More than just a name: FirstLight begins rebranding process

April 17, 2019

A well-known and growing entity in Kanabec and Pine Counties is undergoing a rebranding process. FirstLight Health System will soon be known by a different name.


Randy Ulseth, CEO of FirstLight, shared in a phone interview about the process.


Formerly Kanabec Hospital, FirstLight came to its current name in 2011. At the time, Ulseth said, “there was a small startup home health care company based in Cincinnati, Ohio with a similar name, but it wasn’t a concern to FirstLight in Minnesota, because as we understood it, the first entity to use the name has authority over it.”


Ulseth said they were contacted by the Ohio-based company about a year ago that contested FirstLight Health System’s name. The small startup had grown substantially into a franchisor, with over 240 organizations across the country. So negotiations began to determine if co-existing with similar names was possible.


However, after some lengthy internal discussions, instead of sharing a brand, FirstLight decided a rebranding was a better alternative. As Ulseth says, it is “more than just choosing a name, it’s choose a brand, and the brand should represent the people that work here and the patients we serve in our communities.”


Over the past month, a consulting firm was hired and has since involved the community in the rebranding process. On April 11, a survey was posted online for community members to fill out. It was an opportunity for people to share their thoughts and opinions, “whether you have used any of our healthcare services in the past or not.”


Many responses came in from the community in the short time the survey was up. Next steps include compiling the survey information and meetings with the rebranding committee. The committee is made up of FirstLight employees, board members and patients. As research is compiled and presented, ideas for a new name and logo will be introduced to the committee and FirstLight’s board for feedback and approvals. Unveiling of the new name and logo will happen sometime this fall when the expansion project in Mora is completed. 


While FirstLight is always working to improve the services they offer, the rebranding will “truly reflect our communities, employees and patients," Ulseth said. "FirstLight won’t be making any large-scale changes to their services in conjunction with the rebrand and will remain committed to improving patient access, security and technological advances accommodating our growing communities.”

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