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For Hackensack Meridian, new branding is next step in becoming national player

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A sampling of the new logos and names for some Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals.
A sampling of the new logos and names for some Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals. - ()

At a time when health systems are consolidating and focusing heavily on patient populations at home, Hackensack Meridian Health is gunning for a seat at the table of national health players.

Its strategy, according to co-CEO Robert Garrett, is to keep the focus on New Jersey, but to become a “premiere national brand” that can benefit the state and its residents.

That is evident by the reach of HMH’s tentacles into a variety of sectors, including the merger with JFK Health, anticipated to be completed by the first quarter of 2018, and partnerships in cancer care with Memorial Sloan Kettering, medical education with Seton Hall University, innovation with New Jersey Innovation Institute, pharmacies with RediClinics, urgent care with CityMD and home care with St. Joseph’s Healthcare System. HMH also partners with the NFL’s New York Giants for kids cancer awareness.

But to stand out in a crowded field of longtime health giants, the system believes it needs a new brand.

“They (consultants) showed this logo on a slide next to major brands like Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, NYU and Mount Sinai, and this logo jumps off the page,” Garrett said. “This is an eye-catcher.”

Garrett’s co-CEO, John Lloyd, added, “It’s extremely distinctive.”

At the brand reveal event Tuesday in Newark, which was live streamed to 27 locations in addition to the 2,500 members of the management team in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center auditorium, the co-CEOs stressed the message of staying focused on the home team. (See video below.)

“We’re not doing this to get attention,” said Lloyd. “This is for our team. This is us informing and building a new brand with our team.”

The new brand includes a new slogan, “Well Orchestrated,” a new tagline, “Life Years Ahead,” and the renaming of all hospitals to begin with Hackensack Meridian Health. However, hospital location names will remain in order to double down on any existing brand reputation associated with the location. That will include the merger with JFK Health when it is complete.

The ambitious co-CEOs are confident their existing work will translate into broader reach, and give them a step on the competition.

“A lot of our team members, our physicians, our researchers, they have national followings and they are doing some creative things,” Garrett said. “We are going to keep our eye on the local market, there is no doubt about that, because that is where our business comes from.”

But, he added, the system wants to be proactive in changing and isn’t waiting on Washington, D.C., to reform health care.

That includes the medical school with Seton Hall and the partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering — both of which Garrett believes could be “national models.”

Lloyd said, ultimately, it will all benefit New Jersey and its residents in a way other health systems don’t.

“Candidly, they don’t put enough resources into their local hospitals. We do. That’s the way we are. We have invested money in every one of our hospitals. That’s what we do,” he said.

And the duo is set to start on a second road trip since the merger last year to each location to visit with the staff, now known as team members, as had been the practice at legacy Meridian Health, to discuss the new brand and culture.

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