I started to write this post last week about Help Remedies, a pharmaceuticals company that doesn’t think, feel and act like a pharmaceuticals company.

But then I read the New York Times Magazine cover story about Barney’s, and I’m glad I waited. Because this story about Barney’s new management team and its makeover – Don’t Give Customers What They Want – dovetails with what I was going to write about Help Remedies.

Referring to its makeover, former CEO Gene Pressman states that “Barney’s has never been about giving customers what they want. It has been about educating, expanding horizons, presenting the unexpected. If you give customers what they want, then you die. The fact is they don’t know what they want.”

Which leads me back to Help Remedies, and three things that I really appreciate about this very unpharma-like pharmaceuticals company.

First. It’s very apparent that they are led by a strong belief – challenging expectation of what people believe about a pharmaceuticals company – beyond what they do.

Second. The fact that this belief is powerfully expressed through their behaviors – from name, logo, tagline (take less™), messaging, web, products, experiences, through to online purchasing.

Third. The sense of belonging they promote by living their promise of “we’re not just another pharmaceuticals company.” Case in point, the pop-up Help Shop in Washington DC for relief for any kind of pain. The store offered small remedies for those in need of help, from low dose drugs to life suggestions, from headache to heartache. The goal was to show people that most problems in life can be remedied with something small, rather than high dose pharmaceuticals.

Think about your business. Are you giving customers what they want? Or, similar to Barneys and Help Remedies, are you educating, expanding horizons, presenting the unexpected?

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I topped off my Thanksgiving vacation break by doing a series of healthcare branding and marketing guest lectures at Emory Goizueta Business School.

Through highly interactive sessions with Goizueta Marketing classes, each comprised of between 50-60 students, I stepped through a Trajectory case study featuring Reading Health System. We just rebranded and executed the system-wide healthcare marketing relaunch for this PA-based organization, so the timing was perfect. Emory also has a significant healthcare campus, so all students could easily relate to the Reading Health System case study.

Here are my key takeaways from this experience:

• I think I learned just as much from the students as they did from me, based on the great interaction and large number, and high level, of questions. These kids are really smart!

• Kudos to professor Ashish Sood, as these students crave real-world experiences, and he’s constantly satisfying their appetites by bringing in guest lecturers.

• Students are highly interested in the more recent realities, and challenges, of managing organizational transparency, integrating social media into brand-building and managing change based on what even they realize is a fluid and not necessarily favorable business environment.

• There’s a wonderful eagerness to challenge traditional concepts, e.g. the more we limit our view to, and attempt to compete with, traditional competitors, the more we can actually end up sounding and acting the same; consumers don’t care at all about a client’s business definition, but rather about how a brand can fit into their world.

• It’s very apparent that our future is in good hands, indicative of the energy and intelligence of these next-generation branding, marketing and finance professionals.

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Can one mustache on a dare lead to raising $126 million in 14 countries for prostate cancer research? Yes it can.

Watch Adam Garone’s inspiring video: Healthier men, one moustache at a time.

Adam is co-founder of Movember, an initiative to raise awareness for men’s health, by having men grow out their mustaches every November. It’s a great testament to the power of passion and persistence, as Movember has now grown to become a worldwide healthcare marketing movement.

Proof that game-changing ideas are only limited by our imagination!

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It’s an exciting, fulfilling and proud day here at Trajectory, and for one of our clients – as The Reading Hospital is now Reading Health System.

We rebranded and relaunched them today, after more than a year’s worth of branding and marketing discussion, debate, planning and creating.

By unveiling a new system name, logo and tagline, a simplified brand hierarchy and naming structure, and a more compelling set of promises and market positioning that better reflect the organization’s collective vision, they’re building on their strengths to more effectively advance in the changing world of healthcare.

The new tagline – Advancing Health. Transforming Lives. – conveys the essence of the Reading Health System brand. It’s genuine to their desire to advance the health of their communities beyond “sick” care, and conveys their desire to transform lives by being a source of energy, optimism, knowledge and support.

Congratulations to our client, Reading Health System – and to its wonderful physicians, nurses and staff. Not only for the previous 144 years of service to your communities and your region, but for the many years of Advancing Health and Transforming Lives to come.

You can see our internal brand vision video, along with some of the new external marketing campaign television, on our YouTube channel.

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It’s day seven and our neighborhood is still without power. And frankly, I don’t expect the situation to change anytime soon, as there’s another storm headed our way on Wednesday. Layer the gas shortages on top of the situation, and it’s been a tense week.

In these situations, I think we look for things that, though maybe just for a fleeting moment, put a smile on our face. In this case, at least for me, they are little acts of “marketing that matters.” Marketing whose focus is beyond selling more products and generating more profits, to making a real difference in people’s lives. Marketing that results in growing affinity towards that brand, and people then sharing that affection with others. Marketing that will actually, in the long run, sell more products and generate more profits.

Over the course of the past week, here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

– one of the local health clubs (the local “Y”), letting people work out for free and take a hot shower until their power is back on
– the local coffee shop handing out free mini-donuts
– the local chain grocer letting shoppers have a free cup of coffee
– the local gas station that let me exceed my $60 dollar limit by $1.75 so I could fill my gas container

In the big scheme of things, they’re all little acts of marketing kindness. But they’ll all pay big long-term rewards.

Do you have any examples from this past week that you can share?

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I’m happy to share this recent presentation: 7 traits of high energy brands. You can view it here on Slideshare.

In a world where…

• technology leaves nothing to the imagination
• consumers are connected conversationalists
• organizations can no longer hide behind the curtain
• and brands are expected to do more…

A new playbook is in order. It includes thinking more deeply about the place your brand can own in people’s lives and what it must deliver to get there.

The benefit is a brand that uniquely plants itself in the hearts and minds of employees, prospects and customers; which allows your organization to use your brand to create new value and drive new growth.

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So you don’t have the marketing budget to compete with the top dogs in your category. Nor do you have the breadth of “marketing” talent. What to do?

Re-think the traditional view that marketing is concentrated in the “marketing” department, and that only those with a “marketing” title do marketing.

What if, instead, everyone in the organization were in the marketing department? Which they are. Because marketing really IS boundary-less.

Consider that everyone’s communicating all day long…

• when they answer the phone and talk to a customer, partner, vendor, prospective one of those
• when they send an email and communicate with a customer, partner, vendor, prospective one of those
• when they leave their (your company’s) voice-mail message
• when they write that blog post or send that tweet
• when they’re at the bar after work and someone asks them what they do for a living
• when they’re attending an industry event or a lunch with fellow local chamber members
• when the customer receives your invoice or calls the customer service hotline
• when the customer walks into your office, takes in the environment and is greeted by your receptionist (or whoever is sitting in that first impression seat)

You get the point. We’re all marketers. And marketing is the sum total of all that emanates from the inside out.

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More than a year’s worth of work is about to come to fruition.

We’ll very shortly be relaunching, and revealing the true nature of, one of our clients’ organizations.

It’s an exciting and exhausting time. With all board, leadership and core team discussions and debates about research, strategy and design now concluded, it’s crunch time. Producing internal campaign components, coordinating many moving parts and readying for organization-wide internal launch events. Ensuring we’re doing all we can to unite the organization around common purpose and enabling all colleagues to work together to drive brand and business from the inside out. At the same time, readying our external launch campaign – from tv, to web, social media and mobile components.

We always do our own lessons learned following a client assignment. Here are five starters which you might benefit from:

1. Profile the key players. It’s important to understand the different perspectives and potential biases of all the decision-makers and influencers who can impact the fate of your initiative. Profile these players early on in the process. Understanding their rules of the road will save you time and effort later on.

2. Buy-In Early & Often. There are the obvious check points like research findings and implications, and major strategy and design recommendations. But every organization and every management team has its own way of (formally and informally) moving major initiatives forward. And sometimes, one-on-ones and small group meetings in the cafeteria can prove to be just as important to maintaining momentum.

3. We and Me. “We” refers to the organization. The promise for everyone to believe in and be stimulated by. “Me” refers to what I (as an employee) am going to be tasked with given the new state of things. “We” is exciting and filled with future promise. “Me” is more of a question mark, as it’s the personal drive which must be tapped if the organization’s to achieve its goals. It’s critical that people understand the actions, attitudes, changes and tools that turn ideas into a working style and plan for them. In effect, this is an updated job description, and you need to know what’s expected of you, and be equipped with the knowledge and tools that you need to be successful. Both need to be in alignment for real change to happen.

4. It’s a journey. As Thomas Kleinhanzi, President and CEO, Frederick Regional Health System recently wrote about the rebranding of his organization – 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. Attacking every facet of an organization takes time. Realistically, between 9-12 months for the mindset and practices that make the organization competitive around its new ideas to eventually become part of the way people naturally think and work.

5. Patience. Think about what it takes to truly re-calibrate every facet of an organization. One filled with thousands of people. It’s no easy task. So drive hard, but cut your client some slack. Not everything is going to be in the bag on day one. Like everything else, it’s a process. A good rule of thumb that will make it easier for you to get through your day (told to me by a wonderful consultant I know) is “their doing the best they can.”

Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?

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Putting purpose beyond products and profits actually enhances the bottom line.

That’s the collective view of the heads of marketing for three of the country’s best known brands. The Ad Age interview – How Purpose Affects The Bottom Line – included the global
chief marketing officer at Gap, VP-corporate marketing at IBM and VP-global ad strategy and creative excellence at Coca-Cola.

The executives answered these three questions:
1. What is your brand’s purpose in a sound bite?
2. Will purpose continue to gain steam or is it just a fad?
3. What impact can purpose have on the bottom line and your place among competitors?

Upshot of the interviews is that at the heart of every great organization is a purpose that drives through every facet of the organization and guides its internal teams. As a result, their collective point-of-view is that purpose-driven branding and marketing is going to get more and more important. And that purpose, so to speak, definitely sells.

Their opinions mirror that of Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer at P&G, who wrote the book “Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profits at The World’s Greatest Companies.” It showed that the world’s 50 best businesses, based on a 10-year growth study he conducted with Millward Brown Optimor—demonstrate a direct correlation between brand purpose and financial performance.

Takeaway for healthcare marketers should be to think beyond the typical, undifferentiated “antes” and consider what drives you, what you stand for and why they should care. And once you arrive at the answer, to use that “core energizing idea” as a filter for all of your actions and communications both internally and externally.

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Marketers from healthcare, to wellness, personal care and beauty and beyond are facing a new world order. Your customer’s world. It’s a world where technology leaves nothing to the imagination. Where consumers are connected, conversationalists and content creators. Where your organizations can no longer hide behind the curtain. And where your brands are expected to do more. To be more purposeful, open, experiential, enabling and personal.

But amidst this change, one thing has not. The need to nurture high energy brands that uniquely plant themselves in the minds of your employees, prospects and customers; and which allow for your organizations to create new value and ignite new growth.

Here are the traits of those high energy brands from a recent presentation: 7 Traits of High Energy Brands, supported with examples across a wide range of industries. It’s based on our hands-on experience helping a range of clients to see and think in new ways, perform better and ignite new growth. I hope you can benefit from this learning and integrate some of these ideas into your own efforts.

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