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Creating and Implementing and Effective Strategic Marketing and Communications Plan

Coordinated Health (CH), a privately-held specialty health and hospital network, was experiencing a decline in patient volume and needed to quickly understand and address the challenges. Driven by external research and internal engagement, an integrated marketing communications plan was developed and executed with the primary objective to reverse the trend.

Coordinated Health (CH), a privately-held specialty health and hospital network, was experiencing a decline in patient volume and needed to quickly understand and address the challenges. 


Driven by external research and internal engagement, an integrated marketing communications plan was developed and executed with the primary objective to reverse the trend.


The research work included interviews with central CH administrators, department chairs, medical staff, and community leaders. Along with the interviews, a behavior, perception, and awareness study of patients and prospective patients was conducted. From the research, it was determined that three primary factors were driving the decline. Competing health systems’ acquisition of primary care practices were forced to stop referring patients to CH. Another factor was the establishment of narrow networks by insurance carriers that no longer covered patients receiving CH’s services. There was also limited awareness of CH’s primary areas of expertise, specifically in Orthopedics.


Collaborating with a cross-functional working group, an integrated plan was created that utilized the research to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign focused on growing existing channels for new patients and establishing new “front doors” to increase patient acquisition. At the same time, a marketing audit was conducted to ensure that the appropriate resources were committed to successful plan implementation. Through the successful execution of the plan, patient flow was stabilized after two months into the marketing campaign.

Coordinated Health

Establishing and Developing Relationships with Stakeholders to Lead Change

Lehigh University President Peter Likins’ vision was to transform the University from an “engineering school” to a “national university.” He had a strategic plan in mind to make it happen. His vision however could not become a reality without engaging and aligning key stakeholders to support and execute the plan. Working collaboratively with individuals who represented the primary constituents of the university, a one-page document coined the “Lehigh Hallmark” was drafted to capture the Lehigh experience.  The hallmark served as the mantra to drive the transformation. 


Historically, the university had been known for its strong engineering program, which served as a primary resource for Bethlehem Steel. Bethlehem Steel employed up to 70 percent of all graduating Lehigh seniors. When Bethlehem Steel started declining in the 1990s, the landscape dramatically changed. Undergraduate applicants and the quality of the pool of candidates were on the decline. Lehigh needed to make a change while keeping true to its mission to advance learning through the integration of teaching, research, and service to others. Market research was conducted, stakeholders surveyed, and leadership focus groups were held to understand the challenges and opportunities. The work was an integral part of the most extensive development campaign in the university’s history at the time. It served as the foundation of the “Lehigh Hallmark,” which defined the vision and the four key pillars of the Lehigh experience. That vision was communicated through an integrated marketing plan that was anchored by the launch of several new interdisciplinary academic programs, the opening of a $33 million Arts Center, and the introduction of a new Athletics team mascot and nickname.


The transformation was highly successful. The university exceeded its development campaign goal of $300 million ahead of schedule. There was a significant increase in both the number and quality of undergraduate applicants across the board in all colleges, driven by a substantial rise in the U.S. News and World Report rankings from 51st to 33rd among national universities. And both internally and externally, through the Lehigh Hallmark, the university had established a brand and a set of core messages that resonated across all faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and the community.

Lehigh University

Launch of Nation’s First and Only Rapid HIV Test

Dr. Sanjay Gupta - CNN

OraSure Technologies secured U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the first rapid HIV test for use in the professional market in 2002. The launch of this new test was critical in public health, where about a third of all patients would come in for a blood test – but never return for the lab results.  With rapid HIV testing, practitioners were now able to deliver HIV test results while the patients remained at the clinic. Those who tested positive were navigated to immediate care.  


However, it became evident that those individuals most at risk for HIV were not necessarily visiting public health clinics or going to a physician’s office to get tested.  Stigma and distrust was driving this 

behavior.  Working with the advocacy community and organizations like the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS and the Latino Commission on AIDS, there was a huge push to make the rapid HIV test available over the counter in pharmacies and stores so that those most at risk could have access to test in private.  OraSure leveraged stakeholder advocacy, government affairs, and a strong communications campaign to drive the approval of the test.


The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test launched late in 2012 with a broad national PR campaign headlined by a three-city media tour featuring Magic Johnson and subsequently leveraged National HIV Testing Day – a day that was established in June by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a platform to raise awareness around the importance of getting tested for HIV.  It was the first time that an in-home HIV test would be available in stores across the country so that individuals could get tested. The campaign focused on the communities that have been disproportionately impacted by HIV – the African American and Latino communities.   

The campaign was supported by a press release, public service announcements, celebrity media tours, owned media, and expansive social media outreach. It was a major success, resulting in significant awareness and substantial increases in sales.


National coverage included multiple interviews on CNN with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, all major networks, leading digital online news sources, YouTube and top social media platforms.

Magic Johnson Media Tour



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