Oct
01

Here’s a good article from McKinsey Quarterly.com titled Measuring Marketing’s Worth.

It’s hard to dispute the fact that you can’t spend wisely unless you understand marketing’s full impact. To this point, the three McKinsey authors state that they are consistently struck by the power of asking five seemingly basic questions that cut to the heart of the quest to drive returns on marketing spending. They find that marketers who have good answers to these questions are better equipped to do battle for the effectiveness of marketing (via C-suite alignment) and to win the war for growth.

Here are the five questions executives should ask (detailed within the article) to help maximize the bang for their bucks:

1. What exactly influences our consumers today?
2. How well informed (really) is our marketing judgement?
3. How are we managing financial risk in our marketing plans?
4. How are we coping with added complexity in the marketing organization?
5. What metrics should we track given our (imperfect) options?

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Sep
21

It’s not often that a health system CEO shares his perspectives about rebranding.

So I’m glad that Thomas Kleinhanzi, President and CEO, Frederick Regional Health System wrote this wonderful article that appeared on Becker’s Hospital Review website – Rebranding as More Than Marketing: Frederick Regional’s Journey to Excellence.

He writes about his recent rebranding of his health system. And it’s a wonderful testament to the value that a true strategic re-branding should deliver both inside and outside of the organization.

Here are some key points from Thomas’s article, woven in with some of my own. Good rules of the road from a CEO about how healthcare system and hospital marketers should approach rebranding.

1. No goals, no reason. It’s unfortunate that too many rebranding initiatives, lacking firm strategic goals and a strategic process behind them, result in not much more than a name change and a logo update. So how to help prevent this? It’s critical at the outset of any branding initiative that a healthcare system or hospital marketer first be able to answer this basic question – “what’s the problem that this rebranding will solve”? If there’s no good answer, there’s no good reason to proceed.

2. Brand and business alignment. According to the CEO, this particular rebranding didn’t signal a new start or an effort to reposition the organization. Rather, it was the culmination of nearly a decade of changes that took place, all of which were driven by a desire to define the organization as a regional leader in the delivery of progressive and innovative healthcare. So in this case, it was a matter of finally, and importantly, aligning brand and business strategy.

3. United by purpose. The focus of the organization’s efforts are now guided by its vision statement – ”Superb Quality. Superb Service. All The Time.” But Thomas states that beyond guiding the organization’s activities and priorities, the words have come to reflect the who, what and why of the organization itself. These words are now part of its DNA. When this kind of clarity exists internally, it paves the way for cross-functional teams to align around, and deliver on, common goals.

4. Magnet for physician talent. With each step forward in the delivery of its vision (internally and for its communities), FMH attracted interest from more doctors and medical personnel interested in working there. The health system also began to draw national attention – accreditations, CMS “top performer” recognition, etc. Success builds on success.

5. Buy-in. A solid foundation was laid from the start, with the goal of both hospital team and community believing and buying into “Superb Quality. Superb Service. All the Time.” It was always meant to be more than just a slogan, but a way of life. According to the CEO, the “secret is to garner support, buy-in and belief in the cause.” And the benefits of that realization are evident every single day across FMH. It’s a case of actions speaking louder than words, across an entire organization.

6. A journey, not a race. This CEO urges any organization to remember that “rebranding can’t be a quick fix”, and that it “should never be reduced to simply slapping a new name or a new logo on the organization and then moving on. Rather, it should capture the essence of all that the organization is and aims to be in the future. It should represent what the organization means to the board of directors, its leadership team, employees and the people it ultimately serves. Branding is the culmination of a multidisciplinary process that honors the organization’s rich history and background, and captures the excitement of possibilities.”

Back To Vision. In the end, Thomas states that “it’s all about vision.” I’d agree, as vision is one of an organization’s most sustainable competitive advantages.”

On behalf of all healthcare system and hospital marketers, thanks for sharing your comments Thomas.

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Sep
18

To keep a brand (and customers) energized, your got to continue to surprise and delight. In this case, it’s about a brand going back to its roots to tell its authentic story.

Campbell Soup introduced into Target stores special-edition cans of its condensed tomato soup bearing labels reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s paintings. The promotion is in honor of the 50 year anniversary of his iconic painting “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” and comes as Campbell looks to turn around its struggling soup business.

The timing is good (at least Campbell’s hopes so), as many of us in the midst of dizzying change also find ourselves desiring to learn more about our past in the hope that this will somehow provide greater understanding and meaning of our own identities. Also, with so many things in our lives nowadays seemingly so fleeting, there is something very reassuring and relatable about a brand with a rich history and substance.

A back to the future strategy offers other advantages:

• A storytelling approach about the brand’s past (e.g. Chrysler’s campaign with Eminem) can strike a powerful emotional chord and ignite a deeper sense of connection.
• It can grow a new generation of fans into the future (e.g. Converse).
• Conveying a sense of longevity and authenticity can provoke the highly sought after attribute of trust, as the brand has shown it has stood the test of time (e.g. Ivory).

In the related fields of healthcare, wellness and beauty, a dip into the past must be handled with care. Consumers want to associate these industries with the most up-to-date methods, research and technology, so any nod to the past integrated into a campaign must also communicate the modernity of the brand.

Any brand, especially one that is struggling, can benefit from going back to its roots and identifying what made it special and successful in the first place. And in a crowded market, a dip into the past can help provide much-needed differentiation from competitors.

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Sep
13


As consumers become increasingly comfortable doing more and more with their phones and tablets, mobile becomes essential to delivering customer value, maintaining brand relevancy and driving business performance.

Jim Lecinski, Managing Director at Google refers to mobile’s increasingly growing role as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). And he writes about it in this insightful and very useful e-book, Winning The Zero Moment Of Truth, which you can download here.

So you don’t have to guess, ZMOT is in reference to the traditional “first moment of truth” of the retail shelf. But its importance extends to marketers across all industries, as we’re all faced with our own equivalent of the retail shelf.

The truth today is that consumers know so much more before they even reach the proverbial shelf. They browse, explore, compare, contrast and discuss online about the products or services they’re considering. And then they’re ready to buy with confidence.

The Zero Moment of Truth influences which brands make the “shopping” list and where customers choose to buy. And it’s a decision-making moment that’s already taking place a hundred million times a day on mobile phones, laptops and wired devices – among mom’s in minivans, students in cafe’s, shoppers already in the grocery or drug store, or managers in the office. This is where decision-making is happening, and it’s where you need to be to provide the information your customers want, when they want it, how they want it.

Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, VivaKi sums it up this way – “When consumers hear about a product today, their first reaction is ‘Let me search online for it.’ And so they go on a journey of discovery: about a product, a service, an issue, an opportunity. Today you are not behind your competition. You are not behind the technology. You are behind your consumer.”

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Sep
06

Marketing Healthcare Today Magazine

I’m sharing this example of creating new energy for customers, brand and organization – though the organization is our client The Reading Hospital and Medical Center. Think it’s okay to feature “us” just a few times a year.

I’m proud to say that our healthcare marketing campaign for The Reading Hospital’s Women’s Services was featured in the most recent publication of MHT (Marketing Healthcare Today) Magazine. The campaign, “Every Woman Is A Work of Art. That’s Why We’re State Of The Art”, serves to establish The Reading Hospital as a nationally-recognized and contemporary player in the field of advanced OB/GYN services and related offerings for women across all stages of life.

According to Ann Valuch, Director of Marketing at The Reading Hospital, “the campaign energized our physicians and staff, and contributed to growing awareness, interest and volume.” Pre-campaign audience feedback (among Trajectory’s HerView™ database) revealed that women felt empowered and more connected to the service line based on the level of clinical and personal care available to them across all stages of their lives. And early campaign results indicate a 41% increase in prenatal class registration, 36% increase in website visits, and 24% increase in unique visitors to the website.

You can view some of the campaign components here.

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Sep
03

“Culture,” as Peter Drucker once said, “eats strategy for breakfast.”

Featured in July/August Harvard Business Review is the article Cultural Change That Sticks, written by Booz & Co. execs Jon Katzenback, Ilona Steffen, and Caroline Kronley.

Leading with a story of Aetna’s (not so unique) struggles in the early 2000′s, they point to the fact that “it takes years to alter how people think, feel, and behave, and even then the differences may not be meaningful. When that’s the case, an organization with an old, powerful culture can devolve into disaster.”

Through their research, they found that almost every organization that attained peak performance – including Four Seasons, Apple, Micrpsoft and Southwest Airlines – got there by applying these five principles. And they all viewed culture as a competitive advantage and an accelerator of change.

These principles are:

1. Match strategy and culture…as culture trumps strategy every time
2. Focus on a few critical shifts in behavior…change is hard, so you need to choose your battles
3. Honor the strengths of your existing culture…so major change feels more like a shared evolution vs. a top-down imposition
4. Integrate formal and informal interventions…reaching people at an emotional level and tapping rational self-interest
5. Measure and monitor cultural evolution…to identify backsliding, correct course where needed, and demonstrate tangible evidence of improvement

Helping clients to create new energy from the inside-out is important and fulfilling work. But for real change to take hold, not only inside but for customers and partners, it must be genuine to the organization. Starting with its culture.

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Aug
23


I’m sure you’re familiar with Method Cleaning Products by now, if they haven’t already found their way into your homes (and your heart).

They compete with many established cleaning brands, but stand apart based on what I’ll refer to as their “caring beyond cleaning” point-of-view. Case in point, have a look at Method’s the humanifesto. As people against dirty, it lays out the company’s sixteen stances that underscore their story, beliefs and promises.

This is why Method is so relevant to your healthcare marketing efforts, and to your organization at large. Today’s customers (your patients and communities) expect an organization they do business with to be more intentionally purposeful. To stand for something that inspires and motivates people on the inside and outside of your business. In turn, and the proof of this is reflected in real business returns, customers are willing to reward them with share of mind and wallet.

The future of your business hinges on thinking about the sweet spot between your purpose and profit:

• What can genuinely put your organization at the heart of your customer’s world? A purpose that moves them and you forward.
• How can your purpose link to progress in the communities in which your organization operates?

In healthcare, which is so local to begin with, you have an inherent advantage to dovetail with your customers’ world and to invite employees and customers to take part in the vision. Know that your actions speak louder than your words and that you are defined by what you do, not what you say. It’s the difference between delivering a promise (through message) and delivering on a purpose (through actions).

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Aug
15

A good mantra both guides your strategy and says everything about your culture.

We couldn’t agree more with these words from Shane Snow in his great article on fastcompany.com – Repeat After Me: Your Company Needs A Mantra.

Here are the top five most important ideas (my pov) from his article:

1. The best mantras inform a company’s everyday decisions, both behind the curtain and in front of the crowd.

2. A mantra is more fundamental to a company’s internal purpose than simply a marketing slogan. It’s concise, repeatable, and core to a company’s existence.

3. For some of the world’s most innovative companies, (we’d say for all companies), mantras should become a rallying point for employees and customers. Consider “Rewarding everyday moments” (Starbucks), “Think Different” (Apple), “Authentic athletic performance” (Nike), Enriching women’s lives (Mary Kay).

4. The key is simplicity. It should be “short, sweet, and swallowable.”

5. Mantras are therefore not mission statements (the cumbersome, typically indistinguishable paragraphs of company platitudes). Which, by the way, tend to be highly forgettable.

Is your healthcare organization mantra-less? Are you saying to yourself, “hmmm, this could be pretty powerful for us?”

Here are some thought-starters for you, with the goal of getting to those few words that reflect your story and your reason for being: Who are we? What do we believe in? What drives and unites us? How are we changing things?

It’s tough getting to, and committing to, your one thing. But it’s well worthwhile given its real and lasting benefits.

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Aug
07


We have the wonderful opportunity through our brand work to assist healthcare organizations and their healthcare marketing teams to energize and mobilize internal teams around common purpose and beliefs. It’s important, exciting and fulfilling work.

But as we all know, leadership demonstration is one important barometer of success. Will they walk the talk?

So we were thrilled when we recently presented to a board of a healthcare system whose brand we’ll soon be relaunching. Prior to our presentation, they were discussing a number of community-related topics. And much to our surprise and delight, the context for their decision-making and actions were the promises underlying the new tagline we developed.

Actions always speak louder than words. In this case, our four words are genuinely leading to greater actions. And it’s wonderful to witness.

Pretty cool!

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Aug
01


Good article in MarketingWeek –– Ten brands that gain the most admiration from marketers. Though none are in the healthcare space, they’re still very relevant for healthcare marketers based on why they were included in the list.

The list was compiled by research company Grupo Consultores UK (GCUK) from interviews with more than 200 UK marketers. Here it is, along with the key reasons cited (and the key takeaway bolded):

1. John Lewis: its ‘Never knowingly undersold’ slogan is a promise that underpins its customer service.
2. Apple has been shown by MRI brain scans to evoke near-religious zeal in its fans.
3. Virgin: People admire the consistency, and yet also the individuality (and I’d say philosophy) of the different brands under the Virgin umbrella.
4. Nike: its simple, proactive and inspiring marketing approach.
5. Procter & Gamble: its taken up new digital channels across multiple brands, which marketers admire.
6. Innocent: defying convention via a new positioning in healthy, premium-priced drinks, in a market dominated by sugary fizzy water.
7. Coca-Cola: Though Pepsi regularly triumphs in blind taste tests, it has never punctured Coke’s 125-year armor (which includes its long litany of classic ad campaigns by heart).
8. O2: Has shown ho-hum loyalty schemes how to make customers feel excited about rewards they can earn.
9. Unilever: powerhouse brand marketing, coupled with environmental commitment through its Sustainable Living Plan.
10. Tesco/Virgin Atlantic/Volkswagen

But here’s a different take on this list (mine) from the point-of-view of the consumer. Because it seems that this list could similarly have been compiled based on “those brands that gain the most admiration from consumers.” Here are five measures that capture why consumers would have included them on their list (and a couple representative brands from the above list):

1. Belief: customers understand and relate to the why (the meaning and purpose) of these brands, beyond what they do (e.g. Apple, Virgin)
2. Behavior: brand beliefs are powerfully articulated through their words and actions (e.g. Nike, O2)
3. Bonding: consumers want to be part of the brand’s promise and experience (e.g. John Lewis, Virgin Atlantic)
4. Benevolence: beyond functional brand benefits to making the world a better place (e.g. Unilever)
5. Bold: changing the rules and creating a clear alternative to existing choices and practices (e.g. Innocent, Procter & Gamble)

What’s your point-of-view about these lists — both original and mine?

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