Ingalls Health System

UChicago Medicine

Tronvig helped to guide the Ingalls Health System through the process of a merger with the much larger University of Chicago Health System. We identified the hopes and fears of the community and of the professional staff and doctors within the system and provided a plan for phasing in a multi-year brand transition.


  • Brand strategy
  • Customer research
  • Merger planning
  • Brand messaging
  • Naming
  • Organizational alignment
  • Core values

“I’ve worked for 20 years as a consultant and have worked with other consultants. From a content perspective, I can hardly recall anyone who has the same mastery of organizational development theory. Tronvig was able to apply this expertise to our project.”

Heidi Ruhe / Former Associate VP, Strategy & Business Development, Ingalls


The Ingalls Health System was a beloved institution in its namesake community on the southern outskirts of Chicago. The hospital system was acquired as part of the University of Chicago Health System’s competitive expansion. The Ingalls Health System engaged Tronvig to clarify what was at stake for Ingalls in the merger and provide guidance on the cultural and brand transition that was about to take place.


Diagnostics with the Ingalls leadership and research among community members as well as system doctors and staff revealed the scope of the cultural transition that the merger was going to set in motion. It also revealed both hopes and substantial anxiety on the part of all stakeholders. We clarified what was of essence and what was okay to negotiate away and developed a step-by-step multi-year transition plan.

Brand Pyramid

Organizational Brand Pyramids and cultural assessments were developed for both the existing Ingalls brand and the destination brand under the UCH system. The clan culture of Ingalls was going to be replaced by a performance-oriented culture that would prove disruptive to doctors, staff, and the community. It became clear that a few elements of the existing culture at Ingalls should be preserved as later if the merger agreement. We created a hypothetical Brand Pyramid for the Community Health and Hospital Division (CHHD).

1. What is the organization?

The leading community-based health care system in Chicago.

2. How do they deliver value differently from others?

Internal: Self-understanding

  • Quality comprehensive services (advanced technology, continuum of care, breadth and depth of specialty care)
  • Approachable, responsive, world-renowned experts (professionalism, friendliness and expertise of staff)
  • Dedication to serving and connecting with the community (network of outpatient facilities, 24-hour care, educational offerings, community relationships)

External: Mission Statement (for public consumption)
Convenient community-based healthcare services seamlessly connected with world-class specialty care.

3. Why?

Internal: Why should anyone care?

  • CHHD serves the community
  • Excellence
  • Continued research and discovery
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Trust (reputation)
  • Sense of belonging
  • Convenience (location)
  • Quality close by


The first discoveries, the first to help.
Exceptional care exceptionally close.

4. Core Values

    Internal: Core Values

  • Community (compassion respect, and responsive service to the community)
  • Do the right thing (integrity, patients first, honesty, confidentiality, inclusion, organizational citizenship)
  • Excellence (professionalism, quality, innovation, resourcefulness)

External: Core Purpose (more abstract guiding statement)
Leading the region as a center for health care and excellence through continued innovation.

5. Brand Idea

External: Brand Idea
Pioneering community care.

Internal: Big Hairy Audacious Goal
To build CHHD into one of the leading organizations in the country, known for exceptional community care.

“What I found unique about Tronvig is that they didn’t have a cookie-cutter consulting approach, with only a study of the market and of key people. They drew from scholarly research in the area of branding and organizational development. This added value to the usual steps expected in a process like this.”

Heidi Ruhe / Former Associate VP, Strategy & Business Development, Ingalls


  • Clarified and codified Ingalls’ organizational core values
  • Identified the non-negotiable aspects of the organizational culture that were to be defended and preserved
  • Unearthed the holes and fears of the community relating to the merger
  • Provided an action plan to guide the brand transition including the transition of the name


Ingalls entered the merger with a fuller understanding of the merger’s impact on the community, staff, and doctors. It was equipped to negotiate the details of the merger in more than just financial terms.

Ingalls Brand Phased Launch: Community Health and Hospital Division (CHHD)

We are one brand. (Expectations Management)

“I think the Brand Pyramid has been helpful to define us, because ‘us’ starts out at Ingalls administration and with other employees and physicians, and I think it’s important that we focus on what we really believe but don’t always say which is that we are patients first.”

Kurt Johnson / Former CEO and President, Ingalls Memorial Hospital