Can a New Brand Confer Respect and Dignity on Patients? It Happened in Waco
// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
A strong brand has the power to elevate and unify an organization. Waco Family Medicine’s brand journey illustrates how important brand is in defining a culture and purpose internally, and giving a community a banner it can proudly rally around.
One organization with too many names leads to an identity crisis and confusion for all involved. It’s a story we’ve heard many times, usually driven by the rapid pace of mergers, acquisitions, and consolidation in the health care industry over the past 10 to 15 years. Brand has become increasingly important as a way to connect all the parts of an organization under one unifying concept.
Waco Family Medicine had a slightly different reason for needing a name change and rebrand. Its family medicine residency program, foundation, and community health centers had been around since the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, respectively, but not many people in the community knew about it.
As the organization evolved, it picked up new names along the way, like a snowball. But no one understood that all the different names were part of one entity. And because of that, it was hiding in plain sight in McLennan County, a community in central Texas with a population of more than 250,000.
“I’ve lived in Waco for about 20 years and for about the first 10 or so I didn’t know that this place existed and so one of my goals was to try to change that,” says Carlos Hinojosa, development director for Waco Family Medicine.
“We were the first family medicine residency program west of the Mississippi,” says Dr. Jackson Griggs, CEO of Waco Family Medicine – Center. Griggs came to Waco for the residency program in 2003 and was recruited as a faculty member in 2008. He took the helm of the community health center as CEO in 2019.
Griggs’ earliest indication that the organization had some identity issues was when he was a medical student at the University of Texas Houston, looking for a top family medicine residency program. A Texas native, he had heard there was an excellent program in Waco — and there was. But when he tried to look it up, he couldn’t find it.