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Thought I’d recap the highlights (at least mine) from the 10/26-27 e-Patient Connections 2009 Conference.

While all speakers provided new insights and perspectives, I’m summarizing (paraphrasing) the highlights from the speakers and presentations that particularly resonated with me:

Jason Hwang, MD (Innosight Institute, co-author Innovators Prescription); The Innovators Prescription
- we suffer from malpractice, but a different type, i.e. “business model”
- must understand difference between sustaining innovation (performance improvements, historical value dimensions) and disruptive innovation (that lets companies appeal to new rings of customers)
- enabled by technology, we have an opportunity to disrupt/move healthcare out to non-experts to let them do things themselves, e.g. facilitated user networks (like Facebook), a currently underutilized model to serve chronic care patients

Thomas Goetz, Executive Editor, Wired Magazine; Decision Tree: Smarter Patients, Better Choices
- proposes a new strategy for thinking about health, applying cutting-edge technology and sound science to put us at the center of the equation
- today, unfortunately, most healthcare information comes to us in cascades of do’s and dont’s

Dr. Jay Berhnardt, CDC; Social Media & The H1N1 Flu Pandemic

- H1N1 as example of why CDC’s engaged in social media as part of their strategy
- Customer Centered Communication Strategy: how, when, where people want and need to inform about health and safe decisions, i.e.
• information that is accessible and relevant
• mix of high repetition with deep engagement
• combination of high-tech and high-touch
• traditional/vertical media (though harder to have impact given lack of trust) combined with social media (horizontal and spreadable; higher level of trust)

- some interesting stats across CDC social media channels:
• approaching almost 500 million web site page views since H1N1 outbreak
• 5.07 million H1N1 flu-related emails sent, once consumers opt-in
• 19 videos posted on Youtube; 2.33 million views since 4/22
• 25, 322 Facebook fans since CDC page launched 5/1; value is in comments from people
• 917,579 views of CDC H1N1-related podcasts since 4/22
• 928, 412 followers on 3 CDC Twitter profiles
• CDC Health-e-cards (15,433 since 4/22)
• just launched mobile-based text messaging (1,155 opt-in subscribers since 9/14); subscribers receive about 3 messages/week

Susannah Fox, Pew Internet & American Life Project; The Social Life of Health Information
- people just diagnosed are looking for just-in-time “someone like me”
- patient networks can be powerful, early warning system
– marketers should think of e-patients as colleagues, not as people being marketing to (if you’re ready to listen to them)

Mark Bard, Manhattan Research; The Rapid Growth of Health Consumerism
- pharma info seekers have increased from 45 million in ’04 to 100 million in ’09
- majority of e-health consumers now use the internet to confirm/learn after seeing doctor
- health 2.0 can’t happen on web 1.0 websites; need to be able to evaluate, exchange, connect, create community, participate
- mobility is huge trend, certainly on physician side
- key questions to consider: how balance content with community; is it more about initiating a conversation, or a lecture
- it’s not a community unless you’re having a conversation; much of pharma is still one-way

Lee Aase, Mayo Clinic Manager of Syndication and Social Media; Marketing The Mayo Clinic
- consider social media “power tools” for doing what we were already doing as organization

- found that patients are “honored” if you ask them to share their stories
- great example of exponentially growing views of YouTube video by using multiple channels (Mayo Clinic Atrium Piano video)
- one of the keys to success is all about repurposing content

Robert Halper, J&J Director Video Communication; J&J on YouTube
- company is on YouTube because:
• reputation: caring, socially responsible, trusted source for health care information
• engagement: comments, listening, responding
• community: linking to other sites, including non-branded operating companies; subscribing to other related channels, videos embedded in external sites
- not easy getting started: cultural (control of message), legal & regulatory (environment, adverse events, medical advice, fair balance, comment mediation), business (ROI, resources, staff, commitment)
- more risk not being part of the conversation; funny when CEO’s talk about not putting brand out on social media, when they’re already out there

Dave DeBronkart, e-Patient Dave; Cofounder Society for Participatory Medicine; Special Presentation
- very moving talk about his “free replay” after beating his cancer
- his treatment [cure] options were based, in part, on his incredible outreach, research, open sharing of his health records
- now evangelist for “participatory medicine”; first edition of Journal of Participatory Medicine (his new publication) forthcoming
- accessed tremendous amount of information on acor.org (which didn’t exist anywhere else)
- key message is authenticity; don’t pretend, impersonate; be real, contribute value
- best information is a smart patient community; and patients love to give back

Brian O’Donnell, Klick Pharma, Top 1o Trends
10.  social media is becoming more mainstream (about the power of one, not so much followers)
9. pervasive use of technology in solving marketing challenges (can be a multiplier)
8. From wait and see to try and learn (try pilot programs)
7. patients and HCP’s online usage is increasing (balance of marketing mix)
6. data and intelligence becoming underpinning of marketing programs (make data planning part of your kickoff)
5. shift to multidisciplinary solution teams (make effort to reach out early)
4. branded mobile apps are becoming next CRM (think beyond the keyboard)
3. technology can make reps more powerful (integration is key)
2. value add beyond the pill (solutions, not just products; broadly supporting patients)
1. regulatory bodies embracing 21st century, e.g. FDA

Kerri Sparling, sixuntilme.com author, Patient Opinion Leaders
- diabetes has been part of her life since age 6; but wouldn’t exactly call it her buddy

- she started sixuntilme in May, 2005; felt like she was only diabetes patient on the planet
- now more than 350 sites dedicated to diabetes lifestyle and management
POL’s (patient opinion leaders) don’t blog because they have to, but because it helps us heal
- finding emotional support online is everything
- don’t consider patients a “target market”, but a consumer base being marketed to
- until there’s a cure, there will be a blog

Tricia Geoghegan, Johnson & Johnson/Ortho-McNeil-Janssen; Facebook ADHD Allies
- what social media isn’t: the shiny new object
- what it is: consumer democracy, sharing/not selling, creating foundation for new kinds of relationships, reinforcing commitment to disease awareness
- people trust other people, e.g. Mom-bassadors™
- metrics will answer questions, the best ones will compel more questions
– users will tell you what’s relevant
- what’s unmet need for patients, what’s business case and risk/benefit analysis, how define ROI

Lisa Tate (CEO Womenheart) and Robert Schumm (Marketing Director Bayer Healthcare); Facebook Strong@Heart
- cardiovascular disease is #1 cause of death for women
- was each organization’s first foray into social media
- why social: target was online, patients wanting to speak about/share their own experiences
– c
ombination of traditional (eyeballs) and online (conversations) drove success (key theme reinforced by other speakers)

Dennis Urbaniak, VP Innovation & New Customer Channels Sanofi-Aventis; From Patients To People: What it Takes for  True Shift to a Customer-Centric Approach
– must challenge current mindset within organization; new ideas built on top of old models are doomed to failure
– stop thinking patient and start thinking people; most have their own values, belief systems, etc.; must understand their perspectives
- preference and choice doesn’t fit with one-way approach (typical pharma model; e.g. Model T)
– challenge mindset of patient vs. person
- how to move ahead: change approach
- choice (need to get perfectly comfortable with content, dialogue, listening opportunities)
- what’s the job: what are the hiring criteria and who are the candidates (framework for presenting sustaining and disruptive innovations); start to identify gaps and then pinpoint opportunities; actionable insights from customer pov (vs. brand and product pov)
need to get extremely comfortable living in glass house if you’re change agent inside company
- create the example (very powerful means to drive real change): step back and honestly answer each point:
• project description (elevator speech; not powerpoint deck)
• project objective (what’s the job to be done)
• project metrics (must be prospective; here’s how assess progress, learn and adjust)
• project status (build in points of adjustment as you go)
- sets dynamic that rewards failure; everyone was aligned
- Net:
• change the mindset, change the approach, create the example

Joe Shields, Pfizer: New Ideas For Patient Adherence
– e=empowerment
- process for developing programs:
• what’s your pov?
- Patient (me), Health care provider, Payer, Pharma
• what’s your process?
1. Gain insights (strategic advantage from this work; doc/patient interaction; motivations/barriers)
2. Set objectives
3. Audit current stuff
4. Align current stuff with 1 & 2
5. Identify gaps
6. Fill gaps
7. Measure programs
8. Improve and keep testing
- what does good look like? from different perspectives, as everyone has different agenda/incentives
- make up of strong adherence program:
1. Insightful (patient and doc; does it really solve a problem)
2. Systematic (things that talk to everyone else, things accountable to whole system)
3. Multi-channel
4. Scalable (how easy is it to get work done, get out to most people, return on hassle – is it worth it if you can’t scale it)
5. Social (with regard to adherence, it’s a team sport; some accountability beyond patient itself; service of better patient outcomes)

Marc Monseau, Director, Corporate Media Relations J&J: Connecting J&J To Twittersphere To Tweet or Not To Tweet
How this came together; what he/J&J hoped to achieve, how it fits together
- Steps:
• Create business case
• Connect with other initiatives
• Establish a personality
• Set guides
• Gain legal/regulatory support
– What kind of Twitter account do you want to be?
• customer service
• expert source
• news gatherer
• suggestion box
• special offers
- establish a personality
- have to be yourself
- not just recitation of PR’s
– Multiple platforms (tie Twitter back to all else company is doing); so nothing is one-off
- setting controls:
• took social media biz plan to lawyers/regulatory  (one of the do’s/don’t’s)
• have to work with attorney’s to gain understanding
• how to manage adverse events/offlabel uses?
- Concept of “content guardrails” (gave credit to his associate for this concept):
• within predefined scope: self-management
• outside predefined scope: legal, regulatory, management
• both = publication for tweets

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As part of our “Insider Insights” series, I feature the personal perspective of a health brand CEO, senior marketer, digital or social media expert. I’m pleased to have Nancy Cawley Jean as this month’s participant. Nancy is a senior media relations officer for Lifespan, a health system in Rhode Island, splitting her time between social media for Lifespan and its affiliate hospitals.

Each guest addresses the same four questions, so that we build a wealth of perspectives and knowledge around these four issues. Here’s what Nancy has to say about the future of health brands and social media:

1. The organizations and brands that will thrive in the future are those that

realize that consumers now have a voice and expect to be heard. Brands must be aware of the conversations taking place all around them that could damage their brand. Hospitals and the healthcare industry are no exceptions.

With today’s technology, communication has changed rapidly, and not only do consumers expect to be heard, they also expect a response. Social media is a way to do that – it is a way to build brand awareness, expand customer service, provide vital public service information and engage on a personal level with people not only in our own community but around the globe. Unless brands are willing to recognize the power of social media, they will be left behind.

2. Specific to social media, how has it impacted the way your organization conducts business?

While healthcare is a business, it is unique in the service it delivers, and we are governed by strict rules surrounding the protection of patient information. While it has not changed the way we do “business” it does offer additional areas of concern for potential violations of HIPAA policies, and that is something hospitals in particular must be cognizant of when entering the world of social media.

In our business, the tools we are offered through social media do not offer new ways of conducting business, but they allow us to expand our efforts in the realm of marketing, customer relations and communication. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube now provide new avenues to engage with our community, and hear back from them. It is another avenue through which we can receive feedback as well. As a result of social media, we can listen more to consumers, and this certainly creates the potential for an impact upon policies and procedures that will enhance the patient experience based on suggestions we hear.

3. What are the key challenges your organization is grappling with as it considers participation?

The sensitivities surrounding protected health information of our patients is always a top priority and a great concern. Our risk management and legal departments have expressed concerns over liabilities that exist in social media. As with any other new procedure, service or technology, communication to staff is vital to ensure that expectations are clear and that they are aware that even in this world of social media, HIPAA regulations and patient privacy must remain top of mind. In other words, if an employee has their own blog or is commenting on a Facebook fan page, there are certain things that are still off limits, even if it is on their own time.

4. What are your top lessons learned for implementing a social media strategy?

Sometimes the best way to learn is to jump right in, but in social media, the best approach is to start by listening – listen to what people are saying about you and your brand, listen to what other brands are saying and doing, and look to those brands in the social media world who have emerged as “leaders” – those who have figured out this new world and have been able to truly experience an impact on their reputation and improve customer relations through this medium.

Management may be hesitant to implement a social media strategy because of what is viewed as the “loss of control” but the fact is that they have already lost control given the plethora of communication vehicles available to the consumer today. Important messages to senior management must focus on acceptance that there is no longer any “control” and social media is a way to be involved in the conversations surrounding the brand.

Even in a large organization, getting the right people around the table will go a long way in developing a social media strategy. By having discussions and getting buy-in from folks like legal, human resources, risk management, and medical directors, you will have the support you need to develop appropriate policies and guidelines to help you move through the ever-changing world of social media while maintaining the focus on your overall company mission.

Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share?

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Health brands are ideally suited to social media.

Across this broad category (from disease management; health care systems and hospitals; home health services and products; medical devices and equipment; nutritional and wellness products; pharma and OTC) there’s the common denominator of people really needing and wanting what these tools allow health brand marketers to provide:

- informative, even life-changing content
- talking back and forth, sharing stories and even emotionally supporting people who share common interests, ailments or illnesses
- learning from friends and providers (locally and from around the world)
- saving precious time and expense

Ultimately, social media allows you to help create healthier communities. Which leads to healthier co-creators. Which leads to a win-win for your customers, your company and society at-large.

For those brands interested in maintaining their relevancy and their value to their customers (meaning everyone), social media must be integrated into your mix. The extent of your social efforts is based on many organizational factors. But at a minimum, you need to get in the game.

Here are seven big opportunities (reasons why) for health brands to use social media:

1. Demonstrate that you practice what you preach. Social media allows you to demonstrate that you live up to the promises you make to audiences. As the traction around “engagement” continues to grow, actions will continue to speak much louder than words.

2. What benefits your audiences benefits your brand. The future of marketing is about doing things for and with audiences – on their terms. There’s simply too much opportunity for conversations, comments and collaboration for traditional one-way, tell and sell communications to work the way they did years ago.

3. Build loyalty through your brand. This is not the same as trying to build loyalty to your brand. Key is to help people achieve more than they can on their own. Helping them do this is how you gain their attention, loyalty and trust (as well as forgiveness if you ever find yourself needing it).

4. Help people live longer. Research has shown that greater social engagement helps people live longer, healthier lives. Pretty important benefit for a brand to be able to contribute to.

5. Your participation invitation is already extended. Whether you sent a formal invitation or not, participants are already gathering around the conversation (and your company).

6. Listen for rich category and brand insights. Social makes it easy to find out what people really want and need – from the category and from your brand. Which makes it easier to listen for ways to make your offering better. Covet the opportunity to collect and act on this information.

7. It’s all about establishing and earning trust. Which is one of the most important and sustainable advantages a company can build in this environment. The companies who understand this, and pay it off with the right “social” etiquette (doing for others), will see the most benefit.

Are there other reasons that should be added to this list? Please contribute your ideas.

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This is the first of many “Insider Insights” posts. Once a month, I’ll be featuring the personal perspective of a health brand CEO, senior marketer, digital or social media expert. I’m pleased to have Ed Bennett as our first participant. Ed is Director, Web Strategy at University of Maryland Medical System.

Each of these guests will address the same four questions, so that we’ll build a wealth of perspectives and knowledge around these four issues. Here’s what Ed has to say about the future of health brands and social media:

1. The organizations and brands that will thrive in the future are those that
quickly adapt to new customer expectations. An entire generation is comfortable with Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Their expectation is to have direct, honest and rapid interactions with the brands they use. PR speak, and legalese will marginalize organizations, but authentic conversations will build customer loyalty and positive Word of Mouth.

2. Specific to social media, how has it impacted the way your organization conducts business? Healthcare, and hospitals in particular are very conservative. So far, most of these tools are seen as an extension of current practices, not as a new way to do business. We are seeing these services used to post news and events information, educational resources, and to re-purpose content like video. There is also some brand monitoring and service recovery going on, but it is not yet integrated into the basic business process.

3. What are the key challenges your organization is grappling with as it considers participation?

There are two major challenges:

A. Fear of HIPAA hold many healthcare organizations back. With no clear guidelines on what is allowed, hospitals in general are waiting on the sidelines. Out of the 5,000 US hospitals, only 360 are doing anything.

B. The other challenge is that IT departments in many hospitals block social media sites. Many times, work on them has to be done from home in the evening and weekends.

4. What are your top lessons learned for implementing a social media strategy?

You should start small, and only begin what you can maintain. Look to your internal experts, the people who use these tools in their personal life. They can see the benefits, and can be a great resource for your organization.

Consult with your legal team & create policies. There are two areas that need to be addressed: External comments / participation and Employee guidelines.

Be able to respond quickly – this is no place for a four-day multi-person review process.

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How do we align the customer experience with social media?

This was the main topic of discussion in our client meeting the other day. With so much emphasis being placed on integrating social media into the marketing mix, this was a conversation about its impact on the total customer experience.

Given this perspective, many conversations about social media start too far downstream. First, even those that begin with objectives, audiences and strategies often bypass the fact that effective brand management is an organization-wide endeavor.

What this means is that all internal stakeholders across business functions need to play together on the same team, as audiences who are tweeting, posting, updating and uploading don’t care much about individual silo practices. And this means that an effective social media program must be “socialized” across the organization, as all disciplines must work together to deliver the brand promise. And delivering this promise depends on having the processes and systems in place to enable this to happen.

So how will your organization align the real-world customer experience with social media:

• how should you/will you respond to customer’s real-time questions, comments or concerns?
• which conversations are more important to business and relationships, and how do you know?
• how will you empower your customers so that they become an extension of your marketing and your sales force, and add value back to your brand?

These are a few of the questions we discussed in our meeting the other day. If you have any thoughts about this subject, please share.

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Mayo’s reputation for being a forerunner when it comes to all things “social media” isn’t news to those in and around the healthcare space. But even I was surprised at this finding.

As part of some secondary research for another client, we visited a lot of healthcare organization’s Facebook pages. Mayo has 8,811 fans. That’s a big number (at least in healthcare). Far greater than many other well-known institutions.

This means that 8,811 people are listening, discussing, messaging, updating, receiving Mayo’s feeds (which in turn gives these fans some viral power), interacting with Mayo and connecting with other people just like them (which we know in healthcare is very powerful in terms of improving health outcomes for people with a range of conditions).

Most importantly, this means that 8,811 people are telling (and participating in) personal and honest, living and breathing, powerful and overwhelmingly positive stories about Mayo in ways that traditional communications just can’t convey. Though I still believe that social media is not a single solution in itself, but one element of an integrated marketing communications plan.

It’s always been that people’s stories are important, not those of the organization. What an incredible, equity-enhancing benefit it is to have 8,000 plus people socially and passionately involved with your brand, while letting you (the marketer) actually spread your message more effectively.

Kudos (once again) to Mayo.

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What companies are doing on the social web and how well they’re doing it.

This July 2009 study called Engagement db, prepared by Wetpaint and Altimeter reviewed and charted the top 100 brands based on their social media presence and level of engagement they have with their customers. And though there are no healthcare brands included, I think the findings are still relevant (supported by these few examples).

A few of the key insights include:

1. Having a presence on social networks and micro-blogging outlets is a must, as “social media reach alone may have a positive impact as the more touch-points used can cause a ripple effect, by increasing or boosting brand recognition and driving sales volume.” I have a feeling that Lee Aase, Manager, Syndication and Social Media at Mayo Clinic would agree.

2. Doing nothing is not an option, but doing it all may not be appropriate. Building a social media strategy depends on many factors including who your target is, your industry, etc. However, being where your customers are and a part of their online experience is critical. Humana made the decision to step-lightly-into social media, as the benefits (to deepen connections with consumers; collaborate better with doctors and hospitals) became apparent to the organization.

3. Find your sweet spot. Understand what resonates with your customers and engage with them using the channels they frequent and prefer. If resources are an issue – start small, lobby for more assets and engage fully. Hello Health is a new organization that mixes office and online visits to give patients personal attention when and how they want it.

The future of health + healthy lifestyle brand marketing is not about saying things to audiences. It is about saying and doing this with them.

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As an addendum to my previous post, here are twelve principles for becoming a connecting versus campaigning organization. I refer to these principles as an Attraction Manifesto because of what “manifesto” implies – passion, game-changing, an appropriately public (social) declaration of your intentions and how you’ll set out to achieve them.

And because it’s a manifesto, it asks others to join together to make it a reality. Clearly, you’ll need to put your own spin on this doctrine to make it actionable for your organization and your audiences (which I hope you’ll do).

1. Coherence – our brand idea will serve as the nucleus for all of our actions, interactions and conversations.
2. Authenticity – our social media conversations should be similar to our daily interactions with friends, colleagues and family, i.e. open and honest, informal and in a personal voice.
3. Transparency – we’ll represent ourselves as people rather than an organization, because people connect with people, not organizations. We’ll also be honest about who we are, as trust is a huge barometer of engagement.
4. Collaborative – we’ll embrace the fact that true conversations are two-way, give and take exchanges; so that all participants ultimately grow stronger together.
5. Customized – we’ll create specific interest content and communities (thereby enhancing relevance to audiences) by collecting, categorizing, listening and responding.
6. Facilitating – we’ll allow conversations to go on around us without trying to control them, empowering people to connect through our brand, with content as the enabler.
7. Contagious – we’ll create “life-impacting” content and conversations that generate word-of-mouth and that people want to share with others.
8. Co-Creation – by working together, we all learn, grow and become stronger.
9. Evangelists – as feasible, we’ll create passionate and active advocates who will want to spread our message (for little expense).
10. Paced – we’ll start small, do what we can, when we can.
11. Context – we’ll recognize that social media is not a single solution in itself, but one element of an integrated marketing communications plan.
12. Bottom Line – there are lots of ways to measure social media success; so we’ll determine our success metrics (based on our objectives) before we begin our efforts.

As I’ve said previously, you have the opportunity now to benefit your organization by involving and empowering your audiences in conversations by being where they are and making it easier for them to connect, get informed and take action. It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when.” So what are you waiting for?

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For healthcare marketers, there’s a new set of rules for connecting your brand to your employees, caregivers, communities and patients. And it requires you to let go of what you think you know.

Continuing to try to persuade audiences through traditional campaigning about why you’re better (in the absence of other efforts), with the use of rational information and comparative data, is just not that important to those you’re trying to connect with.

There are two reasons for this. First, because the harsh reality is that people really don’t care about your organization, per se. What they do care about is how you make them feel about themselves and their decisions, and how much value you add to their lives. It’s their stories that are important, not yours. Second, because those who used to be your “passive audiences” are now “engaged participants” and content creators through social media.

The future of healthcare marketing is not about saying things to caregivers, communities and patients. It is about saying and doing things with them. It is about ATTRACTION MARKETING , compelling them to become more deeply engaged with your brand, while letting you (the healthcare marketer) actually spread your commercial message more effectively.

Today, brands are products of two-way (social) conversations. These conversations are personal and honest, living and breathing. With each conversation made stronger by other conversations, and building value for all parties involved. They result in competitive advantage for your organization, and significant advances in knowledge for your audiences. Each helps the other to reach their full potential.

Yet many in healthcare haven’t embraced this new reality. The reality that it pays from a relationship and financial standpoint to engage in two-way dialogue (i.e. social media). So what’s holding you back? Maybe you’re afraid of the unknown, or that your world is changing. Maybe you’re not comfortable with these new Social tools, or you don’t think you have the time. But to borrow a phrase from Cher in her movie Moonstruck when she slaps Nicholas Cage – “snap out of it”.

Because while you or your organization is hesitant to use social media, consumers actually become more invested in brands that welcome their participation. Simply put, conversations between people do more to build connections beyond your one-way campaigns. And what’s great about Social, and why it’s such a wonderful adjunct to traditional media, is that people can engage in these conversations whenever it’s convenient for them.

Integral to the future of healthcare brand building will be shared, “real-time” interactions and conversations between providers, caregivers, patients and communities. You have the opportunity now to benefit your healthcare organization by involving and empowering these audiences in conversations by being where they are and making it easier for them to connect, get informed and take action.

It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when.” So what are you waiting for?

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I read an article “Four Lifestyle Rules To Keep You Healthy” on Time. com and thought to myself what would the four rules be to keep brands healthy.

Tough to narrow to four, but here are mine.

1. An important and differentiating idea – the starting point for all great brands.
2. Relevance to audiences – based on understanding their hopes, desires and real life practices.
2. Tapping emotion – because the majority of our decisions are made with our “guts”.
3. Brilliant execution – which is so uncommonly excellent across the board that it reflects a clear leadership position.

Would you substitute any others? Please share your thoughts.

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