For the first time in its history, WellCare unveiled a revamped corporate color scheme and tagline. Will the moves foster more growth?
Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans Inc. was founded more than 30 years ago. But only recently, as it has embarked on a growth path — with recent acquisitions in Arizona, Texas, New York and Maine — did it take a step back to evaluate and refresh its corporate brand.
WellCare had $14.2 billion in revenue in 2016, which makes the publicly traded firm the fourth-largest company based on the west coast of Florida. WellCare manages health care plans for more than 4 million Medicare and Medicaid clients nationwide via its network of some 400,000 medical professionals. It's also evolved its offerings over the years to include a prescription-drug plan and Staywell Kids, a health care plan for children.
The newer offerings partially led to the brand redo, which includes prominent use of the color orange and a new tagline: “Beyond Healthcare. A Better You.” The Business Observer recently sat down with Rhonda Mims, WellCare's chief public affairs officer, to talk about the company's new look and messaging. Edited excerpts:
What was the impetus for this corporate brand refresh?
We're continuing to look for more growth opportunities done both organically and through mergers and acquisitions. To support the efforts that we're undergoing as we enter this growth spurt, we needed a strong brand promise that was differentiating and more reflective of who we are and what we do. We started 30 years ago in a strip mall type of environment, and since then we've grown up and gotten to a point where we have national competitors. So it made sense for us to demonstrate a little bit about who we are, and the only way we could do that is to come up with a tagline, a better visual identity product, that would allow us to resonate with members from all walks of life.
What were the guiding principles of the brand refresh?
We wanted a strong brand promise that differentiated us from our competitors. One of the things that we did notice, and we were victims of this, is that [in the health care industry] there is a lot of blue as it relates to corporate colors. We were in a sea of sameness. So we wanted something that would stand out and make us pop a little bit more. So we ended up with the color orange as one of those identity things that would allow us to stand out from our competitors.
What kind of feedback did you receive when you tested new brand ideas with customers and employees, and how did that feedback influence the final wording and look and feel?
From our associates, in order for us to stand out a little bit more, the recommendation was to update our look and feel and also to create a tagline, something that would make sense. Our consumer research revealed that there wasn't a lot of brand equity in the WellCare name. Although we've been around for a while, the name doesn't necessarily jump out at you as much as some of our competitors. We're really trying to improve that through this update.
Having led other rebranding efforts, why do you think it's important for brands to refresh or refine their identities?
Primarily, the company has to make sure that its reputation speaks for itself. If we're offering new products and services, it doesn't really matter if our brand doesn't show up in a positive light. For us, brand management is making sure that we do what we say we're going to do every day for our members and that speaks to going beyond just providing them health plan resources.
Rhonda Mims, 50, was named senior vice president and chief public affairs officer for Tampa-based WellCare in August 2016. She reports directly to WellCare CEO Ken Burdick.
Mims, who holds a law degree, previously worked for several government departments and related groups, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the South Carolina Office of Attorney General. She also helped lead rebranding efforts at ING when it became Voya Financial in 2014.