Case Study

Unwinding one partnership to join another

Before joining up-and-coming national community cancer organization, an esteemed local cancer clinic needed to unwind its partnership with the local powerhouse health system. With any separation, there’s often perception of a winner and loser. Clinic leadership sought our counsel to strategically communicate the partnership’s end without negatively impacting themselves, their hospital partner or the venture-capital-backed company they were joining.

The Solution

Quickly, we formed a campaign team of top leadership and communicators from the clinic and the national company it was joining. First, we dealt with the separation from the local health system. We assessed the reputational threat and identified strengths and vulnerabilities. After pinpointing audiences to reach, we created a comprehensive message platform and outreach strategy highlighted by a joint announcement between the clinic and hospital about their amicable separation. Key elements included an internal rollout to employees, media orchestration and placement of an Op-Ed in a major national newspaper.

Together, the team developed a story about the rationale for the separation – followed by the benefits of the proposed affiliation with the national organization. We used a variety of platforms including internal meetings, a town hall, submitted and earned media, social media and video.

The Results

We were able to steer the course of the story away from detractors and towards the new partnership’s benefits. Jointly, the separating entities announced that, after years together, they were going in new directions. The agreeable tone left all reputations intact and eased the onramp of integration into the new organization. Media coverage was positive. There was no negative feedback from employees, the community, donors and patients.


unwinding one partnership to join another

The Takeaway

A large independent oncology group wanted to protect its reputation during the unwind of a longtime health system partnership. We built a strategic communications campaign that led to a clean, cordial break before uniting with another organization.


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