Was SMDC name change Essential?

I just saw a piece on NBC about how Gap changed its logo and then changed back to the original after a whole lot of internet chatter by graphic designers criticizing the new logo. (Both logos below.)

Corporate identity is a huge issue for many businesses, and this one seems to have backfired on Gap. It is very, very expensive for a large organization to change its name: all printed materials, signage, marketing material, vehicle graphics, etc., with the old name and logo have to be changed.

So that got me to thinking about SMDC’s recent name change to Essentia Health. Personally, I don’t like the change: the name sounds like something thought up by a research group and could be used to market some kind of dietary supplement for seniors. And it kind of irks me that SMDC would spend the money to make this seemingly unnecessary move when so many people are fighting the high cost of health care.

Of course, I may be overreacting. Anyone else have a problem with the SMDC name change?

52 Comments

Mel

about 11 years ago

It doesn't bother me, but it is very corporate sounding.

St. Mary's-Duluth Clinic was pretty unwieldy too, though.

TimK

about 11 years ago

In a way I'm glad that SMDC changed to Essentia. It takes away the false veil of SMDC being an organization that cares about sick people and reveals it to be the money-grubbing market-savvy operation that it has actually been for quite a while.

W.T.F

about 11 years ago

It is what I call a corporate non-name. Like  the paper mill on the west side of town that I believe is called Conesco or Enesco. It has no meaning and it seems the intention is to not let you know what they do. I've seen some signs with the Essentia name and I thought it was like Unicare, (another non-word that evidently stands for United Health) a medical claims processing center. I would never have guessed Essentia is SMDC. I think they just forgot the "l" in "essential" and by the time they realized it they had already printed the logos and  they decided it was cheaper to just run with Essentia.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

The paper mill in West Duluth is owned by NewPage. It used to be owned by Stora Enso, which I think is what W.T.F. was trying to recall.

Sam

about 11 years ago

The new name does sound very cold, corporate, and uncaring.  And I have a sneaking suspicion that it is!

kerc

about 11 years ago

I don't like it. It is a tongue twister. I can just imagine it now. You have a baby or a heart attack or whatever that causes you to spend the night in a hospital. Your family is struggling to get the actual words, "she's at Essentia" out. 

Not because of what's actually going down in your health, but because of what the actual words are.

Sam

about 11 years ago

PS - It sounds like a name from the folks at Dunder-Mufflin!

Dunder-Mifflin, Inc.

jest me

about 11 years ago

I agree that it wasn't the best idea to change the name, but consider this -- you live in the Duluth area and still have two huge health campuses where you can get your health care.  Considering the smallish population of the area, we're darn lucky.

adam

about 11 years ago

Darn lucky to not be able to afford health insurance? Or darn lucky to not qualify for MN Care?

Bad Cat!

about 11 years ago

It's not a one for one name change. Essentia was the parent company over SMDC and a bunch of other clinics and hospitals. Essentia decided to merge everyone together in a big Brady-Bunch-style home called Essentia.

Here's linkage if you want to see how Montana totally got snubbed: EssentiaHealth.org

(Disclaimer: I live in the Essentia Brady-Bunch home.)

Bad Cat!

about 11 years ago

Oh, and I heard the flap about the new Gap logo but hadn't seen it. That is absolutely gawd-awful!!! Are they a mid-90s tech start-up? Bleh!

edgeways

about 11 years ago

It's like SyFy, and all those damned drug names that sound like they have had all the teeth pulled. Thorazine, now that is a nasty drug, but at least its name isn't some damn pillow word carefully crafted to calm your nerves. Thorazine sounds like some damn lizard who is gonna kick your ass. Nowadays it's be branded Cessentia, or some such. Bad enough when the water and gas company became Comfort Systems. At the end of the day I don't care what they call themselves as long as the service is good, but in all honesty Essentia is a wanker name.

Sam

about 11 years ago

But who names the company Essentia in the first place?  Dunder-Mifflin!

Mary

about 11 years ago

Names like this always make me think of Globochem on "Mr. Show."

Wes Scott

about 11 years ago

My mother got a new hip there. They were short on staff and hard on the nurses that had to work very hard to due to the cuts. No wonder they go on strike. It's corporate all the way. The new name stinks. Everybody will still refer to it as St. Mary's.

brian

about 11 years ago

It's awesome, because people at the agency get to say things like "I sent ya the stuff for Essentia."

Nathaniel

about 11 years ago

It sounds like an evil corporation from a science fiction movie. One that sells organs.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

A previous comment, which has now been removed, inaccurately stated that Essentia Health purchased SMDC. 

Essentia was created by SMDC and the Benedictine Health System in 2004 as a joint governance body for the two nonprofits.

B-man

about 11 years ago

1) Will the level of care change?
2) Will the prices be reduced?
3) Will under-insured/non-insured people be charged on a sliding fee scale?
4) Will the top 3% of earners in the company get a raise?
5) Will the BOD be happy?

1-3=no
4-5=yes

This is just another way to use the truck loads of money they generate annually from the hardships of the region to benefit a very few.  

Health care corporations are the enemy (not the direct care providers).

todobrillante

about 11 years ago

What the crap are you all complaining about? I think the change is very plesentia! 

Seriously though, how can we not mention The Simpson's episode with "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man"?

yikes

about 11 years ago

Lousy name. I'm sure the marketing powers-that-be decided it would generate cost savings to brand all locations the same. They ignored the research which has shown (posts here seem to prove it) that people dislike made-up words as corporate names. 

It sounds cold, and the present crappy newspaper ads look downright icy. Pity.

Lithis

about 11 years ago

This is a somewhat offtopic reply to W.T.F.

Stora Enso's name is not a corporate non-name; it is the result of a merger between the Swedish company Stora and the Finnish company Enso-Gutzeit Oy. Stora means large in Swedish; Enso was the name of a town (now named Svetogorsk) where Enso-Gutzeit Oy had a major factory site. The company Stora goes back to 1347 when it was named Stora Kopparberg. There's more information at Wikipedia's Stora Enso page.

Sam

about 11 years ago

We could go Prince's route, as in "The Hospital Formerly Known as St. Mary's."

yikes

about 11 years ago

Heh. Morph the staff of Aesculapius in some funky way.

Lithis

about 11 years ago

Even more off-topic: Sappi (the new name of Potlatch in Cloquet) means bile in Finnish. I assumed they were a Finnish company because the name sounded Finnish and they had a couple factories in Finland, but it turns out that it actually stands for South African Pulp and Paper Industries.

And yes, SMDC's new name sucks, as does Gap's attempted new logo.

Tony D.

about 11 years ago

Looks like I'm not alone in my disdain for this name change.

And to top it all off, "Essentia" is hardly an original name.

There's an Essentia that makes the "world's only natural memory foam mattress."

There's a bottled water called Essentia ("the feel good water").

There's a website called Essentia that says it is "a spiritual sanctuary for seeking enlightenment, health, and happiness."

There's a woman's clothing boutique in Wellesley, MA, called Essentia.

There's an online store called Essentia that sells hair accessories.

There is a NuVo home audio gadget called Essentia.

There's a Facebook page for some band called Essentia that claims its sound is "Melodic Mosh Rock."

There's software company called Essentia that makes programs for tracking payroll.

There'a a financial advisory company called Essentia.

There's a D&D-esque board game called Essentia.

There is an Essentia Institute of Rural Health.

And that's just selections from the first two pages of a Google search.

My favorite is Essentia Creative, which is an Advertising Branding Agency, whose job it is to make up names for "money-grubbing market-savvy operations" (Thanks, Tim!) like SMDC.

Anyway, the next time I'm in the back of an ambulance, if I'm conscious I'll be asking the driver to take me to St. Luke's.

johnm

about 11 years ago

You're missing a lovely afternoon of golf for this?

Jadiaz

about 11 years ago

How dare they change their name. What kind of free country is this!? And the fact they attempt to make a profit, wow! They should just go into deep debt providing free healthcare!

It's a name change not the end of the world. Furthermore as long as we are a free, capitalistic country they have every right to both change their name and make a profit.

TimK

about 11 years ago

Jadiaz, they are not technically a for-profit are they? I also hope you don't lose your house because you get sick and Essentia sends their collection agents after you.

Jadiaz

about 11 years ago

Everyone is for profit. Also I work and carry Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance so I'm covered If I get sick. Despite what most want people to think, everyone has a chance for the same opportunity. Don't blame the hospital if it goes after your house, blame yourself for not doing what it takes to be covered.

Tony D.

about 11 years ago

Jadiaz; I don't think anyone said they couldn't change their name. And since SMDC is a non-profit, why spend all this money on a marketing gimmick--it will not provide better health care and could well raise health care costs to their customers (er, sorry--patients). Nor has anyone implied the name change is a world-ending event. That chip on your shoulder has you reading between the lines.

It seems pretty clear that the general consensus here on PDD is that the new name is just, well, cheesy. Others have commented that it makes the former SMDC seem cold, which makes a difference to people shopping for health care.

Jadiaz

about 11 years ago

Oh and Tim you accused them of being money grubbers in the first place. If you weren't talking about them making a profit or trying to, then please explain.

Jadiaz

about 11 years ago

Tony it was a bit of sarcasm since it seemed like others were being a bit outlandish in their comments on the name change.

Tony D.

about 11 years ago

J: Yep, not a problem. Just trying to steer this back to the topic.

TimK

about 11 years ago

Technically a non-profit doesn't make a profit for shareholders or owners. I think the marketing resources are a huge misappropriation if the mission of the organization is to help sick people. Their CEO is one of the highest paid people in the city- making more than the CEO of Allete or the chancellor of UMD. Their priorities are out of whack in my opinion and that makes them money grubbers. I, too, have health insurance and consider myself lucky. I think that it's unfortunate that anyone should have to rely on luck when it comes to the health care system.

jest me

about 11 years ago

I apologize for the part of my comment that was deleted; it was not my intent to be misleading or state a falsehood.  I just had a misunderstanding of the situation.  With my new understanding of the situation, I still have a hard time thinking of the "Brady Bunch" grouping as a totally bad thing.  It seems to me that those hospitals/clinics might have needed to "come together" to ensure that resources could be shared so that smaller communities could still have decent access to health care.  Not that easy for a small town clinic to stand alone anymore.  Does the new name sound silly?  Sure.  But I don't think it's just a cosmetic change a la Gap, either.

eco eco

about 11 years ago

In Jadiaz's world, it's all the fault of that commie 10% of the population who are unemployed.

Sounds like dementia to me, which happens to rhyme with Essentia. Let's get to work on those lyrics.

zra

about 11 years ago

Sarcasm: the defense cry of 'net trolls since 1995.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

I would remind Jadiaz that having insurance doesn't mean he's covered. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield will probably treat him better than Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint would, however.

Suggested reading:
Congressional Memorandum: "Coverage denials for pre-existing conditions in the individual health insurance market."

W.T.F

about 11 years ago

Lithis, thanks for the translation. So here is what I got from your info; Stora means large, Enso is a town that no longer exists. We have a pulp factory that has a name that means "Large town that no longer exists." I stand by my statement that it is a corporate non-name, because it sure as heck doesn't mean "paper mill" or "pulp plant" or anything related to wood conversion.

Gunns

about 11 years ago

I think the name change is just...weird. Hospitals and clinics should be called what they are to avoid confusion. It may be cold but it's a hospital/clinic, not a resort/spa. It's really not that big of a deal, pretty pointless really because like Wes said, everybody is still going to refer to it as SMDC.

huitz

about 11 years ago

@W.T.F.

It's not Stora Enso anymore.  For what it's worth, it was first LSPI (Lake Superior Paper Industries), then became Consolidated Paper, then Stora Enso, then NewPage.  The actual owners (share holders) varied quite a bit during the transitions.

As for the name change for SMDC, it doesn't bother me that much as many others.  Though, I chuckle at and agree with TimK that it's pretty much a cheesy re-branding, and we should see it as such.

Dr. funkenschutz

about 11 years ago

I assumed that they changed their name to avoid the confusion caused by so many "Duluth Clinics" popping up in places that weren't in Duluth.

Lojasmo

about 11 years ago

80 percent of bankruptcies are directly attributable to medical expenses.  60% of people who file for bankruptcy due to medical costs are insured.

The new name sucks.

Shiner

about 10 years ago

You are not over reacting at all. Unless there was some type of merger or something that forced a name change, it is a waste. And though it seems small, now that there are more colors in their logo, even their printing costs will be higher.

Hey, I'm a liberal but no fan of regulation. But this is the kind of crap that forces the gov. to say "Maybe you should be spending 85% of your receipts on patient care, which is what your stated purpose is anyway, and maybe we'll help you by making it law."

Annie

about 10 years ago

Essentia Health is an integrated healthcare system that includes SMDC Health Care System. It's like a big umbrella over many hospitals and centers; I think we call that a monopoly. It includes Innovis Hehalth, Brain Lakes Health and Essentia Community Hospitals. The Duluth Clinic has always been a for profit organization. I don't know if it has changed when they changed to Essentia Health. SMDC is a level 3, more costly provider. Level 4 is the highest level. That means procedures etc. cost more money to the patient and their insurance company.

Ashlander

about 10 years ago

I can't believe they did this again!

I lived in a town with a Duluth Clinic a few years ago, when they decided to change the name of all various Duluth Clinics (e.g. Duluth Clinic-Ashland, Duluth Clinic-Hayward, etc) to names after the town (Ashland Clinic, Hayward Clinic) even though the previous names were well recognized brands. None of the employees liked it. A great deal of money was spent changing the stationery, website, etc. However, by the time they came around to changing the old signage outside the clinics almost a year later, the names were changed back to Duluth Clinic - Ashland, Duluth Clinic - Hayward. 

I think somebody in the top management in Essentia Health (formerly SMDC/Duluth Clinic) must have an interest in some advertising and/or printing company.

adam

about 10 years ago

As far as I know, they still do all of their printing out of town.

Elle

about 10 years ago

Do any of you know why they changed the name?  Do any of you realize that by uniting all the clinics and hospitals across the Midwest that it will bring the costs of health care in our region down?  Did you know that there have been hundreds of corporate job cuts in HR, Admin and other big wig departments but the employment opportunities for doctors, nurses and support staff has gone up?

Get your facts straight before you freak out about a stupid name change.  Do your research.

Tom

about 10 years ago

I always love when posts like this get such angry responses from someone way after everyone else forgot the post even existed.

zra

about 10 years ago

Me->Little Miss' NP->Little Miss' Pediatrician->MILWAUKEE->Little Miss' Pediatrician->Me.

This is the route that our request for Little Miss' health records so that she could attend school.

The process took about a week.

Before Essentia, we could talk to her doctor directly.

edgeways

about 10 years ago

... that it will bring the costs of health care in our region down? 

Hahahhahaha hohohoho wheeeeze. whoooa wait a moment I gotta catch my breath. Erm ... bwhahahahha, nope not working, still highly amusing.

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