Communicating a Promise through Branding with Jeremy Floyd

Communicating a Promise through Branding with Jeremy Floyd
Jeremy Floyd is a prolific marketer who currently serves as the Chief Communications Officer for Covenant Health. In this episode, he joins Chris for a conversation about how his career journey went from being a philosophy major, to a lawyer, to finding his lifelong career in marketing.

Jeremy Floyd is a prolific marketer who currently serves as the Chief Communications Officer for Covenant Health, the largest employer in the Knoxville Metropolitan area. In this episode, he joins Chris for a conversation about how his career journey went from being a philosophy major, to a lawyer, to finding his lifelong career in marketing. Jeremy shares stories on why branding is so much more than the visual element of marketing a brand - to him, branding is your reputation and impacts lives in a meaningful way. Tune in to learn how Jeremy discovered a metal detector brand that saves lives, how he navigates the challenge of creating change in a large-scale enterprise company, and so much more.

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Highlights

(00:00) Intro
(00:50) Jeremy’s background and what led him to his current role at Covenant Health
(02:39) Why Jeremy’s interest in disruption and brand building led him to take his current role when he already owned his own business
(04:11) How an early career change led Jeremy to a job that changed the way Jeremy thought about branding
(08:01) How Jeremy sees technology disrupting the healthcare industry
(12:49) The brand promise of Covenant Health and how Jeremy defined it and is sharing it with the people of East Tennessee
(25:46) The future initiatives that Jeremy is introducing for Covenant Health, including their new sonic brand and brand anthem
(28:42) The tools that Jeremy is finding most valuable to create efficiencies in his department
(32:25) What brand Jeremy is loving right now, and why he feels it’s so powerful


About Jeremy

Jeremy Floyd is Chief Communications Officer and Vice President of Marketing for Covenant Health. Upon joining in June of 2022, Floyd immediately began to oversee operations for the marketing, PR/communications, graphic services and call center departments. As a member of Covenant Health’s senior leadership team, he leads the health system’s marketing, branding, consumerism and communication strategies – including digital initiatives. In this role, he is responsible for enhancing the health system’s brand and reputation as the first and best choice for healthcare for the East Tennessee region.

Floyd most recently served as President and Chief Marketing Officer of KellycoDetectors.com,where his efforts more than doubled the company’s customer base in just two years. Floyd also founded Lirio/Finworx, a healthcare business development company specializing in customized communication tools that use behavioral science and artificial intelligence to motivate healthy behaviors in individuals and population groups.

His previous marketing leadership roles include BPV Capital Management, Bluegill Creative, Eluminaire, and Holrob Commercial Realty. Floyd also served as adjunct professor of digital marketing for the MBA program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

In addition to his extensive marketing leadership experience, Floyd holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree with a concentration in business transactions from the University of Tennessee School of Law, and is licensed to practice law in Tennessee. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and philosophy from Middle Tennessee State University.


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Transcript

Chris: Welcome to We Built This Brand. I’m your host as always, Chris Hill. In today’s episode, we’re interviewing Jeremy Floyd. He’s a prolific marketer, storyteller, and he happens to be a former employer as well. In this episode, we walked through his career and what led him from being a philosophy major to a lawyer, and then finally to becoming an expert in branding and marketing.

If you hear one thing in this episode, I want you to listen for the part of our conversation where we talk about where he first realized that branding was more than a visual identity; he realized it was about reputation. And honestly, you just need to hear it, so let’s get into it.

Chris: Jeremy, thank you for joining me today on We Built This Brand.

Jeremy: Awesome. Thanks, Chris. This is great.

Chris: Yeah, it’s great to have you here. And as always, we’d like to start off the podcast with just a rundown on your background and where you’re from, and kind of what led you into this role. So, we just love to get into it. So, based on my research, did a little stalking [laugh] last night on LinkedIn and you know, it looks like you went to school at MTSU, you’re actually a Farragut grad—

Jeremy: Correct.

Chris: —which is pretty awesome. I’m a Bearden grad, as you may know, so there’s that whole rivalry we got going on.

Jeremy: That’s right.

Chris: But you went to MTSU for undergrad, then you went on to the University of Tennessee, got a law degree. You know, you spent time as a web designer, it looks like, as well. And then from there went into kind of the real estate game, helping a business grow and doing marketing and managing stuff there. And then from there, you went on to become, well, titled president at Bluegill Creative. Is that where you started, at Bluegill?

Jeremy: No, I just started as one of our account executives and then moved into that role.

Chris: But you were leading there by the time they—and sold, correct?

Jeremy: It’s a funny story, but yes. I put the deal together and then we ended up transacting as I went in a different direction. So yes.

Chris: Yeah. And then from there, some things happen. You ended up at a company called Back Porch Vista, which ended up rebranding into Lirio, which is where we first worked together.

Jeremy: Correct.

Chris: And after that adventure, you went on to be at Kellyco Metal Detectors. And if I remember correctly, I think you acquired that company, is that right?

Jeremy: Mm-hm. That’s correct. We just had our one-year anniversary, as a matter of fact.

Chris: Oh, wow. Congratulations.

Jeremy: Yeah, thank you.

Chris: That’s awesome. And then from Kellyco, you went on to where you’re at now today, which is Chief Communications Officer and the VP of Marketing here at Covenant Health.

Jeremy: Yes, sir.

Chris: Awesome, awesome. So, going from owning a business, I know a lot of people would say like, “Hey, that’s great. I’ve made it. I’ve run my own company.” What made you decide then to come here to Covenant and take this role?

Jeremy: Well, so I think I’m always interested in disruption, I’m always interested in building a brand, and if I kind of go back through the progression that you started on, if I kind of connect those, I always go back to the Steve Jobs quote in 2005, when he was speaking to the graduating class, and he said, “You know, looking forward, you can always connect the dots, but only when you look back can you see how they connect.” And that’s sort of a defining story for me. Interesting, right, because Steve didn’t finish at Reed College, but he gave the commencement speech, so kind of interesting.

I built my first content management system from scratch in ’98, ’99, somewhere around there. And that sort of set a trajectory forward for me that’s been in and out of every position. I’ve always had this entrepreneurial bent, and so, like, you talked about with real estate, the second thing I would connect was technology and then into branding. And so, I went into real estate as I was in law school and I worked for one of the people that probably shaped my business trajectory more than anything else, a guy named Bob Talbot.

So, the connectivity there was when I came in, I was working in the branding area and I was responsible for rebranding them, and then launching a new website to draw residential real estate into East Tennessee. It was a responsibility that was pretty large. And I’ll never forget the story—and this is an important piece for me—that when I went to study for the bar, I told Bob, you know, who is also a former attorney, I said, “Hey, I’m going to go study for the bar. I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks.” And he looked at me, he called me my nickname, which was ‘yapper,’ I don’t want anybody to know that, so—

Chris: [laugh]. Good thing you’re not putting it on the podcast or anything.

Jeremy: —but it may be that I talk a little bit because I’m excitable by the things that I do—and so he said, “Yapper, I don’t care whether you pass the bar or not because you’re going to be the best damn marketer in town.” And it changed the trajectory for me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but probably when you were talking about being a BPV when I was a Chief Marketing Officer, I looked back and thought, “Man, that really changed my trajectory.” Here, I was a guy that had just gone to law school and, you know, was passing the bar and I felt like that was what I needed to do. And it kind of freed me to say, “No, I’m going to go and generate revenue. I’m going to go and really build a profitable business for this company. I’m going to rebrand it.”

And Bob taught me a lot. Bob taught me that, you know, I thought at the time that branding was about visual identity. And really, branding—he said to me—was his reputation. And it changed the way that I thought about things in that what I realized was, I had to visually represent the story that the company held. So, I always say this, sort of after that, that good branding is really holding a mirror up to the values, to the promise, to the core purpose of the organization to the world.

And so, great advertising, great visual representation, branding, are all about just representing that and sharing that with the world. Course, I finished law school in 2006, so I did real estate development for a solid year, and then the whole market crashed. And so, that’s when I launched my first business. And here again, another piece of advice that changed me from a business standpoint was that Bob told me that he never wanted to have any anyone damage his reputation. And when we decided to part ways, he gave me office space and gave me a stipend, basically, for a year to kind of launch my own business. And that was when I launched my first consultancy and really launched as a virtual VP of marketing type thing.

I wouldn’t have been able to do that without Bob’s assistance. And it really invigorated me and kind of led me down a path of being able to really come in at a senior level with organizations, to understand the nervous system of the organizations, and then really be able to bring them. And so, as you kind of go through, you know, I continued to over the next ten years move into leadership roles where I was able to see how technology, marketing, communications, sales all fit together, how do you generate revenue in a way that is profitable, but that is also resonates with an audience to make them loyal customers, clients. And so, in multiple rebranding efforts, those became things that were hallmarks for me and sort of learning on my own for about six or seven years.

But it was interesting how even now—and so you kind of lead up to a Covenant—all of these experiences kind of led me to a place where I’ve looked where technology can disrupt the story of an organization, and come in and bring technology where it may not be there. Health care today is where banking was 20 years ago. We used to be tied to real estate, we used to be tied to branch locations, we would have to, any banking, really, we’d have to go through the drive-thru, send one of the tubes up over and with the check we’re going to deposit, whatnot, and now I take a picture of a check and put it into my account. And so, I’m decoupled in a lot of ways from real estate. Technology has completely disrupted that industry.

That’s really where we see, especially with the pandemic, where health care has been disrupted in a number of ways by technology when we weren’t able to get out as much, when we had a level of fear in getting out and being around others that were potentially sick, or doctor’s office, and so we were able to introduce virtual appointments where we were meeting with physicians through our telephones, right, or through our computers. And so, that has continued. And that’s one of the areas where Covenant Health really leads in our region in being technological leaders and figuring out how to offer virtual visits to physicians, virtual urgent care, teleICU where we have physicians that are monitoring patients all through our region. We just launched a new initiative called Advanced Care at Home where we’re able to take a patient that otherwise would be sitting in there, in a room inside of a hospital with all of the potential exposure to, you know, different diseases and different infections and whatnot, and actually allow them to go home, have the same level of monitoring the same level of care, but they’re in the freedom of their home, lower infection rates, higher quality, higher improvement on recovery, et cetera, et cetera. And so, technology has enabled that. And so, we have that from a clinical side, but the challenge then becomes how do we communicate that and how do we come in and take technology to disrupt, to engage, to connect with our patients?

You talked briefly about Kellyco. You know, there’s two things I would mention about Kellyco. One is really having a very customer-focused mindset. Before, you know, while I was in college, I spent a lot of time in retail and it was an emphasis for us to really focus on what—the customer pays our paycheck, right—

Chris: Right.

Jeremy: And this idea that we put them at the highest elevation of anyone that we care for. And so, that’s one of the things that’s really been a key focus, for me, organizationally, is to communicate constantly around, the patient is our customer. They’re a customer, they’re patient for a limited amount of time, then they leave and they’re a customer again. So, how am I engaging them and delivering a quality experience that adds value to their lives so that when they are at that moment of truth, when they’re making a decision for their care, that they select Covenant Health? And then through that experience, and when they leave, they are also re-engaged and they’re communicated with. As a customer that builds the brand loyalty.

The second thing that I would say about Kellyco, you know, it’s one of my most interesting—we’re talking about branding—it’s one of the most interesting brand stories to me. And I’d like to share it if we’ve got time for it.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, go for it.

Jeremy: You know, I spent a lot of time working with brands, especially from Bluegill on, and really reestablishing brands and really understanding what that is. And part of establishing a solid brand is understanding—I think about it like a glacier. What is everything that’s below the waterline? So, I’ve talked about the values. The values define who is part of the organization, who are the people that we say, these are the values that we hire for and we fire for.

What is the purpose of the organization? What is it that we’re driven to? And we talk about mission and vision, but really, it’s what’s my reason for being? And so, that’s the why, right? You know, Simon Sinek’s book on Start with Why. It’s that center of that organization, it’s what drives us, it’s the passion.

And then most importantly is the brand promise. And it kind of sits at the waterline, right? It’s that connection and translation from who we are, why we are, and it’s the how we’re going to communicate this to the world. So, then you just see this little tiny bit of, you know, glacier that’s above the waterline. To me, that’s how a brand works.

You have everything below the waterline: you have the purpose, why are we doing this; who are we, what are the things that define us, and then how is this communicated to the world? And so, that became a, I wouldn’t say rinse and repeat, but it became this point for me of saying, we have to define these things and really understand what a brand is. We’ve spent a lot of time organizationally, advertising, and telling a story, but we didn’t really have that brand promise nailed down. And when you look at our organization, you know, our brand promise is to help the people of East Tennessee live well. And how do we do that? By having the right care, at the right place, at the right time.

So, that translates from the physical locations that we have. We just opened a new campus in South Knoxville, we have other campuses that we will be opening, we have urgent care that we are going to be bringing to the market. So, that’s tying that real estate. But as we look at the point in transition that Covenant Health is, that health care as a whole is we’re decoupling from real estate. So, right care, right place, right time, technologically delivered, physically delivered, to improve the health of people of our region.

Defining that then transforms the way that we advertise, the way that we talk about our brand, the way that we think about our strategy, the way that we communicate the strategy of growth for the organization. And so, until you take that pause and really understand what is this glacial aspect of what we’re doing, and then how do we communicate that to the world? That’s the secondary approach. Now, we can create the commercials and now we can do more there.

Chris: So, I mean, coming into Covenant, you’re kind of a disrupter, like you mentioned. Like, you come in, and you’re in this age-old industry trying to do something new, something unique. What challenges have you faced with that, like, from a creative standpoint, from a branding standpoint? What have you discovered?

Jeremy: So, you know, Chris, one of the things, and you kind of listed off some of the organizations I’ve been involved in, when I ran BPV, I think the most employees I’ve worked with is about 65. So, I’d say the first thing has really been about an organization with 10,000 employees, and being able to get things done.

Chris: You’re the region’s largest employer, so—

Jeremy: Region’s largest employer. And so, you bring an organization of that size, you have multiple stakeholders, there’s ways that you, if you want to disrupt, you can’t make a decision at 8 a.m. and have it implemented by 5 p.m. so a level of patience becomes important.

And so, I kind of take the point about change, what does change require? Well, change starts with curiosity. So, I would never be at Covenant Health if I wasn’t curious about how we can improve health care. You know, I have a story. My father, you know, in about 2007, he went to a doctor’s appointment.

And he came in—very gregarious guy—came in, um, you know, I wasn’t there, but I’m sure he, as he often did, made friends with the people behind the counter, and I’m sure he was joking with them, very gregarious, I’m sure he walked around the waiting room, made friends, and then finally settled down and found out somebody’s life story, right? That’s just what he would do. And he waited, and he waited, and waited. And it was about two-and-a-half hours later and he finally just got up and walked out. Fast-forward about 18 months and he was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer and within about 12 months after that, he passed away.

And why do I tell this story? Because if he had stayed for that appointment if he had that appointment on time, then he would still be alive because the medical treatment that they could have provided would have saved his life. And so, I back that up and go, why am I telling this story? Because technology and the engagement that we have with being able to book appointments on time, the transition of understanding what the customer’s role in health care is and how to treat them appropriately, all of these things come into play to say, there are multiple lives where they go into an appointment, they miss an appointment, and there’s not that care at the right time, and that can impact their health going in the future.

And so, for me, there was a curiosity to go, surely there’s a better way to deliver this. And so, I’m not a clinician. I went to law school very intentionally; I like words, not body parts. And so, there was this thing of going, but I can play a role in the care and the treatment by taking, cumulatively, all of these experiences in the past and saying it is more than communication; it’s more than marketing; it’s really about understanding what that experience is. And how does innovation meet that?

And so, that curiosity to say, “This is fascinating.” We’re at a time in history unlike any other time, when health care is changing, where the finance of health care is changing, where the availability, the competition—Amazon’s in the space now. And it requires a level of rethinking things and a whole new way. And so, it’s taken that time to sit back and go, I don’t just want to go out and make waves and changes, but I want to realign focus among the stakeholders that are involved, to be able to communicate this brand going forward. And so, it takes time, it takes influence, it takes well-reasoned thought it takes, you know, data, what’s the return on investment going to be, and how do I get people that are going to be ambassadors for a vision of what we’re going to do organizationally instead of just, you know, this consent to go forward with this, right? I’m looking for more than that; I’m looking for a buy-in to the dream.

When you look at marketing departments and organizations, they’re the vision holders. You know, the legal department creates the entity, the marketing department breathes life into it. We understand what it is, we define that person side of things and that personality of the organization by telling that brand story.

Chris: What are your initiatives right now with the company to help with that brand message change and what are you doing in that regard, be it technology, or be it other marketing efforts you’re doing?

Jeremy: So really, there’s three areas of focus for me that I want to see as a result of our brand. The size and the breadth of serving 23 counties with currently ten hospitals in total, with hundreds of physician offices that we have out there, you take all of this together, and you say, this is a very large organization. So, that’s one improvement that I want to make so that people are aware of that. The second is that we are those technology leaders in our community and how we’re delivering health care in a very unique way.

And then, Chris, the third thing is, I want people to know how much we invest back in this community. We invest over $50 million a year back into the community in forms of charitable care. And so, at first, you hear big and you go, “Well, big? Big organizations don’t care about me.” But within an organization, a not-for-profit organization that is focused on delivering health care and being the first and best choice in health care, we are investing back into all of those 23 counties to be able to make sure that anybody is able to have that health care.

And so, I’m proud of that, and I’m really proud of that aspect. So, I mean, the size, tech leaders, being a charitable organization that’s giving back into our community, those are three really important results of what we’re able to do and what we’re going to communicate. So okay, results. So, what are you actually doing to move that forward? So, we spent the last six months really digging in to understand what that brand promise is that I shared, to help the people of East Tennessee live well by having the right care, at the right place, at the right time.

Why is that important? That sounds pretty trite, right? Took me six months to come up with that? You know, Chris, you’re a smart guy. You’re probably like, “I can do that in 30 minutes.” But here’s the thing. It’s a comprehensive communication plan to be able to take something Jim VanderSteeg says, “To be a consumer-focused, clinically-integrated health care delivery enterprise.” Now, what does that mean to you, Chris?

Chris: That’s a bunch of words.

Jeremy: A lot of words. I don’t even know where all the commas go and I’m a pretty good English guy. So, there’s some hyphens in there. There’s—anyway. But the best way to say it is that it’s about delivering the right care at the right place at the right time. Those are the same, those are synonymous with each other.

And being able to say that’s what we are delivering, well, it took a lot of time to say we’ve had this legacy of communication out here, we’ve made these commercials, we’ve communicated this message out there. How do we tie that together with Jim’s vision of what we’re doing as an organization? And so, really thinking about that, so took that to then develop a script. We’ve got a brand anthem that we are going to be launching at the end of this month. And you—by the middle of June, you’ll see that communicated in television.

And so, what is that impact? Well, it impacts not just the public and the perception of the organization, it impacts the people that want to work for this organization. If you don’t know, and you just say, “Well man, that’s big,” what’s attractive about that? I want to be able to—I have a—you know, if I’m a caregiver, if I’m bedside, I want to be able to change people’s lives, I want to play an important role in that. And to understand, no, this organization is driven by that, to help these people live well, you know, I think it’s really important.

And so, what you’ll see is the future will be more of that glacier-like communication. We want to be there for patients, for customers, for consumers, for people at their moment of need. That’s the most important part.

Chris: Yeah, and I—

Jeremy: You may not have that right now, you may not have that need right now, but when you do, you want to know that we’re able to take care of whatever your specific moment of need is. And so, that’s one of the more serialized type communications we’ll be putting out later this year, is talking about how are we delivering these different services at your moment of need. And so, I mean, we have tens, if not hundreds of services overall that we’re delivering, how do we talk about those things, and how are you aware of it, when you don’t need it, to be able to say, “These technology leaders are bringing things to me that I never knew were available to me.”

Chris: And that’s really cool. I mean, you know, having gone through the past few years having kids and I even had a surgery, actually, at the outpatient—or an outpatient surgery right here on campus, so I’ve experienced the Covenant Health system. And, you know, I think like, the interesting thing is, I hadn’t really thought about hospitals a lot when I was younger because I’m young and I don’t get hurt, you know, [laugh] I don’t have kids. So, I don’t think about running to the hospital every day. But as you get older, like, people are talking about, “Oh, well, this hospital is good. This hospital is bad for this and this reason.”

And a reason that comes up a lot is just what feels like disrespect. And I think a lot of that comes from, you know, the time you have to wait at the hospital, the challenges you face. So, I think addressing those things and thinking about that, you know, definitely makes for better patient experience and definitely, definitely impacts the brand as a whole. Because healthcare organizations have a reputation, I think, as a result of those experiences, and I think you focusing on that makes a lot of sense. So, that’s really cool to hear.

Jeremy: I think it’s really important. When you look back and go, “Well, how does communication play a role in that? How does communication play a role if your knee is dislocated and they tell you need an MRI?” And you go, “Okay, I need an MRI.” You walk out of there, two weeks later, you get a phone call, you missed the phone call because you don’t recognize the number, schedule the MRI and all of these things.

Well, there’s a lot of things going on in the background that would create those delays in that scheduling. So, this is another area of innovation for me to come in and go, “How does communication impact the experience within scheduling?” If it takes two weeks, part of it is communicating. “Chris, here’s what’s going to happen. You do need an MRI. We’ve temporarily fixed what’s going on, but we have a bigger treatment here. You’re going to be communicated within this timeframe. You’re going to have this scheduled and this is about when your resolution is going to be.”

A big part of communication is just about understanding, right? And so, looking for those opportunities, as I was talking about kind of looking at disruption and innovation when you take the center view of what does the patient experience look like? How do I make that better? Then you can come in and start to look at things and go, “Okay, well, here’s some areas of improvement. Here’s some ways we can change the customer experience without maybe changing the actual operational side.” There’s some things you just—we’re unable to change because of a variety of regulations, because of, you know, a variety of different issues. How I communicate it, however, can be different.

Chris: So, looking beyond this year and looking beyond some of the initial initiatives that you have, like, what are your plans for the future here at Covenant Health? Where do you see the brand going? You mentioned a brand anthem. I’m assuming that’s music? Is that… I hear ‘anthem’ and I think, like, you’ve got a song that you’ve created.

Jeremy: Oh, so now you’ve unpacked something that I haven’t shared yet. But we are happy to introduce our sonic brand. So, just like a—we’ll have the audible logo that is actually published now on our annual report page, but you’ll see more of that showing up. What you see is, when you’re—and it was—I was listening to the radio and I heard one of our commercials and it was completely unidentifiable. And it’s one of the power that we have with a lot of the sonic branding that’s out there.

Now, we start to—you know, the Netflix, very, very recognizable audible logo that we have. And so, we are going to be introducing that. What is the brand anthem—the brand anthem will have the sonic branding by the way—the brand anthem is really a depiction and a story of that brand promise. It is, why do I care about Covenant Health? It is, why would I ever want to work for this organization? It ties together the employees of the organization with the public, and to be able to say, “This is our story. This is something we can unite behind and rally behind. It’s something worth protecting. It’s special.”

And so, that ties in, and the rationale and the philosophy behind why does it matter that we don’t make the mark green? Why do we want to protect this thing? Because it’s special. And back to what Bob Talbot said, it’s the reputation. This is our reputation. It’s a stamp that we have every time somebody sees that mark and they remember, this is my positive experience. This is my negative experience.

When somebody out in public says, “I had, you know, this troubling experience at an emergency room,” they’re either able to identify with that or disagree with that. We need ambassadors of this brand that are providing life-saving health care every single day and we need people that believe that, that understand that, and are willing to stand up for it, both on the employee and the general public. You see this online, you see it in social media, you see it on Nextdoor. I happen to spend a lot of time on Nextdoor. I probably shouldn’t.

Chris: Always some drama there.

Jeremy: Alway—always some drama, always some whippersnappers out there causing trouble.

Chris: Oh, yes [laugh].

Jeremy: But anyway, I think having that public that understands that story, that’s part of what the brand anthem is. And so, I’ll be happy to share that with you when it comes out in June.

Chris: Yeah. That’s really exciting. The audio nerd in me is really excited to hear the new sonic branding and how you do that because obviously, with what we do here at HumblePod, like, audio is such an important part of our business, and having something that’s audibly identifiable makes a lot of sense, and that’s really cool.

Okay, so kind of getting to the wrap-up now, just some questions for you. What tools are you finding to be really effective within your organization right now? Are you engaging in AI, or are there anything else that you’re just saying, “Right now, like, this is something we really enjoy using as part of our company?”

Jeremy: So, this is just between us, right? And—

Chris: Of course.

Jeremy: —and the listeners.

Chris: And the cameras, yeah.

Jeremy: I don’t want IT to know this, but I am a ChatGPT nerd. Are we using AI as an organization? No, but from a communication standpoint—we are using artificial intelligence in trying to research things and trying to create efficiencies; we’re not writing our blog posts with AI or anything like that, but we are able to leverage that to create efficiency in our department. So, who knows where that goes? Technologically, what have we done?

Well, since I started, we have launched a new website; we launched that just recently. And what did we do there? We took something that was very disjointed—we had over 100 websites—

Chris: Wow.

Jeremy: —we’ve consolidated that into one domain. covenanthealth.com. We finished phase one, which was just moving all the hospitals in, now we’re moving all the practice groups, and by, you know, June, we will have all of that done.

And so, you’ll have one domain for everything. We’ve centralized all of the logos on this, so now we all fall under the Covenant Health banner and then with either a geographic indicator or the practice name indicator on there. But really, we’ve consolidated under this one brand to be able to communicate the size and the brand, right?

We’ve also focused on what the customer experience looks like on the page. So, they come in; are we giving them what they want, and how do we know what they want? By using the data analytics behind it to be able to say, “This is how we know that they want it. It’s taking them three clicks to get to the place that they need.” And then coming in and supporting, so we don’t have everything in place.

I don’t have that scheduling software where it needs to be that I talked about earlier, but it’s a massive undertaking an effort that we have to transform behavior at every office level, to transform the type of technology that can deliver it. We’re talking about integrating multiple systems, eight different systems, in order to be able to schedule one appointment. But what does that mean? That falls on us. That falls on us to keep a patient from having to call when they want to be able to just go in, couple of clicks, schedule the appointment, get the reminder on a text message, things like that.

And so, it’s using that technology to say, you know, what is the meta experience look like from a patient encounter? Maybe it’s not the actual encounter itself. That’s table stakes. If you can’t deliver a premium healthcare experience, then you shouldn’t be in the business, right? That’s what we do every day, day in, day out.

How are we providing the experience around the experience, from that moment that I set the appointment to the moment that I get the bill and all the way through? And so, it’s really about thinking differently about how would I want this to work. If I can get a hair appointment by typing in a, you know—opening an app and putting in a time, everything works smoothly there, why can’t I have the same with my health care? It’s that much more important, right? And so, it’s really about thinking, what should that experience look like and how does the technology support that?

Chris: Well, yeah, I mean, AI is definitely a big player in today’s world and it’s interesting to hear that you’re finding ways to use it. I mean, we’re, at HumblePod, using it as well and it’s been quite fun to try out. And obviously, not writing blogs or writing things for clients, but just in the ideation phases and the creative stuff that we’re able to do. Last question for you. So, we always end with this one. What brand are you really loving right now?

Jeremy: Yeah. So, I think that one of the most powerful brands, allows people to spend a lot more money on things that they otherwise wouldn’t. And there’s a few examples of that out there, but Yeti is a really strong one. I have—I encounter people all the time that have Yeti stickers on their car, they have Yeti hats, they have Yeti protectors on their iPads and on their phones, they have the mugs, obviously.

But why is that? Why do I identify a brand that keeps things cold, or in some cases things hot? I don’t really understand that. I don’t have an Igloo sticker on my car, but yet I identify with a cooler company, right? And I also identify with a company that charges a premium price.

It’s because somehow that represents a part of me. I identify with the story and I become an ambassador of it, right? I’m willing to wear that, I’m willing to put that on my hat, I’m willing to share that information. So, when you look at brands that are able to really penetrate that consumer mind and to say, I am in your first line of thought when it comes to brand, regardless of whether it’s a cooler or whatever, what is it about the brand that makes it work? Well, it’s got a nice visual identity, obviously, but it also is something that I’m engaging in a conversation that represents some part of me.

I’m a premium consumer. I’m not going to just buy something that can kind of do it; I’m going to buy something that is going to be able to keep my drink cool for a day or keep you know—my—I have a friend that goes out into long periods when he’s out in the field and he takes a Yeti with him for four days and keeps his food cold so that he can have food while he’s camping. It’s incredible, for sure. But there’s a lot of other things that can do that. There’s something about this brand turns people into ambassadors.

So, for me, I think with Covenant Health, being able to do the same and turn people into advocates, provide a premium experience or provide a an exceptional experience, or as Seth Godin would say, “A remarkable experience,” that remarkable experience is something that I’m willing to remark about, right? Something I’m willing to share that experience, in a positive way. And so, to me, that’s the objective in what we have is to engage our consumers, patients, to be advocates, and allow Covenant Health to be part of their conversation.

Chris: I’m definitely a fan of Yeti. We have, gosh, what is it, we went down to Florida and we got this airbrushed one… no, not airbrushed. What was it? It was like… I’ll have to, like, throw a picture up there or something for the editor, but it’s this custom-colored Yeti that we just use for everything. It’s our Koozie for all our, you know, adult beverages and sodas and things like that, and, yeah, we just love it.

And I was using my wife’s Yeti the other day, and she was like, “I’m going to have to buy you one of those, aren’t I?” Like—

Jeremy: There you go.

Chris: I’ve just been mooching hers all this time. So yeah, I definitely get the appeal. And there is something to your point. Like, it’s not Igloo. I can’t explain it, but it’s not Igloo. And then the tying it in with Covenant Health, like, you want people to be able to carry that brand with you. You want people to wear maybe your brand logo or be proud of that brand in a way that maybe prior to the rebranding, they weren’t.

And I can see how that that analogy works really well, so that’s very cool. Well, Jeremy, thank you so much for coming on today.

Jeremy: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.

Chris: It’s been a—it’s awkward, I’m kind of like—

Jeremy: [laugh].

Chris: —yeah I want to reach over and I’m going to knock the mic over. But yeah, it’s been a pleasure having you on today. And yeah, thanks.

Jeremy: All right. Thank you.