The Assignment

Birk-Creative-NextLevel-Health-Corp-LogoNextLevel Health is a Medicaid managed care health plan for people with Medicaid. NextLevel Health received a new designation from the State of Illinois which allowed them to market health insurance to an expanded audience. As a result of this designation, we were asked to help NextLevel Health develop a more robust website that met state-dictated specifications around information and consumer access to it.

2017 NextLevel Health TV Commercial

After our initial discovery and interview with the customer, it became apparent that more than a new website was needed to attract new members. NextLevel Health needed our help to redevelop their brand, develop a concise brand strategy and message, clearly articulate their brand promise and unique voice. Incorporating the new brand into their businesses strategies and processes holistically around every aspect of communication, both externally and internally, would be critical to their success.

Process and Recommendations

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Birk Creative for NextLevel Health Out of Home Transit Advertising

Because we needed to deeply analyze the demographics of their audience, we embarked on a lively and robust research process to create profiles of their consumers and communities. We started by auditing their existing materials, messaging, and the current website and researching competitors. We also created custom technical tests to review the functionality and performance of the existing website.

Commercial van

NextLevel Health Commercial Van

Based on our findings, we recommended an extensive, top to bottom rebrand–typical of the types of fundamental deliverables for a start up, which included:

  • A corporate brand identity system, including a new logo, advertising and signage formats in all mediums, print collateral, as well as comprehensive guidelines for consistent and effective support of the brand
  • Mobile website with interactive features and an analytics plan
  • A social media strategy which included media channel integration and set up
  • Social media editorial planning, writing and community management
  • An advertising and marketing plan
  • A media buy strategy, plan and buy
  • Media buy negotiation and implementation
  • Television and radio commercials (Spanish and English)
  • Blogging and other editorial content planning
  • Employee training on social media, analytics, website training
  • Exterior signage and interior building branding strategies
  • Companywide branding and visual communications guidelines
  • Social media guidelines for employees
  • Talent acquisition channel design, set up and strategy for like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkedIn company page
  • Creative campaigns and templates for digital communications
  • Press releases
  • Google AdWords campaigns, social media ad buying
  • Results reporting
  • Community management, message templating and crisis communications consulting for social media
NextLevel Health Birk Creative-TShirt_1

NextLevel Health Branded T Shirts

The branding process was smooth and efficient, despite the fast-tracked nature of this project: we had just three months to brand the company and develop materials, and six months for all of the following:

  • understand website business requirements;
  • research and segment the audiences;
  • create user personas and profiles;
  • design the user experience set audience goals;
  • design, develop and test the site; and
  • soft and hard launch.

The result was an enterprise-level secure mobile website with a complex database of searchable information. Our rigorous interview and design process allowed us to rapidly understand the client’s complex needs and create prototypes that aligned with their vision guided by our expertise. Unfettered access to leadership that included the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer made it possible to rapidly develop the heart and spirit of her brand vision.

NextLevel Health Birk Creative Neighborhood Campaign


Timing was the biggest challenge. In addition, the State of Illinois has strict guidelines around selling health insurance. Messaging has to maintain a certain level of literacy, which required a specialized content development process. Because many households in our targeted audience did not have a desktop computer system in the home, and the availability of Internet access is patchy, the site required significant design considerations and accommodations to ensure it would perform on multiple mobile environments. Finally, given our extensive experience with multicultural creative, as recently presented in our SolarCity case study, and our collaborative process with our client, our messaging and imagery continue to be culturally relevant given the diverse audience.



Building a brand for a start up is always exciting. All stakeholders are involved, engaged, focused and ready to go. Buy-in is quick and decisions are typically made with confidence. The brand development process for NextLevel Health was no different. Building their new robust website, however, required a much deeper understanding of not only what NextLevel Health needed the site to do for its members and providers in terms of functionality, but what, if anything, was working well on their existing website.

An audit conducted by the State of Illinois in November, 2016 commended NextLevel Health on the provider lookup tool, calling it “The best that they had seen on a health plan site.”

Past performance can oftentimes predict the future: We knew we needed to conduct a deep technical audit of the existing website. During our audit, we discovered that the existing website was created from a template on an open source platform, with a large number of off-the-shelf plug-ins that caused frequent slowdowns and increased security risks. As part of the audit, we conducted load testing and found that fewer than 100 users could cause the site to crash. The provider list was little more than a massive document that users had to download and scroll through. This slow process generated frustration for the users and an inordinate number of calls to customer service.

We made the case to management to develop a custom wireframe for to mitigate their risk, enhance company privacy and reduce the chance of hackers damaging the integrity of the website experience. The site also needed to be connected to NextLevel Health’s internal systems so that content could be updated internally and easily refreshed on the site. We conducted multiple surveys to better understand our client’s provider network and as a result, we created a dynamic and usable provider database that allows users to see, in relation to their own current location, where providers are located.

NextLevel Health Birk Creative Mobile

During testing, we developed a beta version of the site to allow our customer to have a live experience before launch. Their feedback was used to form additional refinements, specifically around how the filters work and the detailed views of individual providers. This beta test also allowed NextLevel Health to experience the site from the perspective of all users – internal, members and providers.

Birk Creative NextLevel Health Find a Doctor


  • NextLevel Health now has a comprehensive and flexible brand identity for themselves, their audiences, communities and partners.
  • Awareness of NextLevel Health has increased dramatically with billboard, radio, television and transit advertising delivering clear, concise messages based on a clearly defined and articulated strategy.
  • A robust social media campaign is running and building signage, both interior and exterior, is aesthetically consistent and highly functional. All communications materials, including print collateral, videotrons, banners and event signage are produced in accordance with brand guidelines.
  • The new website recently received approximately 20,000 hits in the space of a week.
  • The website is secure and can handle four times the amount of traffic and it did before and, as an indicator of the heightened level of awareness of NextLevel Health.

Birk Creative Instagram for NextLevel Health

Ultimately, through our collaborative partnership with NextLevel Health, and our rigorous creative process, we brought NextLevel Health to the next level by humanizing their brand, given them a consistent voice for them selves and for the public. We gave them a powerful tool, backed by Google technology, to meet the needs of members, providers and employees. With our limited budget, we were also able to cover all bases on advertising exposure by staggering and rolling out ads over the course of 8 months. The live community events, social media content, ad buys and Google AdWords strategy helped them exceed their new membership goals for 2016.

Birk Creative Example Ad Report

Birk Creative Example Ad Report

Best feedback from 2016 regarding our website development: An audit conducted by the State of Illinois in November, 2016 commended NextLevel Health on the provider lookup tool, calling it “the best that they had seen on a health plan site.”

NextLevel Health Birk Creative

Out of Home Advertising for NextLevel Health by Birk Creative

Contact JinJa Birkebeuel, President, Birk Creative to learn how she can help you reach your business goals and earn more customers through content and creative strategy.