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Safe Haven: Name review of the joint healthcare company from Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway

By Alex Kelley

March 26, 2019

The healthcare sector was rocked last January when JPMorgan Chase, Berkshire Hathaway, and Amazon announced they were teaming up to create a new, not-for-profit healthcare company for their employees. At last, the name of this joint venture has been announced: Haven.

image courtesy of Haven

Haven is ambitious — in its marketing at least. The message from its CEO, Dr. Atul Gawande, on the new company’s Home page states that Haven was formed because leaders at the aforementioned companies were “frustrated by the quality, service, and high costs that their employees and families have experienced in the U.S. health system.” He promises the company will be “relentless” and “high-impact” and will “work to change systems, technologies, contracts, policy, and whatever else is in the way of better health care.”

But the company was much more conservative in its name choice. In response to the first question on Haven’s FAQ, “Why was the name Haven chosen?” the company states:

“It reflects our goal to be a partner to individuals and families and help them get the care they need, while also working with clinicians and others to make the overall system better for all.”

That’s a rather circumspect answer for a company that’s positioning itself as a disruptor, if you ask me… and doesn’t supply any specifics as to why Haven fits the brand.

Haven conveys safety, a refuge from the strife of today’s healthcare insurance and delivery systems, a place where you will be taken care of. That’s a solid message for the healthcare space. Paired with its simple, human tonality, Haven aligns with the company’s stated goal of simplifying the healthcare experience to provide safe, quality care for everyone. But the name has nothing of the upstart energy that inspired the project or the freshness and innovativeness that the company says it will offer.

Now I’m not saying the name has to be as bold as the company’s marketing copy. Names don’t need to be aggressive or even edgy to be fresh. The (Catchword-named) companies Clover Health and Premise Health, for example, feel unexpected for the healthcare space but also pleasant and reassuring. We were also impressed by the name of the healthcare startup Oscar, which feels fresh and even disruptive in the space but is also approachable and personable.

But Haven isn’t unexpected. In fact, it’s such a logical name for a health company, that there are quite a few with it already. A quick online search brought up seven:

  • Haven Health (in-home healthcare provider in Southern California, havenhealth.org)
  • Haven Health (healthcare service provider in Texas, havenhealthamarillo.com)
  • Haven Health Group (healthcare service provider in Arizona, havenhg.com)
  • Haven Health Solutions (healthcare digital asset management, havenhealthsolutions.com)
  • Haven Life (life insurance agency, havenlife.com)
  • Haven Healthcare (healthcare service provider in Arkansas, havenhome.us)
  • Haven Healthcare (bankrupt nursing home chain in Connecticut, whose leadership was convicted of financial mismanagement and patient-care violations in 2011)

Many of these are local or regional, but at least some must hold a trademark. I’m curious to know who the new company had to pay (and how much) to be able to get the mark and URL, because there’s no way in heck that they were simply available. The URL the company uses, www.HavenHealthcare.com, has been registered since 2001 (maybe they were able to buy it from the bankrupt nursing home chain.)

Haven certainly seems to want to stand out from the crowd — it’s marketing is pretty clear about how it differentiates itself, with these messages featuring most prominently:

  • image courtesy of Haven

    transform / change for the better

Home page headline: “It’s time for better.”

“Our mission is to transform health care to create better outcomes and overall experience…”

  • unify

“…bring together resources and capabilities of the three companies,”

“We will be an ally of anyone who is working to make health care better for patients.”

  • people not profit

    image courtesy of Haven

“…our goal is not profit…The organization will reinvest any surplus … to improve health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and lower costs.”

“…make sure that patients remain our top priority…”

  • power of data and technology

“We are focused on leveraging the power of data and technology to drive better incentives, a better patient experience, and a better system.”

  • simplicity and transparency

“We believe it is possible to deliver simplified, high-quality, and transparent health care at a reasonable cost.”

  • affordability

“Our mission is to transform health care … as well as lower costs for you and your family.”

The first three of these messages are very rich ground for name development and would better align with the brand’s marketing. But maybe the company doesn’t want to be restricted to its current positioning.

In the end, Haven is safe, as a message and as a name choice. It’s comforting, lyrical, easy-to-say and remember. It’s positive in a general way, which will allow it to grow with the company in many possible directions. However, if the company wants to convince us that it’s going to improve people’s healthcare by relentlessly innovating solutions (including taking on the status quo if it gets in the way), then a stronger, fresher name would work better. I suspect that this disconnect between Haven’s marketing and its name reflects a disconnect between its ambitious rollout and more conservative long-term expectations.

Grade:
B+
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