Reading the English newspaper

  1. l. Read the article and do the exercises.

Rebranding HealthSouth?

Sheni C. Goodman, “Bhinmgham News”

HealthSouth Corp.

founder and ousted CEO Richard Scrushy once boasted he wanted the Birmingham-based corporation to become the McDonald’s of health care and he spent millions to make that happen.

From golf shirts, pens, coffee mugs and gym bags to eminent scholar chairs, flashy traveling productions, radio programs and even television shows, the name and the logo were everywhere.

Now, the moniker is seemingly everywhere once again, but for different reasons: a headline-grabbing accounting fraud investigation complete with allegations of phony profits, extravagant spending, intimidation and insider trading.

Branding experts agree the scandal has damaged the HealthSouth name, but they believe it can recover, and, apparently so does the company’s

new management. HealthSouth has no immediate plans to change the name, said spokesman Andy Brimmer.

Instead, the company plans to focus on preserving and rebuilding the value of the name.

“The brand can survive, but several things need to be done to ensure that happens,” said Clay Timon, CEO of San Francisco-based branding consultancy firm Landor Associates.

“Among other things, the company needs to employ a public-relations firm with crisis management expertise and wTork to understand what makes HealthSouth worthwhile to its customers,” Timon said.

“Brands are relatively strong. This is a relatively new brand, but in health care, a brand lives and dies on the quality of services a customer believes he gets. If quality remains high, then the brand can easily remain where it is,” Timon said.

J im Johnson, chief executive of New York-based branding consultancy firm Enterprise IG, said the perception of the care given by HealthSouth has not been compromised by the accounting scandal.

“The problems are in financial governance, not in performing health duties. That would be a fatal flaw. This is a financial governance issue and people will separate that out,” he said.

One of the biggest challenges, though, will be the close association between Scrushy and HealthSouth.

“It is hard to separate Richard Scrushy, the person, from HealthSouth, the company,” said Robert Holmes, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s business school dean.

“But it’s been a powerful brand and it would make sense to retain the name. If you can get beyond the Richard Scrushy part of it, it will probably be fine.”

Scrushy’s goal when he founded HealthSouth was to build a recognizable chain of standardized rehabilitation and out-patient surgery centers. Once the company went public and was considered a success, the company’s branding efforts expanded beyond advertisements, sponsorships and logos on clothing and office gear.

In 1995, the company recruited sports celebrities such as Bo Jackson, Rowdy Gaines and Tom Glavine to take part in a roadshow meant to teach children about athletic preparation and training. HealthSouth spent at least $ 5.6 million to produce the flashy “Go for It!” show, which included thumping music, laser lights, a boy band and a girl group. One of the company’s customers, Travelers Group Inc., committed another $ 5 million from 1996 to 2001 for the production.

In 1996, Scrushy said HealthSouth was pursuing joint ventures to put the company’s name and logo on athletic footwear and sports beverages. Neither panned out.

In 2001, the company created a television game show based on the roadshow. Scrushy then hired former child actor Jason Hervey to oversee the company’s entertainment and marketing operations. Another television series and a joint venture with Sony followed.

Scrushy and Hervey also co-hosted a couple of radio shows one on HealthSouth related topics and one on the entertainment industry, which was recently canceled.

Broad or Unfocused?

Scrushy, who canned the “Go for It!” campaign in February to save money, saw the entertainment projects as a way to broaden Health South’s brand and build new business.

Current management sees it as “unfocused activity” drawing away from the core business. The company canceled the HealthSouth radio show and placed Hervey on administrative leave.

“Anything in the entertainment realm has been discontinued,” Interim Chairman Joel Gordon said. As part of its effort to rebuild the brand’s credibility, the new management removed all traces of Scrushy from corporate headquarters and the company Web site.

Posters promoting HealthSouth’s new slogan, “The Many Faces of HealthSouth,” will replace placards bearing Scrushy’s corporate message, “Pulling the Wagon,” in facilities throughout the system, Brimmer said.

The company has also announced plans to sell some of the aircraft, vehicles and tractor-trailers acquired while Scrushy headed the company. Meanwhile, the board of directors adopted corporate governance guidelines aimed at increasing its independence from the company. And the company pledged that payments to physicians, employees and suppliers will not be interrupted.

“Perception is very important to this company at this point,” Gordon said. He added: “The future image of the company will certainly be less arrogant than in the past.”

The Wall Street Journal has reported that some of the company’s surgery partners are considering severing ties to HealthSouth. Timon, however, said he doubted the perception of the HealthSouth name will negatively impact centers around the country.

“Customers may be more tuned in with the local doctors they’re dealing with,” he said.

Sticking Together

At least one of HealthSouth’s surgery partners gave the company a vote of confidence last week. A day after the SEC investigation was announced on March 19, the doctors at ElealthSouth Outpatient Care Surgery Center in Birmingham had voted to remove HealthSouth’s name from the exterior of its building, worried the association might hurt business and drag down the center.

But last week, the doctors reversed their decision, opting to stick it out with HealthSouth, said ear specialist Dr. Dennis Pap- pasjr.

“Originally we did not know how patients and others would perceive the events,” he said. “But the public in this area at least has been sophisticated enough to realize it was individuals on the corporate side that have damaged the company severely.”

“The patients also recognize the level of care has not changed,” he said.

“We haven’t seen the concern or damage we expected,” Pappas said.

  1. 2. Answer the following questions.
  2. Why did the HealthSouth need re-branding?
  1. What needs to be done to keep the brand?
  2. What conditions must be met so that a health care brand be a success?
  3. What was Scrushy’s goal when he founded HealthSouth? How did marketing help him reach this goal?
  4. What does HealthSouth’s news slogan imply? How did it match company’s re-branding strategy?
  1. 3. Match up the words and definitions:
  1. logo;              a)              to act host of a party, friendly meeting, TV show, etc.;
  2. expertise;              b)              a group that travels around the country giving public

performances for the purpose of entertainment, advertising, etc.;

  1. rehabilitation;              c) a person who goes to a hospital for treatment while

continuing to live at home;

  1. out-patient;              d) making a person able to live a healthy, useful, or active

life again, esp. after being ill, in prison, etc.;

  1. to go public;              e)              special skills or knowledge in an area of work or stud;
  2. road show;              f)              a design or way of writing its name that a company or

organization uses as its official sign on its products, advertising, etc;

  1. to compromise;              g)              to become known to all or to many;
  2. to host.              h)              to put into dishonorable position, bring shame to.
  1. 4. Read the article once more, find the sentences containing passives and translate them into Russian.
  1. 5. Make up the outline of the article and then render it.

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Источник: Е. Н. Малюга. Английский язык для экономистов: Учебник для вузов / Е. Н. Малюга, Н.              В. Ваванова, Г. Н. Куприянова, И. В. Пушнова. — СПб.: Питер,2005. — 304 с.: ил.. 2005

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