What’s in a Name: Amedisys CEO Opens Up About Re-Branding
Less than three years into the tenure of CEO Paul Kusserow, Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) has gotten a facelift.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Amedisys has updated its logo, aiming to represent the company’s central mission and reflect the values of home care—an image that the name “Amedisys” may not bring to mind when said aloud. It’s “how do you say that?” spelling and medical connotations make it a name that doesn’t necessarily reflect comfort in home health to the consumer.
At one time, Kusserow even floated the idea of changing Amedisys’ name entirely. The idea started when Kusserow first began telling friends and family about his new job.
“When I was proudly telling everyone that I was getting to come and be the CEO of this company, people would go, ‘huh?’” he told Home Health Care News. “I would give them my card, and … it was a difficult name to pronounce. We have videos of asking people the right pronunciation.”
Speaking of Kusserow’s card, he makes it easy on those he meets by adding a pronunciation guide to not only “Amedisys,” but his own name as well.
He’s light-hearted about the mistakes sometimes made by those trying pronounce Amedisys and his own name.
“I often make a joke about the Amedisys name, that I wish we could get the tag of Smuckers—‘With a name like Smuckers, we must be good,’” he said.
Despite Kusserow’s own concerns about the name, before making any changes, the Amedisys team conducted research to assess how people felt about its name and logo. What came back was a resounding don’t mess with success. Over the years, referral partners began to associate Amedisys with quality, and that wasn’t worth changing, Kusserow said.
“We talked to people who refer to us on the name,” Kusserow said of this process. “People like it, they know it and understand the correlation of quality. I didn’t know what people were thinking, but the market came back to us and said, ‘No, we know this name and trust it.’
So, the name has stayed the same but the company does have a new look. After revamping the colors and switching the text, Amedisys hopes it appears more “humble” in its branding. Gone are the days of the “George Jetson sort of planet” encircling the name and the “institutional” blue, Kusserow said.
Beyond the appearance of the brand, Kusserow has overseen plenty of other changes during his still-young tenure.
The company has also undergone significant changes at the executive level over the last few years, including the departure of its CIO and the replacement of its former CFO. Amedisys also appointed a new chief clinical officer, new senior vice president and compliance officer, a new COO, and a new chief development officer.
So, Kusserow is not afraid of shaking things up, but the matter of the company’s name seems to be settled at this point.
“In general, the feeling seems to be yes, it’s a tough name, but we’ve come to like it and know what it represents,” he said. “We have fun with it. It’s a very distinctive name. We’re going to stick with it.”
Written by Amy Baxter