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Expert criticizes demise of Starship hospital name


Brand expert criticizes demise of Starship hospital name

‘You don’t see me give medical opinions,’ says Jack Yan

Wellington, April 26 (JY&A Media) An international brand expert has joined the continuing outcry over the Auckland District Health Board’s decision to rename Starship Children’s Hospital as Auckland City Hospital Children’s Services.

Jack Yan, whose has numerous branding successes including Lucire, the only New Zealand site to receive a Webby Award nomination this year, said Board chairman Wayne Brown’s comments in The New Zealand Herald were naïve and foolhardy. Mr Yan was one of the authors of the brand manifesto, a document released in Sweden last year by the Medinge Group, a think-tank of international branding experts.

He seized upon Mr Brown’s comment that a public hospital should not have a brand. ‘It is symptomatic of ignorant management with no knowledge in branding,’ he said.

‘Brands help identify organizations, but more than that, the best ones create community and generate happiness.

‘Starship was the perfect example of this in New Zealand. There are organizations that would have to spend millions to get the same goodwill and support.’

According to Mr Yan, there are no business or academic opinions that support Mr Brown’s belief.

He questioned the Board’s judgement on saying that the children’s hospital was not special, when ‘every other organization in the world is trying their darnedest to make themselves more special.’

He believed the comments alienated not only funding sources but the hospital’s staff.

‘By making Starship “just another hospital”,’ said Mr Yan, ‘it will lose funding and donations because no one will know what it stands for any more.’

He added, as a message to the Board, ‘You don’t see me give medical opinions because I‘m not informed in medicine.’

In 2000, Mr Yan’s work showed a link between a strong brand and an organization’s performance. He holds a master’s degree in marketing, focusing on identity and branding.

A book that he co-authored with the Medinge experts and edited by Nicholas Ind, Beyond Branding, will be published by Kogan Page in the spring of 2003.


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