< Back to Work

Facing increasing competition and the commoditization of wound care products, Smith & Nephew engaged Stoke to develop a global brand position that reflected the company’s mission to reduce the human and economic cost of wounds.

+ Read Full Case Study


Smith & Nephew is a diversified advanced medical technology business that supports healthcare professionals in more than 100 countries to improve the quality of life for their patients. Based in Hull, England, the company has 14,000 employees around the world and annual sales of more than $4.6 billio


Smith & Nephew was predisposed to explain itself in terms of market share, price and direct competition – instead of market potential, value proposition and position. By focusing differentiation on price, Smith & Nephew further conditioned customers to view NPWT as a commodity, making it difficult to persuade them to choose Smith & Nephew over established incumbent brands.

However, wound care providers faced multiple challenges beyond price, including quality of care, patient safety and satisfaction, protocol compliance and clinical outcomes. The challenge was to develop – and reinforce internally – a differentiable position that was clearly aligned to these broader customer needs. While pricing was a substantial catalyst to economic buyers, it was important to establish a clearer value position that would also drive clinician preference, create competitive barriers, and maintain the stature and influence of Smith & Nephew’s enterprise brand position, and the Advanced Wound Management promise: reducing the human and economic cost of wounds.


To address these broader priorities of patients and providers, there was opportunity to position Smith & Nephew around applications and solutions versus products and features. This approach elevated the company to a “clinical partner” invested in helping organizations integrate and advance wound management solutions.

Stoke developed a global brand position and visual identity program that established Smith & Nephew as a wound management company, not a wound care device company. The brand position – Simply Adaptive – offered differentiation in the market by engendering a sense of control and choice among clinicians to determine the most clinically appropriate, economical and efficacious way to treat wounds. It also promised value for customers that was higher than the discrete use of individual products: a system of adaptive, integrated products, services and technologies that matched their particular needs. By taking a solutions approach and focusing on quality of care vs. cost of product, Smith & Nephew was able to elevate the discussion and address larger customer issues around care quality, patient safety and comfort, clinical choice, and the overall economics of wound care.

The brand position was reinforced by a visual identity system that keyed on the company’s signature orange color and used mosaic-style graphics to signify the elements Smith & Nephew brings together to provide a comprehensive solution. The deliverables also included Sales & Marketing Playbooks, a global advertising campaign, and product-related messaging and materials.

- Read Less


Brand Design
Brand Strategy