Finding Balance in Branding for the SimiTree Healthcare Merger

Finding Balance in Branding for the SimiTree Healthcare Merger

When two healthcare powerhouses decided to merge their organizations, they needed a new brand that celebrated their individual pasts while embracing a future together.

And, of course, they needed it fast.


Top Secret & Top Speed

Merging two companies is no easy undertaking, especially when it’s happening quickly. Simione Healthcare Consultants and BlackTree Healthcare Consulting were both leaders in the home health and hospice consulting space. After months of logistics and planning, the deal was set to become final—but the leadership teams behind both brands needed to keep the news under wraps until it was real.

The old Simione and BlackTree logos

While they felt the news would be welcomed by the industry, clients and employees; the two companies wanted to control the merger rebrand narrative: this was not an acquisition and neither company was struggling—this was a true merger of equals.

A tight timeline of just a couple months didn’t loosen our dedication to research. We interviewed leaders on both sides, conducted in-depth competitor audits and quickly immersed ourselves in the home health and hospice industry (say that ten times fast).


A Rich Legacy With Deep Roots

Simione and BlackTree had many things in common. Their service lines and expertise balanced each other perfectly. But they had their differences as well.

The old Simione and BlackTree websites

Simione and BlackTree’s old websites

Simione, founded in the ’60s, was a pioneer in the space. BlackTree, a ten-year old company, was the new group shaking up the industry. Though they shared values, people-focused attitudes and even clients, these were still competitors. We had to craft a brand that showed external and internal audiences how their diverse backgrounds made them stronger together.


Finding Balance

A new brand requires a new name, and in a competitive industry, the two organizations didn’t want to lose the equity that they’d built in their existing brands.

They’d chosen SimiTree—a name that celebrates their histories and promotes the symmetry of services that would come from their union.

SimiTree's new logo

We thought it was the perfect foundation for the brand’s new positioning, story and point of differentiation.


Business and Care Aligned

Internally, the theme of symmetry made a lot of sense. And as we looked at the competition, we realized there was an external need for balance, too.

When home health and hospice agencies hire a company like SimiTree (or their competitors), it’s to help optimize operations, increase efficiencies through technology, strengthen care teams, improve outcomes or all of the above.

As we explored competitor messaging, we found that some organizations focus on their business and financial expertise. Others emphasize their experience in care.

No one talked about how it’s important to consider—and align—both. Until now.

SimiTree's brand narrative, which begins "We believe the business of healthcare is all about balance. That success relies on equal parts excellence and financial stability, as well as unity across operations, technology and care teams."


A Balancing Act

With a direction in place, we quickly got to work—collaborating and aligning our own strengths to create what we needed. Various team members were called on to play an important role, strategizing, designing, drafting, editing and project managing to develop a messaging foundation, a visual identity, and a 117-slide presentation deck we hoped would convince SimiTree’s leaders that we’d listened, learned and created a look and feel that celebrated the past while forging ahead.

Atomicdust team members look at a design on the computer

In many cases, after we present a brand, things go silent for a bit. Sure, there’s initial feedback, and when we’re lucky enough to be in the same space, we can read the expressions and energy in the room (some of us have even been known to ask, “So, do you like it????” after a branding presentation, but I have that person has learned to be a little more subtle).

We know it’s a lot to take in, and we like to give our clients the time to really think about what we’ve shared.

For SimiTree, however, we had a launch date just a few weeks away.

When they liked our direction, our logo and our language, we were relieved.

But only for a minute—we had a new brand to launch.


Ready, Set, Go

Successfully launching a new brand to employees, customers and the healthcare industry as a whole requires more than a press release—though that is an important part.

We made recommendations for both an internal and external rebrand roll out plan. We thought about each audience and the questions they might have about the merger, and created a series of touchpoints—town hall decks, landing pages, business card templates and more—to provide answers and support the launch.

Creative expressions of the Simitree brand, including polos, coffee mugs and logo variations


Sales collateral featuring the new SimiTree branding

Working quickly and quietly (this was still under wraps to almost everyone inside both companies—not to mention their clients and competitors), we built upon our brand foundation to bring SimiTree to life as soon as the news was ready to share.


Prepare for Launch

I’ve never experienced launching an aircraft or a rocket before, but I have to imagine launching a brand feels similar (in the sense of down-to-the-minute timelines, adrenaline rushes and the team coordinating everything on radio—or in our case, a Slack video call). It’s exciting to send a new brand out into the world, one that the whole team—on our side and SimiTree’s—had put so much thought into.

We were proud of the work… but what would everyone else think?

Two SimiTree landing pages launched during the healthcare merger announcement

Two separate landing pages (one for internal audiences, and one for external) shared SimiTree’s new visual identity and messaging and addressed potential concerns and questions people might have about the merger.

On the day the brand was set to launch, we were on-call and online, ready to synchronize marketing emails, social posts and landing page deployment with real-time announcements.

We launched the brand and started to breathe easier as the industry responded positively to the news and the new brand.


Stronger Together

Navigating a merger rebranding so quickly comes with challenges, but much like Simione and BlackTree, combining our own strengths and experiences made them easier to overcome.

With fast timelines come fast results. We’re happy to see SimiTree already using the story and look we created to build a bright future.



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Julie Rechtien

Julie Rechtien

Julie is a Senior Copywriter with experience in financial, medical, shopper and startup marketing. Her goal is to take lofty concepts and heavy content and transform it into conversational, relatable messaging.

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