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CVS Caremark Name Change: a Health-y Rebrand?

With its name change from CVS Caremark to CVS Health, CVS is taking a bold step to clearly own the idea of “Health." By doing this In tandem with the decision to end tobacco sales a month earlier than scheduled, the company seems to understand that when you make a promise through a brand, you have to deliver. But is it missing a beat?

The rebrand is part of a move to position CVS as a leader in health advocacy, a move that could prove lucrative for the pharmacy at a time when there is increased retailer competition for valuable health care dollars. The company has a growing nationwide network of walk-in clinics offering basic medical services, is actively seeking partnership with other health care partners, and is growing its pharmacy benefits management business.

Before and After
But so are its competitors. Drew Crawford, founding editor of PBM365, an independent media source delivering unbiased reporting and opinion on the PBM industry, fears the new CVS initiative may be a case of ‘smoking mirrors’, a campaign created as a distraction from the real issue – the financials. “Investors don’t care what a company is called – they care about the numbers.”  Coming out with a rebrand at the same time as acting on an emotive issue like smoking may be a way of stealing an edge on peers like Walgreens and Rite Aid. 
The new name, CVS Health, and the accompanying heart symbol, communicate that ‘care’ is still a key part of the corporate mission. Together they constitute a real lovemark … er, caremark that could really resonate with consumers.  But the new identity is at the corporate level, and will not be seen by the majority of consumers; CVS has no immediate plans to roll the new identity out onto the high street.  Which is a shame.  With 7,700 drugstores nationwide, the company has the opportunity to touch an enormous audience and, potentially, make a real difference.
So we commend CVS on its commitment to being a leader in health advocacy, but the jury is out on this one for the time being. The new brand certainly suggests the vision of a company that cares about its customers, but time will tell if this new brand is a promise kept.