“Mountaineers Go First” is the foundation of West Virginia University’s new branding strategy. More than a slogan, WVU officials describe it as a “rallying cry,” a “challenge,” and a “reminder of the rugged determination that progress demands.”

WVU Healthcare is joining the University in its bold leap forward with a new branding strategy of its own. Using the traditional Gold and Blue colors of WVU, “WVU Healthcare” will become “WVU Medicine” in the next few months.

The plan aims to “fully leverage an affiliation with WVU and align our brand with its refreshed brand – the timing is perfect,” said Tony Condia, vice president of Marketing and Communications.

“The new brand will give us a better platform from which to build our image and position us more favorably against other academic medical centers in the region.”

The move has been met with enthusiastic support from the University, WVU Healthcare leadership and other stakeholders affiliated with the clinical enterprise, Condia said.

“Partnering with West Virginia University, which has a well-established, internationally recognized brand identity, is an important step for marketing our clinical enterprise and our services,” Albert Wright, president and CEO of WVU Hospitals, said. “We are proud to be more closely linked with the University and excited about the opportunity to be further integrated with our common missions of teaching, research and clinical care.”

“Across all of WVU, the University’s duty to improve the health of our state’s citizens is woven throughout our healthcare, educational, research and community service activities. It’s our ‘why,’” said Clay Marsh, M.D., vice president and executive dean of health sciences. “The WVU Medicine brand will make it very clear that the healthcare we provide is a vital part of the mission of our University.”

In arriving at the new brand, Condia worked with a team of design consultants, graphic designers, market researchers and others in his department. The next step was sharing the name, sample designs and images with focus groups of local citizens. “WVU Medicine” was very well received and viewed favorably by the participants in the focus group, Condia said. “They understood it and the underlying strategy and are enthusiastic about it.” Condia also solicited feedback from a variety of internal stakeholders, including the WVU School of Medicine faculty and chairs.

The new brand “allows us to differentiate ourselves more effectively. It’s more descriptive and bold than 'healthcare' or 'health,'" Condia said.

In strategizing, Condia and his team thought the word “medicine” was a better bridge to ideas that reinforce the scope and quality of the care WVU Healthcare provides. It will “position the clinical enterprise as a leader in providing advanced specialty care to West Virginians,” he said, and “communicate more successfully our key points of difference compared to our competitors – our specialists and subspecialists. It best conveys expertise, quality, leadership and innovation.”