A Tale of Three Strategies.


A number of years ago, I was involved in a new business pitch for a big piece of healthcare business in NY. I had a knock down drag out fight with one of the ad agencies principles about whether or not to keep the existing (previous agency’s) tagline. I was yeah, the principle was nay. He finally threw in the towel. We suggested keeping that tagline which was “setting new standards in healthcare.”

The brand strategy claim I developed for the health system was “a systematized approach to improving healthcare.” Eyes on the system. You can see how close setting new standards is to a systematized approach.

Fast forward 15 years and that same health system hired a brand consultant to assist in a name change. The brand claim they came up with was “Providing transformative leadership driving the future.” A first pass you’d think it was a Google translation of the previous efforts. A repurpose. But on closer inspection, it was a bit of a pander to senior management. Making the health system leaders the heroes, rather than the system itself.  Words and emphases matter. Especially in strategy.   

Tomato, to-mah-toe?  I don’t think so.