Making a brand change like Prisma Health is hard work!

Prisma Health Annoucement at GHS

With all the recent and upcoming mergers and acquisitions in the world of healthcare, brand name changes are becoming a regular occurrence. As someone that has experienced numerous brand changes, this is hard work:

1) Part of the team that created a new brand for a national organization
2) Vendor to an organization that hired a brand agency to lead a brand change
3) Vendor to an organization that handled brand change/re-alignment internally
4) Created brand re-alignment/update for an organization
5) Executed tactics to communicate a brand change

This is not easy work. There is lots of research, lots of creative debate, lots of time for discernment, lots of conversations with stakeholders, and lots of smiles and tears. This is hard work.

What makes it even harder is this new digital world we live in. When you change a name or create a new brand name, you have to look online. Yes, you have to go to Google and GoDaddy to see if the brand names are available. Yes, why do you think all the pharmaceutical companies release a new drug with a crazy name? Because that chosen name for the new drug is the only available URL to purchase. It is now a part of these considerations to make sure the web domain is available. If you have a large consumer audience; you have to check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets to see if these brand names are available.

Looking at the new announcement from Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health, I can identify with all the hard work it took to find their new name Prisma Health. It should be noted I am on retainer with Greenville Health System providing digital and social media strategy. I did not know the new name until the moment it was announced on Facebook Live. At the time of writing this blog post, I have been given no information about the digital and/or social media strategy strategy for the roll-out of this brand.

Here is my reaction to the brand change through this merger of two large health systems in South Carolina.

First…they had to choose a new name. This merger is bigger that the walls of South Carolina. This is signal to the marketplace that Prisma Health is to be a national brand name with the goal to compete in the space with the large systems in the United States.

Second…with HCA buying Mission Health in Asheville, NC, Carolinas Medical Center re-brands as Atrium Health in efforts to merge with UNC Health System; there is a growing interest in South Carolina to either buy or be bought. A new name for the GHS/Palmetto Health merger sends a signal to the market place they want to compete with other large systems especially given how population health has become such a major focus.

Third…if GHS/Palmetto Health leveraged their current names for a brand re-alignment, this would signal to the marketplace that both systems wanted to focus on a smaller region of the healthcare space, Specifically the brand name puts borders around their growth potential. This is evident in the new color scheme including a brighter red/orange and bold font choice breaking away from the use of the palmetto tree and green used in both logos currently.

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