No Really, How Are You?

It’s a common, simple question – in theory.

But we partnered with Northern Light Health to discover how residents of Maine really are.


After a recent rebrand, Northern Light Health, Maine’s only statewide integrated health delivery system, was looking for a way to bring meaning to their new brand and connect on a deeper level with their community. BPD (formerly Revive) set out to create a brand platform that supports the issues Northern Light Health faces today while boldly moving the organization forward on its path as leaders for the future of health.

Residents of Maine are unique – hard-working, self-sufficient, modest. With many small, rural towns, they take great pride in their independence. But often, health depends on being connected. Through research, we found that a core issue we needed to address was social isolation. We needed to better connect the community to health, to each other, and to themselves. We wanted our audience to see the value of a connected health system through the lens of the community actions, services, and access we offer to the state. Through this, we came up with a simple but powerful question: How are you?

“How are you?” is a powerful platform to engage all of Maine in a conversation about their own health. It’s meant to speak honestly and start real dialogue about how you really feel inside – physically, mentally, and emotionally. This idea turns an overlooked question into one with deep meaning and can inspire a movement by asking everyone to really think about it.

By everyone, we mean: Mainers struggling with substance abuse, mental health during pregnancy, isolation, and countless other issues that silently challenge millions.


“How are you?” isn’t just a catchphrase – it’s an extension of the Northern Light Health brand. The heart of the campaign is charged by the connection the Northern Light Health team brings patients and the community to better health. The liftoff of the campaign was dependent on employee and physician embodiment in daily work and their active participation in intentionally connecting with patients through “How are you?” It was equally important for employees to feel cared for by the organization’s leadership.

We socialized the campaign internally by first inviting a group of ambassadors to participate in the development process and contribute ideas. In the organizational launch, a brief survey was included that invited employees to ask questions and share their initial sentiments about the campaign. In addition to asset creation and signage, we worked to weave the message into the fabric of the organization. From leadership meetings to open forums to an all-company and community event, employees became engaged and connected to the message and better equipped to bring it to the community.


When bringing this message to the community, we sought to provide a space where people could easily find the help they needed. We developed the “How Are You? Hub” that serves as a launchpad to wellness and other resources. Since connection is a two-way street, we found unique ways to connect with Mainers and get them engaged in the conversation and, ultimately, their health. From quick social media polls to more in-depth questions, all the way to a full mental health screening – we provided our audience many different channels and options to engage with the message.


To elevate the movement further, the “How are You?” movement has coined the term ‘artisanal media’ to represent community-driven advertising. This is a layer beyond traditional advertising like print and TV; it is the act of asking these questions in new ways – through a mural outside of a coffee shop or wooden signs in the middle of a hiking trail. Getting the community to want to connect in an organic fashion is one of the biggest drivers of the movement.


Northern Light Health’s custom brand tracking study showcased the healthcare system’s continued prominence as the leading system in Maine. The study revealed a significant improvement in unaided brand recall, indicating that people now remember Northern Light Health without prompting.

Amidst the challenges faced by the healthcare industry, particularly in Maine, where increased scrutiny on the value of health systems were under attack, Northern Light Health’s image remained resilient throughout 2023. Notably, measures of reputation, satisfaction, likelihood to use and likelihood to recommend all remained consistent with the previous year’s results. These results validate the effectiveness of Northern Light Health’s brand campaign in reinforcing its position as a reputable and trusted healthcare provider in the state.

Following the launch of the campaign, internal engagement scores increased overall by 15 percentiles from the previous year, while the national average of healthcare decreased.

The extension of the “How are you” message expanded quickly through the media, community relations efforts and stakeholder engagements. Following the launch, the movement has invited Northern Light Health into the conversation in the media and in the community around relevant topics. The movement continues to provide a platform for storytelling and activations that reinforce Northern Light Health’s position in the community.

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