iphoneWe’ve been generating a lot of video content recently. It has been a steady stream of brand marketing commercials, launch videos, behind the scenes promos, video case studies, etc., etc. And whether those videos featured beautifully shot footage and were professionally cut and edited or they were put together in iMovie, the results tend to be the same… impressive to say the least.

Being the narcissists that we are, we were certain this engagement was due strictly us producing thrilling cinematic experiences as if we were the next Marty Scorcese or Steve Spielberg. But it turns out, that while our video content is quite stunning, the content itself may be irrelevant. It’s the video part of the equation that is doing a great deal of the heavy lifting. Here are a few eye-opening facts about using video in today’s social/mobile/web universe.

If you create it, they will watch.

  • 78% of people watch videos at least once a week and 55% watch every day.

Share and share alike.

  • More than 500 years’ worth of YouTube videos are watched daily on Facebook.
  • More than 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.

Everybody’s doing it.

  • 81 percent of senior marketing executives now use online video content in their marketing programs, up from 70 percent in 2011. (MarketingProfs)

For infinity… and beyond!

  • Your video will live online and in search results for a VERY long time and most often will require an admin action to be removed.
  • The initial media purchase or accompanying campaign will be the bulk of the up front cost, but unlike TV ads, video content stays online indefinitely, gaining valuable impressions and reducing your overall per-unit spending.

Going mobile.

  • Online video now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile. (Bytemobile Mobile Analytics Report)
  • 30-second mobile video ads have an 88.3 percent completion rate. (Rhythm Insights)

Buy buy baby.

  • 34 percent of apparel shoppers are more likely to purchase after viewing an online video ad, versus 16 percent after watching an ad on TV. (ReelSEO)

Power to purchase.

  • Shoppers who viewed video were 174% more likely to purchase than viewers who did not. (Retail Touchpoints)

These facts make a rock solid case for using more video in your brand marketing. It’s obvious that video content is more engaging and ultimately tells a story faster and more powerfully than static content. Whether that content is powerful, emotive storytelling or a hardy chuckle, you can bet that your audience will be paying attention, which hopefully translates to them paying for your product.

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“We want to do an app!”

But is this really reason enough for a marketer to launch into a new initiative? (Rhetorical question, no need to answer). Apps are great for a lot of things, putting more features and functionality in our hands than anyone could ever have imagined. But before falling in love with the idea of developing an app, ask yourself or your team one simple question first – can this/should this project and its objectives be accomplished with a mobile friendly website instead?

Here are some of the often overlooked benefits of developing for the web using a responsive HTML5 approach instead of building an app.

1) Develop once, deploy everywhere.

Great strides have been made in developing apps for multiple platforms, but it is still a more cumbersome and costly process.

2) Stronger SEO value.

Content development is a difficult and time-consuming process, especially in the healthcare industry where the key content creators are the most starved for time. So every piece of content needs to work extra hard for you. Having your content on a live site vs stuffed inside of an app makes it visible to the search engines.

3) Doesn’t take up space on your device.

Many of my downloads have hit the app grave yard because I (like many of you) have run out of space on my device (e.g. my son does so many picture worthy things that I need to leave those precious MBs to capture every moment).

4) The desktop is not dead yet.

While mobile usage is still climbing fast, we tend to overlook the fact that people are still using their desktops in larger numbers. A responsive website will be available to those who are stationery as well as those on the go.

5) But what about those fun icons?

Don’t worry, you can have your cake and eat it too. Many mobile friendly sites encourage bookmarking their home page and have icons that will pop up on your home screen, just like an app!

6) Accessibile and immediate.

A browser is on everyone’s device, while people will need to download your app (another step in the process) in order to participate in what you have to offer. A tough sell sometimes in a world of immediacy.

Apps obviously have their place and offer a level of functionality and interactivity that the web is not able to provide. But they should be developed only when your goals can not be accomplished through the development of a mobile website. So, beware “app love” and build the appropriate technology to best meet your needs.

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Screen shot 2013-07-01 at 9.55.13 PMHospital mergers and acquisitions are expected to remain strong this year. This follows two years of data collected for Modern Healthcare’s 19th Annual Mergers & Acquisitions Report showing the number of hospital deals climbing more than 18% to 109 in 2012, up from 92 deals recorded in 2011.

In some cases, deals are driven by the need to financially seek economies of scale or to strategically capture a larger share of the market. But in all cases, beyond the financials and strategies, success requires managing the inter-related disciplines of Brand, Buy-In & Marketing to drive business performance.

Without proper planning, hospitals, healthcare systems and physician groups in the midst of transitioning through a merger or acquisition will always encounter:
• a brand that struggles to support the newly-formed organization’s purpose, values and goals
• a fractured internal audience that must be reiled on to deliver unified messages and experiences
• external marketing promises that might not sync with internal delivery
• inefficiencies resulting in sub-optimal return on marketing investment

At Trajectory, we’ve worked with multiple healthcare organizations through these transitions, and understand the unique challenges they face. Here’s a top ten list of issues to consider as your healthcare systems, hospitals and physician groups transition from pre-merger competitors to post-merger partners:


1. M&A brand team: created across your organizations to proactively act on and communicate leadership decisions and to navigate the range of tangibles and intangibles on the table, e.g. logistics, preparation, training.

2. Brand compatibility: short-term financial and market share strength will not overcome the need to develop aligned purpose, values and promises.

3. Portfolio strength: how will the merger or acquisition maximize your organizational, facilities and service line capabilities in terms of brand portfolio management?


4. Cultural fit: what’s the likelihood of integrating medical staff and employees, across all functions, on both sides of the M&A table. And whose culture leads?

5. Open communication: have you established feedback mechanisms (both offline and online) for both internal and external audiences.

6. Engagement: are your organization’s truly united. You don’t know, and can’t act upon, until you measure.


7. Market growth: how will the M&A guide your new entity towards achieving market reach and growth without hindering each organization’s key revenue generating, strategic and mission-driven service lines?

8. Marketing philosophy and approach: is marketing considered an investment or expense. Does it tend to be brand or service line-driven? Is it directed to physicians or patients? How will you align your two organizations?

9. Local community commitment: do your organizations have the same commitment to your local communities; does bigger now mean less touch in order to serve the health needs of the larger region?

10. From follower to leader: how will you adjust your approach from being the #2 or #3 player to becoming a stronger market share leader?

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What do train safety, organ donation and pet adoption have in common? They’re all brand marketing winners at Cannes, the world’s biggest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry.

It seems that great marketing and advertising work has donned a cape and stood up for the good of us all. More and more brand marketers are now taking a stance and fighting the good fight by way of purpose-driven campaign efforts.  Though not coincidently, these marketers also know that brands that demonstrate purpose beyond profits have been shown to experience the greatest financial success.

As creative people (I’m CD here at Trajectory) we are naturally driven to bringing great ideas to life through any and all means available. Even the better when it helps a good cause. Who hasn’t done their share of PSA ads either pro bono or back in their college portfolio class?

It’s in our DNA to use our creative juices for good. So it’s even more gratifying to see everyone rally behind it and celebrate it as they did at the 60th Annual Grand Prix awards at Cannes this year.

A successful cause marketing campaign accomplishes several goals for both company and consumer:

1. It provides a platform of authenticity. A platform that consumers want to see from the companies they do business with (and reward with their wallets) – given that they’re tired of all the false promises and disingenuous activity going on around them.

2. It creates a stronger emotional bond. As both parties connect on a more personal and meaningful level with the goal of working together to reach a more important result – beyond the typical sell and buy transaction.

3. It engages and activates consumers in an actionable way. It empowers them to make a difference in a way that they are more likely to participate in and talk about without sounding boastful or preachy, e.g. presenting a donor card to show where your heart lies, is way better than showing a cancelled check for $X.

4. It generates results. By helping the cause raise awareness and image, provoke conversation and achieve its fundraising or other tangible goals.

Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to all of those fighting the good fight every day and may not have been recognized yet. It’s inspiring to know that good work that does good can have a place at the winner’s table.

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Facebook, and social media as a whole, have become important tools in the world of healthcare marketing – bringing organizations and consumers together in entirely new and important ways. But Facebook can be used in more strategic ways beyond its typical tactical role.

The benefits of utilizing Facebook for marketing healthcare are numerous, including cultivating online and offline communities, increasing brand recognition and perception, being seen as an authority on particular topics, driving traffic to a website, and ultimately, growing relationships and revenues.

As of March 2013, Facebook claims to have 1.11 billion people using their site each month, with 665 million active users each day. According to The Health Care Social Media List, there are a total of 1,501 hospitals using social media – and of that, 1,264 (or roughly 85%) are on Facebook.

While health systems and their healthcare marketing agencies have been actively participating in Facebook for years, many use (underutilize) Facebook for more tactful purposes only. Given the numbers cited above, it is more important for providers to take a more strategic approach to this social medium to provide more value both externally, for patients, their families and surrounding communities, and internally, for the staff.

Here are five ways health systems can use Facebook to increase brand engagement:

 #1: Post Content That Will Directly Engage Consumers

Don’t just post (and repost) upcoming events, lectures, or community health fairs to increase attendance – use Facebook as a way to interact with audiences by asking questions, providing helpful tips and highlighting key centers of care.

 #2: Use Thematic Posts

Thematic posts directly support posting engaging content, including:

  • Current healthcare articles about new procedures, cures, and clinical trials that feature your health system.
  • Interesting health facts, such as quick tips for common illnesses and injuries. Using terms such as “Did you know…?” are a great way to generate discussion.
  • Highlighting Centers of Care and discussing service line expertise.
  • Using infographics to quickly communicate educational resources and health facts.
  • Creating themes for healthy recipes, such as “Meatless Mondays”, asking users to submit recipes and posting monthly winners.
  • Highlight compelling patient stories through photos and videos.

#3: Use Milestones effectively

Milestones can range from the opening of a new cancer center to hosting an annual golf tournament. Include descriptive, keyword-rich text and use images, since these will be featured prominently on your Timeline.

 #4: Integrate with other social platforms

Different social media platforms play nice together, which increases your opportunity for more meaningful brand engagement. When posting videos to Facebook, use the YouTube application instead of using the Facebook native video application. When you create a new board on Pinterest, upload it to a custom Facebook tab on your page. Use Instagram to upload photos of events and staff and share on Facebook.

#5: Update your “About” tab with keyword-rich text

Optimizing your “About” tab with robust, keyword-rich text helps your SEO efforts and increases your content score for Google searches – and gives your audience more info about your health system. It’s important to include your full address, company overview and mission, basic info such as year established, awards received, key locations, signature centers of care, and your website url. It’s a great opportunity to drive site traffic.

Check out Mayo Clinic, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s, Florida Hospital’s and closer to home for us, Summit Medical Group’s Facebook pages to see these simple steps in action. Do you follow these suggestions? What have been some of your most successful posts that have generated high interaction rates?

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Kudos to BBH for producing this captivating, important, culturally boundary-less healthcare PSA — which just happens to be the only healthcare-related advertising up for a Cannes Film Festival award.

It’s work that every healthcare marketing person – whether you’re working for a health system, hospital, service line or specialty physician group – has the opportunity to create. Hopefully wants to create deep down inside.

All it takes is (actually a lot of) COURAGE…

• to dig deep for that powerful, universally connecting idea
• to fight for surprising and provocative work, because otherwise (as you really know anyway) it’s just more noise
• to create marketing that really matters as it has the opportunity to more meaningfully engage, unite and provoke change

You can (really should) watch the commercial here. And please share your comments.

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FACT: Customer’s don’t care about your company and your products. What they care about is themselves and what you can do for them (in ways that others can’t) to better their lives.

If you agree with this (it is a fact, after all), then healthcare marketing should take a cue from the seemingly worlds-away golf industry. Which, by the way, supports why it’s so important to get outside your particular category – because new ideas can always be found by seeing in new ways.

Healthcare marketing (healthcare system, hospital and service-line marketing) still tends to be (of course there are exceptions) seller-driven, while golf marketing tends to be buyer-driven. Healthcare marketing often leaves up to you, the buyer, how you fit in their world. Golf marketers, on the other hand, tend to lead with the benefits that help buyers achieve their goals.

Why do buyers hire you? In the case of healthcare, it’s not only because you have the best docs, leading-edge technology, multiple locations, integrated care, perform more surgeries, are a top hospital, claim to offer world-class care close to home, etc. In golf, this would be akin to messages focused around senior leadership, testing facilities, the materials that make up the head, face and/or shaft of a club or the number of layers or dimples on a golf ball, etc.

Patients hire you, to put it into golf marketers terms, because you help them groove their swing, hit the ball farther, control their spin, gain more accuracy, better enjoy their rounds, play their best golf, etc. And they hire YOU specifically because you lead with buyer benefits vs. seller attributes –– and help them better their lives beyond your competitors.

To keep it simple, it comes down to two things (at least for our purposes here):

1. Relevance. The ability to fit with consumer needs and desires and to undersand their decision criteria.
2. Differentiation. The degree to which consumers perceive your brand (through communications and experience) to offer a bundle of functional, emotional and self-image benefits distinctive from competition.

I love golf. Many people do. But we all NEED health (and) care. In light of this, healthcare brand marketing must work harder. Healthcare brands (healthcare system brands, hospital brands, your service line brands) should be powerful business tools to help drive business performance. But this starts with relevance and differentiation. So…help consumers to help you!

What’s your point-of-view?

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World of Aerin

Are you a fashion marketer, beauty marketer or senior executive setting your sights on lifestyle-brand status?

As I comb daily through WWD for the latest and greatest in leisure, lifestyle and beauty marketing and branding, I’m struck by a recurring theme – or should I say dream. It seems like every high-end consumer brand – from Kate Spade New York and Michael Kors – to Coach, Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani and Aerin Lauder (of esteemed Estee Lauder) are setting their sites (figuratively and literally) on becoming full-fledged lifestyle brands to expand their customer franchises as well as to meet their financial ambitions (and demands).

So What Does it Mean to be a Lifestyle Brand?

First we need to embrace the concept of a lifestyle brand to better understand the dynamics of this trend, especially among top fashion icons and beauty brands. A lifestyle brand attempts to personify the values and aspirations of a group or subculture for purposes of creating a more loyal, engaged and active fan base. We all have our own identity that defines who we are and reflects our personal choices, experiences, background and aspirations. And when we purchase certain brands, it is a decision that expresses our personal identity through the eyes of the brand. Essentially, we are saying that this brand “embodies who I am (or want to be) and my current (or desired) lifestyle”.

In today’s hyper-competitive world of fashion and beauty, many top brands are extending beyond their original product categories – as they understand that they are really selling a defining image and lifestyle (e.g. Burberry embodies iconic elegance with authentic, British chic spirit; while Victoria Secret brings beauty and fantasy into every woman’s life in a sexy and sophisticated way) – and we buy into this “lifestyle” and what it represents.

Can Every Brand Become a Lifestyle Brand?

Attempting to position your brand as a lifestyle brand expands your competitive frame (as well as the resources necessary to support this expansion) as you extend across more categories. So the brand and the story it tells has to be larger (and relevant), authentic (delivering against the high expectations customers have of it) and provide a genuine emotional attachment to a particular lifestyle, therefore creating an enduring bond with your customers. For successful lifestyle brands like Ralph Lauren and Kate Spade, the financial benefits are significant, not only in customer loyalty and continuity of demand but greater ease in launching new products due to the inherent endorsement and trust of the lifestyle brand.

Building Lifestyle Brand Affinity

Aerin Lauder serves as a great example of an emerging lifestyle brand that transcends the boundaries of her family’s classic beauty business. Her range embodies her passion for beauty, fashion, entertaining and decorating and her sophisticated yet simple modern sensibility appeals to women on the go and in the know. The breadth of her offering is vast yet everything reflects her personal sense of style as well as her own life, with the goal of “decorating the consumer from head to toe and her house from floor to ceiling.” And the results to date are impressive, with key retailers like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman giving high marks to her fresh approach –– attracting new and younger customers to her fold.

For businesses desiring lifestyle brand status, even Aerin Lauder followed some key steps that serve as good lessons learned:

One category at a time. Create a strong foundation, grow relevance and credibility and then build on it. Kate Spade started her lifestyle brand by creating a strong reputation in handbags and then evolved into new categories from there…from ready-to-wear, fashion accessories and tech accessories to jewelry, shoes, beauty and home.

Deliver authenticity. Your brand should be based on a defined heritage, capability and well-defined set of values, a la Ralph Lauren. It also needs to deliver against the high expectations that customers have of it.

Demonstrate authority in your space. Top lifestyle brands today are blogging, creating how-to videos, writing articles, and more. With a passionate and active fan base, take the opportunity to socialize your brand to spark meaningful connections, tap into the emotional bond with your audiences and drive deeper (and more profitable) relationships.

Create a coherent style. Since being a lifestyle brand means transcending multiple categories, it is key to establish a strong umbrella identity that captures all the brand has to offer. As with Aerin Lauder, she created a new modern sensibility that was built on her signature elegance and understated beauty. Everything she does adheres to this style.

Establishing, and more importantly, growing a great lifestyle brand takes commitment, financial backing and vision. Will you be the next great lifestyle brand?

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Trajectory’s new TV work for California-based beauty marketer Pacific World’s SensatioNail Gel Polish is now on the air.

These Hands Can’t Wait is the new campaign that puts SensatioNail in the midst of its customers real lives – giving them the ability to do their own at-home (salon-quality) gel manicure in a way that seamlessly fits with their busy lifestyles.

SensatioNail is the first at-home gel manicure process that saves women time and money. The brand promises easy application, zero dry time and up to two weeks of dazzling, damage proof wear.

Goals of the beauty marketing campaign are to effectively establish SensatioNail as the authority in the at-home gel manicure category and to drive traffic and sales through key retail partners. While the campaign will ultimately be extended across print, web, public relations and social media, you can see the two new spots here and here.

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Our community-building is a virtuous circle of inspiration between our healthcare system and our communities.

These are not the typical words of a healthcare marketer. We don’t expect them to be talking about avid fan bases and active participants in co-creating new value. We don’t expect them to be comparing their brands to Kiehl’s, Lego, Sharpie, Benefit Cosmetics, Red Bull

And you know what, you’re right. I fabricated this quote. But why can’t this be the case? Why can’t healthcare systems and hospitals have active fan bases? Who laid down the law that healthcare marketing must follow a set pattern of self-describe, proclaim and repeat (albeit now across multiple platforms).

True community-building (with the result being “a virtuous cycle of inspiration between provider and customer”) SHOULD be a vibrant component of the healthcare marketing mix. With the competitive provider landscape changing – and the impact of this being more choice (particularly for more “routine” medical conditions) – loyal fans means more people wrapped more tightly around their brands, which means competitive insulation and more profitable business.

We’re thrilled at the extent to which one of our Trajectory healthcare system clients has embraced their (our) new tagline of Advancing Health. Transforming Lives. We’ve witnessed how in a very short time it’s become the guidepost for much of their decision-making, both internally and externally. And this “platform” idea gives them license (in fact the responsibility) to create the energy that moves their communities forward – in ways that feed their interests and passions.

True community-building helps both client brand and communities grow stronger – based on a “virtuous circle of inspiration.” I know, there are places like Mayo Clinic that have really stepped out to provide their communities with new and greater forms of value. But as I’m sure you agree, these examples are way too few and far between.

What’s your POV?

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