When Terry Shaw became CEO of Adventist Health System in December 2016 after more than three decades with the organization, the system, now known as AdventHealth, had 46 hospitals and about 30 different local brands. Its flagship—Florida Hospital—had a 108-year legacy and a dominant market share. Shaw took stock of the nine-state, $11 billion multiple-market system and instead of making big waves, he paused.
WHAT WAS YOUR RISKIEST DECISION? When I became CEO, our organization was on a path to rebrand under a unified name, which would mean sunsetting all of our legacy brands. Our new executive cabinet realized that it wasn’t only about signage and logos. We halted the rebrand and dug deep into how we needed to transform our company to truly become a consumer-centric organization. For about a year and a half, we zeroed in on improving our product so that we would be in a position to fulfill our brand promise of helping people feel whole.
WHY WAS THAT MOVE RISKY? In order to put consumers first, we relied on consumer research and in some cases put our own preferences aside. That led to a name that resonated with both religious and nonreligious consumers and was associated with a healthy life and a new beginning. Our sponsoring organization, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, needed to embrace the new name. After all that, we learned someone else owned this brand name, and I personally led the negotiations to secure the name AdventHealth for our organization.
Truly putting consumers first is a big shift. Our ads would often focus on our physicians, buildings, accolades and technology. Now consumers are the stars. We launched our brand over the holiday season with commercials that featured a bell choir of cancer survivors ringing in their cancer-free life.
WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE FROM THOSE INVOLVED? Consumers have responded favorably. We have also experienced fiscal stability and system growth, adding four new hospitals. But one of the most exciting things for me has been the reaction of our team members across the system. Our more than 60,000 employees underwent immersive training on our mission, vision, values and service standards so that we could be sure our consumers would experience whole-person care at each and every care location. Staffers received a personalized heart badge that includes the name of the person who inspires how they care for others. Mine says, “I care for you like my wife, Paula.” This is really connecting people and inspiring a level of compassion integral to providing care.