Though outside the health industry, this article by Gary Leopold of ISM which appears in MediaPost’s Marketing:travel – Playing With Partners: Some Rules of The Game – provides eight important considerations for creating successful co-brand partnerships.

These include:

• shared purpose and objectives
• shared strategies
• shared risk
• collaborate and support each other
• responsive to each other
• invest appropriate resources
• negotiate and work in good faith
• measure results and seek continuous improvement

Read the full article here. Any comments to share?

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Here’s a good example of two health brands collaborating to create new, and important, value for communities and patients.

Allina Hospitals & Clinics and Life Time Fitness are launching a new partnership to advance preventative health and wellness initiatives and awareness. It includes the introduction of Life Time’s myHealthCheck at Allina.

The collaboration will focus on several elements:

— Life Time plans to provide its comprehensive health and wellness assessment, and health promotion program, myHealthCheck, to Allina physicians, nurses and staff as a first step towards integrating health and wellness with health care

— Allina physicians are expected to be connected to Life Time destinations in Minnesota in order to provide medical education and counseling to Life Time members and staff, and medical services for Life Time endurance events

— The organizations plan to explore innovative opportunities to inject health and fitness expertise into traditional health care delivery

— Allina and Life Time will partner to provide integrated community health and wellness programs to the community with the goals of reducing overall health care costs and improving access to preventative health and wellness education and services

You can read more about the partnership here.

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As reported on India’s pharma portal Pharmabiz.com, Apollo Hospitals has signed on with deal-of-the-day website Groupon India to spread awareness of its medical services, beginning with its health check programmes.

The programmes will be offered over a specified period, at discounted prices, and can be redeemed at all Apollo-owned clinics and hospitals. According to its VP Marketing & Operations, “the social media outlet will assist both in spreading awareness as well as delivering healthcare solutions to our customer’s doorstep, thereby providing them an impetus to take their health more seriously. With Groupon India, we would add on more services including cosmetic surgery.”

Other modes of campaign like mobile & email marketing to subscribers are bundled along with Apollo’s brand presence on the website. Currently available only in Apollo Hospital Bangalore, the company will cascade this programme to its other branches nationwide, based on the initial customer response.

Is this a win-win for both consumers and providers? Do you see any downside?

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High-energy brands share similar characteristics:

• strong and compelling visions
• central energizing ideas
• brand-centric cultures
• ability to link businesses and stakeholders
• drive shareholder value

And this energy shines through in their marketing. To marketing that is far more meaningful beyond messaging alone. Marketing that in and of itself adds value to people’s lives and that at the same time unlocks the real differentiating value of their brand. To marketing with energizing differentiation.

Healthcare, given its importance in people’s lives, has a real opportunity to up its marketing game. But this begins with acknowledging that communities and prospective patients don’t really care about the narrow view of what you have to offer. But they care deeply about their broader view of what you can do for them.

So beyond marketing messaging, consider additional ways to deliver what your audiences really want. Being the focus of their interest – instead of the interruption (by focusing on your hospital, service lines, procedures or technologies) – you’re much more likely to succeed.

Change the frame and look through your customer’s lens:

• consider their vision rather than yours
• their desire for participation vs. your desire for attention
• their aspirations vs. your functional benefits
• their desire to engage by doing vs. your selling
• their desire for community vs. your focus on the transaction
• wrapped in the most individualized, differentiating and branded experience you can provide

Competitors can copy much of the functional things that reside within your hospital, but they can’t copy your organization’s unique brand energy. This is your most sustainable competitive advantage.

If you truly look at the world from your customer’s pov, you’ll be surprised at all the different creative ways you can provide them with information they can use, with knowledge not easily gained elsewhere, and opportunities exclusive to their relationship with you.

Every year, Ad Age comes out with their list of the worlds Top 100 marketers. I look forward to the day when a healthcare marketer makes it to this list!

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Empowering the patient. Enabling the physician. Enhancing wellness. Curing the well, before they get sick.

Daniel Kraft is a Stanford and Harvard trained physician-scientist with over 20 years experience in clinical practice, biomedical research and innovation. These are key themes from his talk at TEDxMaastricht, where he offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine – powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient’s bedside.

Inspiring, exciting and fascinating what’s on the horizon!

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From a simple project by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 to help get a small group of kids in Argentina new pairs of shoes, TOMS has since redefined what it means to bring about social change (and health) through business.

With their One For One™ business model, a pair of shoes is donated for every pair purchased. The success of their bandage-style shoes (more than 1 million pairs distributed in over 20 countries) proved it’s possible to truly be led by purpose and be profitable. TOMS has also proven that social media is the catalyst for digital activism be it on Facebook (942,116 likes), Twitter (732,763 followers), guerilla marketing or blogging.

Now, TOMS is expanding beyond shoes (leaving this “descriptor” behind in its brand name) and transforming into a truly one-for-one brand. Similar to its “one for one” BOGO (buy one, give one) model, TOMS is expanding its brand into a second product line (eyewear) to give the gift of sight to those in need.

TOMS new collection of sunglasses, priced from $135-$145 a pair, come in three styles and will be sold in the same way as TOMS shoes – for every pair of shades sold, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need through medical treatment, or sight-saving surgery (such as cataract operations) through a partnership with the Seva Foundation, and prescription glasses. The TOMS website also offers the option to upload a photo for a virtual fitting.

Why glasses? Helping save vision is a solvable problem, and Mycoskie feels it’s an issue where TOMS can make an immediate impact. And it certainly flows from their mission and model of solving great human needs worldwide. TOMS Eyewear will begin with initiatives in Nepal, Tibet, and Cambodia. Seva has been in the business of sight restoration for over 30 years – and has given help to nearly three million people globally.

I’m a huge fan of TOMS (could you really not be?). It’s a company…
• built around a massively important (and attracting) central energizing idea
• propelled by a cult-like culture
• driven by a purpose to solve a real problem
• providing a uniquely branded experience
• empowering customers through their actions
• ultimately creating (and fulfilling) a global one-for-one community of like-minded participants.

Please share your point-of-view.

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First, build your company around a central energizing idea. If possible, add a “heroic” purpose. Like “supporting women globally by focusing on their sexual empowerment.”

Then, support these two traits with actions that reflect your unshakable beliefs. Case in point is LA-based L, founded by Talia Frenkel, a longtime photographer for the Red Cross. The company creates the highest quality condoms for the modern consumer, and “represents a movement for consumers’ choice to support better sex, a better cause, and a better world.”

Central to their mission, for every condom purchased, one is distributed in a developing country. Supporting the mission, L partners (creating participants rather than just followers) with developing organizations to support women and HIV prevention through peer-to-peer outreach and partnerships with grassroots women leaders.

The for-profit company has teamed up with Direct Relief International, and is also working to cultivate partnerships with smaller like-minded nonprofits in AIDS-affected areas. Not to forget the importance of relevancy to high-energy brands, consider the staggering numbers surrounding the AIDS epidemic – as more human life has been lost to AIDS than all the wars, famines, floods and deadly diseases on the African continent combined.”

You can watch Talia’s inspiring story here:

Our Story from LovebeginswithL on Vimeo.

L seeks additional nonprofits to partner with to help support its mission. It also runs a Campus Club to encourage the involvement of (and thereby empowering) students at colleges and universities.

Should your organization align with L? Would your customers rally behind it? For information, you can contact L here.

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One trait of high-energy brands is purpose beyond profit.

On the purpose front, says Jack Neff, in his Adage.com article Creativity Marks This Spot: K-C Thrives in Tiny Neenah, “K-C’s marketers really do touch and improve lives, and they do it all in a highly creative manner that gets noticed.”

He points to the following examples of K-C’s balance of purpose and creativity. At the same time, however, K-C also delivers on another high-energy brand lever of creating highly spreadable communication. Some examples:

• Whoopi Goldberg creating a series of webisodes-turned-ads featuring women in history with light-incontinence issues (who admits suffering the condition herself)

• fashion designer Patricia Field designing sanitary pads

• Tyra Banks devoting a show to U by Kotex feminine pads

• Oval and fruit-slice-inspired wedge-shaped Kleenex packages that helped reverse a decline in household penetration. And then using traditional and social media to induce a million people to send samples of a softer Kleenex to friends last fall and winter.

• Depend, which is now is replacing what looked like adult Goodnites (which has helped millions of kids outgrow bedwetting with minimal embarrassment) with what look more like men’s and women’s underwear. It adds some dignity to what the marketers describe as a “heroic” brand, and it has its own anonymous social network where experienced users help new ones cope.

• Kotex and Poise, which marketers long assumed no one wanted to talk about publicly, have found quite the opposite. Marketing became the therapy in some cases, as talking openly about “light bladder leakage” allowed more women to recognize they had the problem, that it wasn’t so unusual, and that they could buy the right products for it, said Melissa Sexton, director of integrated marketing planning on K-C’s adult- and feminine-care businesses.

What other health brands balance purpose with profits? And at the same time, create infectious, spreadable communication?

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