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Why not. Aren’t many of the pieces there already? Isn’t your healthcare system already evolving from point-of-care to care [health] everywhere?

I recently read that Mastercard is transforming from a payments to a lifestyle brand. Raja Ragamannar, global chief marketing officer, says the “Priceless” campaign is now laser focused on connecting with customers across nine lifestyle passion points.  This follows countless other brands which started life as an electronics, food, apparel, fashion or home furnishings brand,  but then extended beyond their core to declare their “lifestyle brand” status.

According to wikipedia, a lifestyle brand is a company that markets its products or services to embody the interests, attitudes, and opinions of a group or a culture. Lifestyle brands seek to inspire, guide, and motivate people, with the goal of their products contributing to the definition of the consumer’s way of life.

Why can’t a healthcare system brand make this transition to become the first “lifestyle brand.” Sure, your core will be your traditional health care services. But your future success rests upon health, wellness, education, prevention…inspiring, guiding and motivating people to live their best lives possible.

Just a few examples of stepping outside the box include: Orlando Health is the jersey sponsor and official medical team for MLS’s new franchise Orlando City SC. And the two organizations are united in the advancement, well-being, growth, and passion for their community. New Jersey-based Summit Medical Group, through its Road To Health Tour, participates in health fairs, farmers markets, family sporting events, etc. The Mayo Clinic offers The Mayo Clinic Diet – a plan for weight loss, and ultimately better health,  developed by the Clinic’s weight loss experts.

Lifestyle brands create an aspirational lifestyle. But who ever said that a brand needed to be “upscale” or inspire the loyalty of millions of people to qualify for lifestyle brand status. I’d say helping people on their quest to better health, wellness and quality of life is pretty aspirational.

Vision your evolution from an organization focused on your precise area of know-how today (e.g. providing healthcare), to having a wider center of interest that lets you play a bigger role in people’s lives (e.g. inspiring and supporting health and wellness).  Can you reach true lifestyle brand status?  Certainly it’s a stretch. But someone has to jump to the front of the line. Why shouldn’t it be you?




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There are certain brand-building characteristics common to high-energy brands performing at their peak. These characteristics allow you to separate your health system or hospital brand from the pack, more meaningfully engage internal and external audiences, shift consumer demand and drive financial performance.

In healthcare, which is over-flowing with new competition and becoming more consumer-driven, these characteristics really matter. They give you the kind of strength that not only powers business today, but also provides the energy to take today’s success forward into the future.

So how does your health system or hospital brand measure up against these characteristics? How do you compare to your most significant traditional competitors, and your new emerging set of retail and technology-based competitors?

Here are the 11 characteristics:

1. Declaration: Your organization has an aspirational and authentic reason for being that extends beyond your offering and category, and taps into a compelling ideal that unites employees and prospects.

2. Differentiation: Your brand is perceived to stand out and provide unique value versus competition.

3. Relevance: Beyond standing out, your brand aligns with consumer’s needs, desires and decision criteria.

4. Demonstration: Employees not only understand the organization’s brand ideas, but embrace them and live them together.

5. Alignment: Touch points and marketing programs across the customer journey deliver consistent messages and build consistent brand meaning.

6. Shopability: The specific services and products desired by your communities and patients are easy to discern and shop across your portfolio.

7. Experience Offering: Your organization delivers a customer experience that is both “branded” and delighting (beyond simply meeting expectations).

8. Emotional Pull: Your brand taps into emotional needs which have greater weight in decision-making vs. rational arguments.

9. Dynamism: Your brand is constantly moving and evolving to surprise and delight audiences.

10. Symbols: Your brand creates expectation and identity shaping experiences with its own shorthand emotional and iconic language.

11. Community: The extent to which consumers want to engage with you, and with each other through you, beyond a transaction.

The ultimate point of your brand is not to create emotional appeal or to generate buzz. It’s to shift consumer demand. Delivering on these characteristics will help you to unlock its full potential.

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There is only one way to help the many teams across your health system or hospital to understand, rally around and consistently reinforce what makes your organization different and special.  Through the development of a Strategic Brand Platform. 

Without this foundation, you have no compass to guide those who represent your brand through their decision-making, actions and communications. Which means you have no basis to catalyze internal teams, nurture customer relationships and foster sustainable, more profitable growth.

In the best of times, it’s hard to keep everyone (staff, nurses, doctors, leadership, volunteers, etc.) across departments, service lines and facilities on the same page about brand building. But in the absence of a formalized brand strategy, it’s impossible. And if there isn’t clarity inside, there’s confusion and misperception (among customers, partners and other stakeholders) outside.

Your brand is a driver and a compass for your organization. Having a clearly articulated brand strategy (in the form of a strategic brand platform) ensures everyone involved in the delivery of your brand shares a common and consistent understanding of what your health system or hospital stands for, how it’s different (positioned differently) from other local providers, why your communities should care and what they should expect when they have an experience with the organization.

There are many variations of a strategic brand platform. We at Trajectory have our own flexible versions honed over the years developing strategy alongside leadership teams across the related categories of healthcare, personal care and wellness. But the strength and integrity of any platform should be judged by several criteria:

  • reality of the changing healthcare marketplace
  • your organization’s culture, passion, business direction and greatest strengths
  • promises you can genuinely deliver to all internal and external audiences
  • what meaningful needs you see in the marketplace that you can uniquely address


The bottom line is that your strategic brand platform (properly shared across the organization) gives you the essential foundation needed to consistently express your brand (and increase your ROI) in everything you say and do. Without it, there is absolutely no way for your organization to consistently manage your brand nor influence the perceptions and behaviors among the people who matter most to its success.




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Just read this article, and it’s a perfect post for a Friday. Should motivate you to get out for some exercise this weekend.

Think you’ll be too tired? Or are you feeling a bit stiff? Sorry, but if Don Pellmann can set his fifth age-group world record, you can at least get out for a walk.

Read this NY Times article – you’ll be inspired and it should put a big smile on your face.

Here are a few shots from the slide show accompanying the article, which is about this 100-year old world record setting athlete. Go Don!!!

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There are many opportunities today for health system and hospital marketers to create new partnerships and platforms to more meaningfully connect and engage with their audiences. In fact, as the industry evolves to more a population health management and consumer-driven future, these opportunities should move up on the list of healthcare marketer priorities.

Our client Orlando Health is the exclusive provider of medical care for the new MLS franchise Orlando City Soccer Club. And their logo (the one Trajectory created as part of our major rebranding initiative), is emblazoned on the front of their jerseys.

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The relationship (cultivated by John Marzano, VP, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer) reflects brand activation at its best. But it gets better. Orlando Health is now able to reach an expanded fan base through Xbox and its just released FIFA 2016 MLS Soccer Video game. Orlando Health is featured on the MLS cover as well as its own personalized team cover.

These efforts bring the Orlando Health brand to life in ways that:

– help distinguish it in a crowded marketplace
– fit with the core values of the Orlando Health brand
– create assets that offer long term benefits to the organization
– create real emotional engagement with communities through their passion for soccer
– ultimately, make it easier for consumers to believe in the Orlando Health brand.

Last but not least, leveraging the relationship with soccer and its pro athletes leads to new business for Orlando Health’s sports med program – whose mantra is “Get Treated Like A Pro.”

Very cool all around!!

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According to market research and consulting firm Grand View Research, the global market for organic cosmetics and personal care will reach USD $15.98 billion by the year 2020, and will continue to grow at a CAGR (compound average growth rate) of 9.8% –– which trumps all other industry categories.

Likewise, Kline Group estimated that the much larger natural cosmetics market hit $30 billion last year and also predicts that CAGR will also grow at around 10% up to 2019. Note that both of these statistics were published in this article on cosmeticdesign.com.

With this kind of demand (driven by consumers taking a more proactive approach to their health and wellness), its enticing to want to get in on the action. So how do you retain the equity of your cosmetics, skin care or personal brand while creating a fresh “healthier” face to stay relevant. Here are 6 tips based on our years of unlocking brand potential (not only here at Trajectory, but also as client-side marketers):

1. Don’t run from who you are. Unless your brand is stagnating and in decline, there are equities (both strategic and tactical) that your brand has built over time. And you need to treat them preciously, because they’re really hard to come by. So your first priority should be to refresh what made you famous in the first place.

2. Deliver on points of parity. Success requires more than differentiation. There are certain must-have’s that customers are looking for. In this case, they’re the increasingly important attributes of natural and organic. And no matter how compelling your points of differentiation are — you can’t win unless your brand is perceived to be “good enough” to deliver on these point of parity (POP) dimensions. So sure up what you can.

3. Leverage Your Strengths. One key to success is to focus on being brilliant at the things you’re good at, rather than worrying about your weaknesses. Hopefully, these strengths align with what customers are hungry for. But focusing on your strengths does not mean ignoring your weak points. Rather, seek to reduce or neutralize them.

4. Seek out customer opinion. Elicit the feedback of your best customers. Which is easily done today given the ability to engage in an ongoing two-way dialogue. They’ll provide the most insight into the opportunities for your brand. Find out what’s sacred? What’s flexible? What can go away? And then beyond your brand, what are their needs? What are their daily pain points? What kind of help are they searching for within your industry?

5. See Inspiration From Outside Your Market. We always recommend (and have a disciplined process for) clients to seek out inspiration beyond their direct competitors. If you want to be distinctive and relevant for your customers, you need to defy convention. And the way to do this is to look beyond competitors who tend to look, sound and act alike.

6. Re-visit the brand experience. Step back to take a broad view of the entire experience prospects and customers have with your brand. Map their journey from search, to selection, to purchase to performance to post purchase experience. And then overlay this with all of the elements that make up your experience, i.e. people, product, place, price, promotion. Based on your positioning and promises, add, augment, or erase steps as necessary.

Every brand owner needs to look forward by paying attention to culture, shifts in attitudes and values and the competitive landscape that they need to react to. In this case, it’s the pursuit of natural and organic. But at the same time, do not forget to look back to what made you successful (and your consumers successful) in the first place. This is often the smartest starting point to retain your equity while you fill in the gaps to stay relevant.



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Note to beauty care marketers – the more we learn about certain ingredients that are common in skincare and cosmetic products (from Sulfates to Parabens to Benzoyl Peroxide), the more we want to avoid them all together! Rather than give up our entire beauty regimen, we’re reading labels and making more natural choices to bypass toxic ingredients.

Living in a generation post a chemical revolution that allowed Americans to have whatever they want, whenever they want for marginal prices, millennials are reacting to the lack of transparency on potentially hazardous ingredients that women in our mother’s generations didn’t even bat an eye out. My mom often jokes about how they would chase the DDT truck that drove through their neighborhood spraying for bugs. For real! But, times are changing, and we are moving forward with the kind of knowledge that our parent’s did not have regarding the effects of synthetic ingredients on our bodies.

In a recent study, surveyors found that over half of women (54%) are checking labels on their skincare products and buying accordingly. The study also highlights that the skincare segment is the most important for products that include natural ingredients within the category of beauty. Interestingly enough, women are willing to pay more for the peace of mind that natural and safe ingredients bring. This factor marks a departure from the trend of brands racing to be the lowest price point. As with the food industry, it is a positive change to note that consumers are willing to dish out a little extra cash for quality, safety and  product integrity.

Out of this trend, the beauty industry has exploded with brands catering to every Green consciousness from organic beauty products sourced from natural ingredients to probiotic skincare to products suitable for vegan beauties. Besides the obvious impact of the products we use on our bodies, a movement is growing for companies with ethical practices who focus on lowering the carbon footprint of their factories.

As organic, natural, and green skin care moves from the fringes to the main stream, the market is open to companies that can get it right. The consumers clamoring for these products aren’t green market hippies; they are educated professionals willing to spend some cash on a well-conceived, respectful product that works. The spoils will go to the brands that can strike the balance between all natural, luxury and efficacy.

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Brand strategy and activation firm Trajectory co-president Randi Brody is quoted in this article on newhope360.com – 4 ways the nutricosmetics market is maturing.

For personal care marketers, three important takeaways include:

1. Given that health and wellness is booming, positioning around “beauty supplements” is limiting and might be leaving money on the table. Aging isn’t just about how you look, but about how you feel.

2. By using ingredients that can help consumers thrive physically while looking their best, nutricosmetics (as well as close-in categories like skin care) may have a more far-reaching appeal beyond anti-aging to “healthy aging.”

3. Beyond the formulations themselves, companies taking an overall healthy lifestyle approach to their marketing (integrating how we live, what we consume and how it affects our overall health, vitality and appearance) may also have an edge.

Net: there has never been a better time for companies to seize the opportunity to assist consumers in their quest to live healthier and better lives!


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You might be saying to yourself – what the heck does Tesla have to do with us? We’re in the healthcare business, they’re in the car business. Tesla’s a new and exciting brand. We’re not. Tesla can be featured in articles like this on adage.com – Another Quarter, Another Retail Refresh for Tesla. We can’t.

But that’s where you’re wrong. Who carved the hospital marketing rules in stone? Who pre-determined that it must consist of seemingly interchangeable print ads and TV spots featuring doctors and smiling patients, and mentions of multiple awards, world class care close to home and foreign-sounding technologies and procedures.

Now is the ideal time for hospital marketers to spread their marketing wings. Consumers are actively shopping for their healthcare, and new retail and technology competitors are shattering traditional boundary lines and practices. As a result, expectations are changing and hospital marketers need to step up to the plate to maintain their relevance.

Consider what makes brands like Tesla stand out. Beyond being driven by a compelling vision, they’re brought to life in ways that are distinguishing, interesting, empowering, surprising and delighting. And these characteristics don’t change based on the category. The rules, and expectations, are the same across the board.

Which brings us back to what hospital marketers can learn from Tesla. It’s implementing a twice-yearly retail refresh to generate buzz, attract shoppers and offer something new to existing drivers. The idea is less about selling product and more about shoppers spending time with the brand. Ultimately, Tesla’s goal is to build a luxury lifestyle brand (a la BMW, Porsche and Ferrari) by pushing expensive clothing and accessories and deepening relationships with its affluent customers.

Clearly, we’re not suggesting you introduce your own line of designer hospital clothing and accessories. But we are strongly suggesting that you can bring your hospital brand to life in more distinguishing, interesting, empowering, surprising and delighting ways. To get you started:

1. View your world through the eyes of the customer, and how you can better their lives, rather than your organization, offering and brand. Thinking like this provides a path to a much deeper relationship (a la Tesla), beyond one driven by functional benefits and which tends to be relatively shallow and vulnerable.

2. Look outside at external role models. Based on your brand purpose and goals, start by reviewing a number of different product categories, and identify the brands that focus on the same or similar brand purpose dimensions or have tackled the same kinds of challenges. Which best interpret and deliver the elements that your brand is striving for? Finding role models almost always leads to fresh thinking and insights.

3. Widen your lens to consider the entire ecosystem of potential platforms and partnerships available to advance your customers beyond what you can do alone and beyond the means of your competitors. Look across the entire customer journey, and consider with whom can you partner, what can you help customers accomplish and what are the environments that you can own to make this happen.

For the right audience, your brand can be as exciting as Tesla!



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As a brand strategy and activation firm focused on creating new energy for brands across healthcare, personal care, wellness and lifestyle, we’re into brands, products and behaviors that help us to get well, stay well and live well.

So here’s a helpful article on beautyandwellbeing.comTop 10 healthy snacks – to help you create your own healthy burst of energy.

After all, we want to help keep our clients as healthy as possible!



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