Posts Tagged ‘rebranding’

Karen Kessler to discuss the branding of healthcare group at PRSA conference

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

karenkesslerheadshot (1)Karen Kessler

President of Evergreen Partners Inc. and Chairman of AllSpire Health Partners

PRSA International Conference 2014 Session Name: “Communicating in a world of mergers, takeovers, partnerships and alliances”

Twenty-five years ago, I was approached to join the Board of Directors of my local community hospital. The board was seeking to diversify and they thought having one female board member might do the trick.

Two decades later, I have now served for six years as Chair of the Board of a two billion dollar healthcare system. Along the way, the community has diversified, the hospital has merged, the Board has changed and the industry transformed. It has been quite a journey and the future looks no less exciting.

When I was a young practitioner of public relations and investor relations, my skill set was not often sought out in healthcare. The industry was so heavily regulated that aside from the infrequent but alarming medical missteps, the role of the communications department was to promote the golf outings and coordinate the service line brochures.

I want to emphasize how vital a strong and innovative communications effort is to the healthcare system of today and tomorrow. In 2013 alone, 98 hospital and health system combinations were announced and during the first quarter of 2014, healthcare M&A total deal value amounts to $12.3 billion dollars.

The success of these megadeals is crucially dependent on a thorough and strategic communication plan. In my session, I will take you through the process of how I branded AllSpire, the largest health care consortium in the country, as well as the hurdles and insights along the way.

Cluckin’ Chipotle

Friday, July 19th, 2013

It’s really hard for a company to change its reputation—especially after its reputation’s been battered, deep-fried and rolled around in more even more grease for years. Despite this, KFC remains undeterred in its attempts to rebrand itself with the creation of its new “fast casual” restaurant, KFC eleven.

The new atmosphere that the test run of KFC eleven in Louisville, Ky., is attempting to establish—which might as well be called “Chipotle With More Chicken,” due to its transparent attempts at mirroring Chipotle’s design—is a reflection of the rising dominance of the “fast casual” restaurant model, which features healthier, higher quality and just slightly more expensive versions of fast food available after just as short of a wait time. The numbers don’t lie: Fast casual restaurants’ sales grew a tremendous 13.2 percent last year, while fast food chains’ sales grew only 4.6 percent.

Say goodbye to the Colonel (say it ain’t so!) and say hello to muted colors, low-hanging lights and rustic interior designs. Say goodbye to on-the-bone fried chicken (though you won’t have to say goodbye to the Original Recipe boneless chicken—thank goodness for small miracles) and say hello to flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and rice bowls.

KFC’s rebranding is not necessarily vital to its survival, though it will undoubtedly help its customers survive longer as they transition away from fried chicken and toward healthier options. It’s all about growth; KFC sees its competitors outperforming it, and in order to compete with the Chipotles and the Paneras, it needs to look and taste more like those restaurants.

Throughout this rebranding process, there is one primary question to be answered: Will consumers who want something just a little bit higher quality than fast food really flock over to a restaurant that’s forever been revered for its greasy, fried chicken? This is indicative of the major struggle for companies wishing to rebrand themselves; it’s difficult to change consumer perceptions of the brand, especially when it leaves behind a trail of grease in its wake. What KFC must do is keep its emphasis on chicken, because that’s what its customers expect it to do best. However, it should step away from the vat of grease and find other ways to entice customers to enjoy chicken. Its upcoming Caribbean rice bowl seems to be a step in the right direction—it looks like something that could have been clucked (sorry, plucked) right out of Chipotle.