Jan
20

Notice to healthcare organizations (who tend to lag in incorporating social tools into their networked practices) – “Companies using the Web intensively gain greater market share and higher margins.”

This is a major finding from new McKinsey research, the results of which can be found here in McKinsey Quarterly. It shows that a new class of company is emerging – one that uses collaborative Web 2.0 technologies intensively to connect the internal efforts of employees and to extend the organization’s reach to customers, partners, and suppliers.

Results from their analysis (among 3,249 executives across regions, industries and functional areas) show that the Web 2.0 use of these companies is significantly improving their reported performance.

In fact, the data show that fully networked enterprises are not only more likely to be market leaders or to be gaining market share but also use management practices that lead to margins higher than those of companies using the Web in more limited ways.

The chart below shows that among respondents at companies using Web 2.0, a large majority report that they are receiving measurable business benefits. Nearly nine out of ten report at least one – ranging from more effective marketing to faster access to knowledge.

Once again, you can view the complete summary findings here.

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Dec
08

How can your customers love you if you don’t love them?  Hint: Experience matters.

I went for my annual physical the other day (everything’s good), followed by a stop at Trader Joe’s on the way home.

Walking into the doctor’s office, I was acknowledged (can’t really say greeted) by someone who barely looked up from her computer screen. She then asked in rapid fire succession my name, if my insurance had changed and if I filled out my pre-exam paperwork. She then instructed me to have a seat (didn’t say please) in the waiting room.

Twenty minutes later, I was shown into the examining room, asked to put on my gown (don’t forget to tie from the back), and told a nurse would be with me shortly to take some information prior to my exam. Because it’s cold (maybe 60 degrees) and the magazines are out-of-date, I actually weigh myself and set the height bar (to keep moving).

Flash forward about an hour. I walk into Trader Joe’s and am greeted by an employee who says “how are you, thanks for shopping at Trader Joe’s.” He then offers me a cookie (funny timing, right after my physical). With cookie in hand, I grab a sample cup of coffee. After walking around for a couple minutes, all five senses fully engaged, I ask an employee where a certain item is in the store. Instead of telling me where it is, he walks me over. You get the idea.

It’s amazing that if Trader Joe’s, roughly an $8 billion company with 340+ stores can treat me like a neighbor — that the physician practice that I’ve been going to for years, can’t do the same.

My advice to healthcare providers, start thinking and acting like Trader Joe’s. Because they realize that customer service and customer support are marketing. And they love their customers.



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Nov
12

You can’t excel across all service lines. You certainly can’t support them all. But despite this (forgetting all the politics and compromising), internal teams keep churning out new branded services.

Here are eight questions that will start your organization on its way to building a stronger portfolio that builds maximum relationship value for your audiences and maximum financial value for your organization:

1. Strategic Fit. Does the portfolio help achieve and support your longer-term strategic priorities?
2. Support Priority Businesses. Does it support the businesses that contribute to driving volume and reputation?
3. Brand Value. Does the portfolio reinforce and help build brand equity?
4. Brand Synergy. Is there a clear relationship between the brands?
5. Customer Value. Does the portfolio meet the needs of your customers?
6. Customer Opportunity. Do your brands invite the customer relationships you want?
7. Other Stakeholders. Does the portfolio meet their needs; and not sacrifice business and brand priorities?
8. The Organization. Do the brands work together to build value back to the organization?

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Nov
03

SAFE IN COMMON is an online global community of healthcare workers, educators, patients, community leaders, industry and advocacy groups who’ve joined together to enhance and save lives by raising awareness about needlestick injuries, providing support to those affected and bringing about the safest and simplest injection practices to people around the world.

In tandem with our client Unilife, we officially launched SAFE IN COMMON today.

It’s an important initiative, as 1.3 million people die annually from unsafe injection practices, and another 600,000 suffer needlestick injuries. By joining SAFE IN COMMON, you can support its mission by contributing to blogs, participating in surveys, sharing needlestick stories, signing the Manifesto, and promoting injection safety. You will also receive e-news updates, and have unlimited access to its online resource library.

If you’re involved in healthcare — or if you know someone who has ever suffered a needlestick injury — visit SAFE IN COMMON. Consider joining the community. Share it with others. And help us save lives.

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Oct
28

I just facilitated a brand workshop with different cross-functional teams of a healthcare system. It was a chance to get them excited about, and aligned around, an upcoming organization-wide initiative.

At the end of the session, we circled back to a Top 10 Brand Fitness checklist – which I thought I’d share here. FYI, we handed out this checklist on the back of a “faux” new business card. At the end of each day over the next few weeks, we asked participants to refer back to the checklist – to keep them thinking about brand and actively engaged in their organization’s upcoming initiative. Here’s the list:

1. Driving Ambition.  Is your organization clear on what it wants its brand to become; and what it ultimately hopes to accomplish for communities and patients?

2. Strategy & Alignment. Does your brand influence the total operation of your organization to ensure consistent brand behavior in your market and consistent brand experiences for communities and patients? Does the brand align with business strategy, as well as organizational structure, systems and cultural style?

3. Brand Positioning
. Does your organization clearly and simply state how it wants to be perceived among communities and patients in a way that stands out from the crowd, that goes beyond healthcare and service lines to what really matters to people?

4. Customer Reflection. Does the brand have personal relevance to your target customers? Does it build an image and reputation, drive preference and behavior. Is anyone in the organization listening/watching for cues to deliver more value for customers as they interact with you?

5. Loyalty Beyond Satisfaction. Many people wrongly assume they’re essentially the same thing. But satisfaction relates to the results of a process, while loyalty is a much longer-term proposition relating to a relationship. In an increasingly competitive marketplace where consumers have more choices, recommendations from family and friends carry a lot of weight and loyalists have a much bigger voice than those who are merely satisfied.

6. Brand Delivery. Is your brand positioning delivered through every action and form of communication that the organization has at its disposal; does every aspect of the corporate or product “experience”deliver the brand in tangible and intangible ways?

7. Cut-Through Noise. Does your healthcare brand cut-through the noise of your market and competitors, to engage and retain your best customers?

8. Co-Creation. Do you open up your healthcare brand to community and patient participation, to allow customers and your organization to continue to thrive?

9. Leadership Commitment.
Do senior leadership actions reflect your brand promises and positioning?

10. Internal Commitment & Demonstration. Is internal brand-building on the organization’s agenda; across all facilities and service lines? Are there programs in place to help you actively deliver on your brand, or is brand building reduced to a manual?

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Jun
19


We’ve had a number of similar conversations with healthcare marketers that go something like this: We feel like we have far too many brands in our portfolio. More than we can probably support. Every time someone  introduces a new service, it becomes another “brand” with another logo.

The truth is, not all programs and services are created equal. Not all are “brand/logo worthy.” Particularly in this economic environment, energy and resources must be focused on supporting those health services that best align with vision and business strategy, build strategic and financial value back to the organization, and meet customer/stakeholder current and future needs.

Here are seven portfolio “P”s that you can begin to use to evaluate and strengthen your healthcare portfolio:

Purpose. Do each of your brands reflect your vision, business goals and strategies?
Perspective. What story is the portfolio telling from a customer perspective?
Place. Do each of the brands in the portfolio have a clearly defined role; are relationships clear; is there sufficient separation between them?
Potential. How do your different brands contribute to building strategic advantage, and to current and future growth and profitability?
Performance. Do you sufficiently cover the market given the needs of your priority audiences?
Potency. Does market attractiveness (size and potential growth) merit investment?
Pink Slips. For those brands that don’t meet this criteria, what is our plan for phasing them out?

Have I missed any “P”s?

 
Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a branding + marketing company creating new brand energy by uniting organizations, creating new value and igniting new growth.

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May
05

We had a meeting with a prospective client who wants to explore, and more sharply define, their brand idea. Because they’re not quite sure if the organization’s message is really one that emanates from a well-conceived brand strategy.

So it occurs to me – is your brand reflected in everything your healthcare organization says and does? Surrounding your health system, academic medical center, specialty hospital, center of excellence…is there a big idea that defines you, distinguishes you, drives you, attracts and engages your audiences, compels them to promote it to others and is delivered through your customer experience?

Or are you falling into the trap of only creating an image wrapper (a term I’m borrowing from BrandGym’s David Taylor)? Where the brand is wrapped in communication, but delivery of the brand promise (if there is one), is no where to be found. A brand-led business, in contrast, drives off a strong brand idea, is powerfully delivered, and then reinforced through communication.

Apple’s vision can be seen and experienced in everything they do. Same holds true for Whole Foods, Harley-Davidson, Southwest Airlines, to name just a few. While many companies view “brand” as the domain of marketing (or more narrowly associate it with “image”), these organizations understand that business strategy and the brand are indistinguishable – where brand is conveyed by everything people see, hear, touch, taste or smell about your business.

So, is your healthcare organization a BRAND-LED business – where branding is not a beauty contest, but a strategy to drive volume and growth, build loyalty, attract donors, retain talent – in fact, drives your whole business.

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Mar
16

PatientsLikeMe is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of patients diagnosed with life-changing diseases. It was co-founded by Ben and Jamie Heywood after their brother Stephen (who has since passed away) was diagnosed with ALS. And make a difference they have, as they were recently recognized by Fast Company as #2 on the list of the top ten most innovative healthcare companies.

They state that their goal is to enable people to share information that can improve the lives of patients diagnosed with life-changing diseases. To make this happen, we’ve created a platform for collecting and sharing real world, outcome-based patient data and are establishing data-sharing partnerships with doctors, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, research organizations, and non-profits. Their collective data has shown enormous power to comfort, inspire, explain, predict and empower.

PatientsLikeMe is a wonderful role model for how modern brands will succeed by helping customers (in this case, patients) achieve more than they ever could on their own. Here are some reasons why:

1. Committing versus campaigning. Going forward, brands will be defined not by what they say to people, but by what they say and do with people (in this case, 45,000 patients).

2. Value through content. We go to the web because there’s something we need to do; a problem we need to solve. So we’re looking for information, insights and advice that we can use.  In this case, it’s content that’s literally saving and enhancing lives.

3. Collaboration. PatientsLikeMe brings together company, customers (patients) and partners (doctors, pharma, medical device companies) collaborating together to help each grow stronger.

4.  Becoming integral to people’s lives. PatientsLikeMe members don’t just share their experiences and stories; they turn their symptoms and treatments into hard data. By telling and sharing so much, members are creating a rich database of disease treatment and patient experience.

5. Transparency. While many companies, and healthcare websites, have a Privacy Policy, PatientsLikeMe has an Openness Policy. They believe that data belongs to you the patient to share with other patients, caregivers, physicians, researchers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and anyone else that can help make patients’ lives better.

6. Understanding How Your Audiences Integrate Technology Into Their Lives. PatientsLikeMe patients are heavily involved in what Forrester Research refers to as the groundswell. So this site is the perfect medium for them to contribute, comment, write, upload and publish.

7. Creating brand advocates. People who feel a sense of ownership in the brand, and are motivated to help it succeed will take an active role helping friends or family members make  a decision about a product. In this case, the motivation is literally a matter of life and death.

8. The product is the marketing. And PatientsLikeMe has created a better product.


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Jan
24


Healthcare brands that are fueled by a powerful core idea, and managed with a delicate balance of imagination and precision, have the ability to transform both organizations and their audiences.

Here are six tips for driving brand-led transformation:

1. Step outside of your box. Consider what you might be, and not what you are. Perpetuate the status quo and you’ll never see beyond what you already know. Question deeply held assumptions, consider the business from a new angle, and generate innovative ideas and ways to change consumer behavior. Consider Humana, a health insurance company that’s breaking the mold through their Crumpleitup innovation initiative designed to come up with creative ways to help people be healthy while having fun.

2. Get different. Rewrite the rules of the game. Zig when others zag. Follow the same path as others, and you’re limited to the same gains (or losses) as others. Consider Hello Health, a new healthcare organization that’s reframing the relationship between patient and physician.

3. Drive from a powerful idea. Every great business is built on a great brand. And every great brand is built on a great idea. An idea that’s simple, unique and compelling. An idea that can sustain the business for years down the road. Unilife is a rapidly growing medical device company, passionate in its quest to help its pharma and healthcare partners enhance and save lives through the reduction of needle stick injuries.

4. Get everyone on board. Transformation can only happen from the inside out. Paint a compelling picture of the future. Establish a sense of urgency. Let everyone participate in the journey. Ground change in your culture.

5. Execute meticulously. Sweat the details. Great brands get that way based on brilliant execution. Ensure your brand shines through across all its touchpoints – from products, to behaviors, communications and environments.

6. Be an open book. Open up your brand to participation. Let people contribute their own stories. Let them share their stories with others through you. Create a more powerful story together. After all, there’s always a new chapter in the works. Consider the support and participation through GSK’s Alli Drug community www.myalli.com.

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Nov
19

Picture 7
People really don’t care about your products and services. This might be tough to accept, but it’s true.

What people do care a lot about, however, is how you make them feel about their decisions. How you help them improve their lives. How you help them achieve what they can’t on their own. And for healthcare marketers, these benefits translate into pretty important outcomes, from preserving life, to being able to live healthier and happier lives.

This is the incredible connecting power of your brand. By being about them, but having a strong vision about your place (what it is and what it can be) in their lives. This is the stuff that cements relationships, builds advocates, drives loyalty, gets people talking about you, creates communities and attracts others to you. This is the enormous power of your brand to help you achieve what your business alone can not.

So why do we keep talking about us? How caring we are. How celebrated we are. How trustworthy we are. How smart we are. How about turning the dial 180 degrees to the care they want. The recognition they deserve. The trust they desire. How smart they are. And how about paying this off with actions versus words (but more about this tomorrow).

Be more about your customers, and they’ll be all about you.

Any comments to share?

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