Bates Southwest in Houston has been hired for marketing duties by St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.
The Houston hospital is perhaps best known for its affiliation with the Texas Heart Institute, founded in 1962 by heart transplant pioneer Dr. Denton Cooley. In hiring a large agency like Bates, the medical facility may be looking to build an image and presence outside of Dr. Cooley's achievements.
"We first need to set the positioning of St. Luke's so we can communicate to their vast constituency that they are more than a hospital," said Jerry Kerr, chairman of Bates. The facility's growing network of doctors and variety of health centers will be ingredients for new branding efforts.
Billings were undisclosed, but sources pegged the business at less than $1 million. The account was previously at Kuhlmann, Lutz & Brown, Houston.
Kerr said Bates is still in discussions with St. Luke's about positioning plans, including media. Broadcast, print and outdoor assignments will probably be considered, he said.
Also on the agenda are public relations, promotions and planning work, according to the agency.
"Healthcare is undergoing a major transformation requiring us to be a successful business if we are to continue to fulfill our mission," said St. Luke's chief executive officer, Michael Jhin, in a statement. "Our marketing effort is a key ingredient."