Help Corporations Escape Sub-Optum Invented Brands

As a social service agency or company or government mandated service, the only brand you need is really your business name, and a decent level of service.

Of course  you need something written on letterhead, and an address, but your “brand” is really about how you deal with people. And so it is that in areas where we trust little, like “healthcare” or “wellness” or “public/private partnerships” the brand names keep changing, and they keep inventing new ones. You don’t even have to excel at it; no one expects that. Instead, you just need to be nice and helpful.

Today, I saw a new crazy brand, the Optum brand of, get this, worker’s compensation pharma benefits. In a mailing of a worker’s comp pharmacy card, we saw, inserted in an envelope, that the materials were provided by Optum, which was the new name for Helios. I guess that’s good news! But even better news was that the retail pharmacy brand Tmsys had not changed! Thank goodness because I would have gone to my non-existent Yellow pages to look for a Tmesys pharmacy …..

Tmsys has not changed! What a happy thing to hear! But so so sad for poor Helios that its brand would be dumped in favor of Optum. It is hardly fair to Helios that they were dumped in favor of Optum!

Was Helios sounding too much like a solar energy company, or a sex-drenched Mediterranean beach resort? We’ll never know. Helios never saw it coming.

First, let’s get this sorted out. If you as a customer have pre-decided pharma benefits from a company, you really don’t need a “brand” as the “brand” has been decided to you by the “man” who runs things. The only time the “brand” might change is if the “lawyer” calls and asserts that the “brand” is not providing what the “bureaucrat” says is right and then the “judge” steps in and switches the “brand” or the “benefits” for the benefit of the “customer” who is really the “victim.”

Brands like Optum, Helios and Tmsys remind me of a little strange man I once worked with during college, who came to work in the newspaper in downtown Richmond, Virginia wearing fly fishing gear. All dressed up and ready to go to Montana, and not the advertising floor. I could not figure out why he bothered, except that the jacket, which had little fly fish ties stuck to it, made himself feel like someone a bit more glamorous than he was.

So I will not be looking them up for you, linking to them, or describing what they are, or describing the merits or nuances of their graphics and color schemes, or even thinking about the people who run them. Sufficient to say, I am sure, that the people administering the rules of handing out drugs and benefits to people do very little to add to the value of what is needed, though they do perhaps do something needed.

Of what they do do, I am not sure.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

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