Visible and behind-the-scenes changes both reflect and reinforce the distinctions between Omaha-grown CQuence Health (formerly, CQuence Health Group) and other investment companies.
Notably, CQuence Health’s new brand and communications identity is a reflection of its evolution over the past 12 years to span and support diverse and innovative health care companies.
Mike Cassling, chairman and CEO, represents top leadership of the 40-year-old flagship holding, Cassling.
“In 2020, we launched an organization-wide initiative to impact 1 billion lives by 2030,” he stated. “This is an audacious goal, but speaks to our genuine passion to make a meaningful difference in health care.”
While Cassling indicated its vision to improve access and outcomes by investing in and partnering with like-minded companies is a constant, he said it needed to evolve its business model – including a broader array of professional services to offer to its holding companies.
“And we’ve partnered with co-investors and health care-focused funds to expand our impact,” he explained. “With so much positive change taking place, along with a move to a new corporate headquarters, it felt like the right time to modernize and evolve our brand identity to align with the evolution of CQuence as a health care company.”
These efforts also reportedly “dovetailed nicely” with its flagship’s evolution, with Cassling recently adapting its own brand to reflect a wider range of imaging, surgical and therapeutic solutions with stronger community health care aims at heart.
According to Creative Director Justin Eggspuehler, CQuence Health’s brand efforts, announced in late May, began with internal discussions about their vision and future positioning, and eventually incorporated employee and customer feedback.
“These are critical audiences; employees execute the brand, meaning they make it a reality, and customers are the recipient of that experience and ultimately are the ones who define what your brand is or isn’t,” he noted. “We surveyed employees and led focus groups to understand how they defined our previous brand.”
Eggspuehler referred to pulling in teams “at every level” to discuss what must be retained as the company grows and collective aspirations.
“This followed a similar process that we took at Cassling,” he said. “From there, we worked with an Omaha-based brand development studio, Turnpost, to bring our renewed brand identity to life.”
Aligning with Substantive Change
VP of Marketing Tana Phelps took a step back, highlighting how “CQuence” is a play on “sequence” and its process of supporting health care companies from step No. 1 to “infinity and everywhere along that sequence.”
“Launching a startup company — even scaling an existing health care entity — is really hard,” Phelps explained. “You have challenges at every turn, whether that’s securing enough cash to make payroll, finding talented employees, or positioning your solution to resonate with the market. There are headwinds, no matter your stage of business.”
She stated that CQuence Health’s approach to supporting health care entities takes as much off of their plates as possible.
“So, they can focus on their core product or service and make their biggest impact,” Phelps added. “We wanted our brand to better reflect that passion.”
Similarly, its logo featuring an infinity symbol within the “CQ” represents its “infinite commitment,” she said, to investing in the health companies that add up to their goal of positively impacting 1 billion patient lives by the aforementioned 2030 timeframe.
Plus, she continued, the symbol stands for a connection to health care as both employees and as patients, and the “endless work” involved with responding to changes and growth in industry needs.
“The new look needed to not only align with our evolving identity and our purpose, but also with the brands of our flagship holding, Cassling, as well as our newest holding, Phase Medical,” Phelps added. “We also dropped the word ‘group’ in both our name and logo to broaden and expand our offerings and emphasize our position as a health care company.”
She suggested these efforts reinforce CQuence as a vehicle to accelerate improved health care and better lives for patients.
“Traditionally, investing in a company is something superficial that involves funding rounds, capital investments and doing everything possible to maximize return,” Phelps remarked. “Revenue is certainly important but … our investments very intentionally and strategically seek to make a difference in the world, too.”
She reinforced how CQuence supports firms not only through cash, but also via business strategy, operational help in research, accounting, marketing, HR, IT and their ilk – those “key pain points” all startups and scaling businesses contend with, and their team is uniquely positioned to help.
As an example, in early July, CQuence Health announced its new investment partnership with WasteMedX, described as an eco-friendly and “cleaner, safer, more sustainable waste solution for health care organizations.”
When asked about progress toward the goals associated with these most recent efforts, Phelps referred to a wall in its office at 13810 FNB Pkwy, which features a real-time counter of patient lives. At the time of this writing, the numbers impacted through CQuence and its companies approached 176 million.
“The ticker is constantly increasing, right now at the rate of one life every three seconds,” she said. “This is a great way of making our goal more tangible and helping our team stay connected to what really matters — how we positively impact patients.”
Healthy Care, Community, Culture
As it looks toward reaching the 1 billion-mark in the next six and a half years, Cassling emphasized its “army” of team members and holding companies, and the addition of like-minded firms to its portfolio. As they help these companies succeed in the health care space, he continued, “We’ll increase the number of patients we can help at an even quicker rate …”
In a nod to its commitment to improving the health of communities, VP of People and Culture Bruce Stec emphasized CQuence’s commitment to improving the health of communities by providing volunteer time off for its employees.
“In 2022, our employees logged over 120 volunteer hours, and we are on track to exceed that this year,” he said. “Recently, at an all-hands company event, our team put together 1,500 kits for local charitable organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Children’s Cancer Connection and Angels Among Us.”
Its committee, CQ Cares, plans and participates in volunteer events, charities not limited to Ronald McDonald House, Salvation Army, and Food Bank for the Heartland.
“CQ Cares usually has at least one opportunity per month employees can volunteer for, and if none of those fulfills our passion, we encourage our team to use their VTO for a cause they are passionate about,” Stec stated.
More broadly to its “culture,” Stec said they also frequently seek feedback and use those insights to improve the work experience.
“We also strive to ensure they are connected to our mission and vision and ready to serve our customers,” he said. “By giving employees a consistent voice, they are able to take part in crafting an incredible experience for customers.”
Cassling summed up CQuence by saying that, when people hear “investment company,” certain images come to mind; for instance, “boring,” “faceless,” and “very buttoned-up.”
“That’s simply not who we are at CQuence Health,” he said. “We dealt with this disconnect for years with new hires and partner companies who came to us expecting one thing and finding something entirely different.
“We’re people who care about people, and we truly believe that the health care companies we invest in have the potential to change the world.”
He said the work they do is unique; the same goes for the companies they support financially and otherwise.
“We wanted our brand to reflect what we’ve known for so long, and after many years, we’ve finally gotten there,” Cassling noted. “We can’t wait to see our companies and our team continue to grow and make a difference in health care.”