies to achieve their objectives.

IPA had two specific goals they wanted to achieve:

  1. Develop a cohesive and consistent message targeting prospective new candidates that promotes IPA’s excellence in hospital medicine and the organization’s supportive and inclusive culture.

  2. Create a greater awareness among inpatients about the high level of care they receive from IPA’s hospitalists and their working relationship with admitting physicians.

Conducting a Brand Audit

Eleanor’s team needed to learn more about IPA’s culture, mission, and vision before it could help them develop a successful strategic marketing and branding plan. We started by conducting a Brand Audit with all of the members of the team and leadership to find out how they see IPA as an organization. What do they find rewarding about their jobs? What is the work environment like? What is the culture like? What do they want candidates to know about IPA?

We also wanted to learn what they wanted the Lincoln community to know about IPA.

Information gained from the Brand Audit was shared with IPA’s team, giving them a clear picture of which areas everyone was on the same page, and how we could then begin to work on developing strategies that would be most effective. IPA was still using the same strategies it had used when it established its business. IPA needed to refresh their look, feel, and voice, and create a digital presence that would help them be more competitive in today’s healthcare market.

Strategies to Elevate IPA’s Brand

Together, IPA and Eleanor Creative mapped out the areas of greatest need:

  1. Create a brand experience to reflect their organization today, including updating their look – logo, color palette, photography, etc. It also included creating a brand voice and brand feel that was right for them.

  2. Design a new website that was modern and responsive.

  3. Create a digital presence to reach potential candidates and patients.

  4. Design inpatient collateral to help educate inpatients and families about the hospitalist’s role during their hospital stay.

Visual Research

Eleanor’s team spent time reviewing current healthcare visual strategies used around the country. Then we went on to create three visual directions for the client.

Concept 1

This direction for IPA pushes the brand one way: forward. Using strong yet friendly shapes, and bright yet muted colors, this concept is driven by the idea that IPA is a team built of varying like-minded individuals that come together for the needs of their patients. They rely and build on each other. The pointed angles of arrows and triangles quite literally lead the viewer into the future of the company.

These rounded and friendly typefaces remind patients and recruits of your priorities: collaboration, innovation, and family life. They are flexible enough to convey strength and personality without being too boastful or loud.

Concept 2

This patient-driven direction for IPA is grounded in cool tonal colors with a pop of playful yellow. The palette brings life to a practice that is welcoming and empowered to do what is right for their patients. The yellow pulls IPA away from its competitors and stands out in a crowd, just as IPA’s culture and atmosphere differentiates them amongst other practices.

These typefaces are approachable and clean, representing the way IPA communicates with their patients. Its many weights allow it to be used for a variety of purposes and on a multitude of platforms.

Concept 3

This direction is made up of forms and shapes that all rely on one another, similar to how the IPA team collaborates with each other and their patients.

With blue, subtle lavender, and a pop of muted fuchsia, this color palette truly stands out from other groups. It gives a nod to both the men and women who make up this practice.

The typefaces are clean yet classic, paying homage to a standard serif but with flair. The slab serif stands tall and pairs well with its sans serif counterpart. They complement each other in a playful way which is reflective of the IPA team.

Logo Design

We wanted IPA’s new logo to be relevant since it had been 20 years since the organization was established. We also wanted the logo to be simple yet memorable in the marketplace. It was necessary to conceptualize the brand and message IPA wanted to convey and aspects that would go into creating the IPA logo: design, brand colors, font, and graphic design elements.

After presenting the three concepts to IPA, they narrowed the options to two, before selecting Concept 2. IPA felt this concept best represented them as a medical practice and as a team.

Website Design

Carrying through with brand standards developed through the logo process, Eleanor Creative’s team designed a responsive website that is professional, offers easy navigation, and contains important content that prospective hospitalists, and consumers, need to know about IPA. It provides optimal viewing across many devices, from desktops to tablets to smartphones. We incorporate keywords that are searched for so candidates and consumers can find IPA faster. Eleanor Creative is experienced with developing content for your website to achieve all of these goals.


IPA was lacking a social media presence so we created a Facebook page to share their messages about business achievements, celebrate birthdays, and keep the public informed on what is happening in the hospital on a daily basis, the heartbeat of the business. This platform effectively reaches a large demographic, and messaging can target applicants as well as consumers. Eleanor’s team helps its clients grow their marketing reach through targeted and consistent social media posts.

Inpatient Care Card

A professionally-designed care card was created for each of IPA’s providers. These cards are given to every patient during the intake process in the hospital setting and contain the photo of the provider, their medical education, a space to write down questions, and an explanation of what to expect from the hospitalist during the patient’s stay and after discharge.

When it comes to healthcare branding and marketing, Eleanor’s philosophy and approach is centered around your organization, competition, mission, and goals. We’d love the opportunity to listen to your story and see how we can transform your healthcare brand so it best represents your organization.

If you are looking for a branding and marketing agency that can bring life to your business’s strategic goals, take a look at some of our work at

Reimagine your brand with Eleanor.

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