Aug
01

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The concept of energy is at the heart of our culture at Burberry and comes from a deep core of shared values.

These are the words from this TED talk of Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry. Her talk addresses why we need energy, what makes it work, how it can be communicated and where it takes us. As we’ve built Trajectory around “creating new energy“, it’s gratifying to see that a prestigious brand like Burberry embodies and lives this ideal.

Three key takeaways from her talk:

1. Amidst pervasive feelings of fear, distrust and uncertainty – the response might be surprisingly simple. A powerful force we’re all born with – energy.

2. Passionate, positive human energy can provide a counterbalance to the disruptive negative forces of an age of unprecedented change. Through it comes confidence, inspiration and the power to transform things for the better.

3. Energy, at the heart of Burberry culture, comes from a deep core of shared values, based on:

• Trust – single-handedly the most powerful source of positive energy and once in place, unlocks a freedom and peace to explore.
• Intuition – teaches us to use our natural inclinations to protect the possibilities rather than simply accepting the probabilities.
• Belief – builds alignment and creates confidence. Belief is what sets energy in motion, and creates the success that breeds more success.

Please watch the video. And please do share your comments.

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Jul
02

Screen shot 2013-07-01 at 9.55.13 PMHospital mergers and acquisitions are expected to remain strong this year. 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 operational strategies, success requires managing the inter-related disciplines of Brand, Buy-In & Marketing to drive business performance.

Without proper brand and marketing planning, hospitals and healthcare systems in the midst of a merger or acquisition will encounter:

• a brand that struggles to support the newly-formed organization’s purpose, values and goals
• an internal audience not equipped 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 hospitals or healthcare systems transition from pre-merger competitors to post-merger partners:

BRAND

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?

BUY-IN

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.

MARKETING

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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Jun
17

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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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Jun
13

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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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Jun
02

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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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May
16

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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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May
09

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Are all those lines and sku’s really necessary?

We wake up in the morning viewing the world through the lens of a consumer. But then we get to work and our focus changes to that of business manager. The blinders come on and our sights are set on our defined sectors and the scope of our business. One moment, we’re barraged with an overwhelming number of choices. A moment later, it’s your job to present your other “you” with more choices. Not quite a recipe for mutual gain.

Beauty is an incredibly crowded category. There are hundreds of competitors, hundreds of thousands of items. Add to this the new segments that continue to emerge – from natural and organic to fashion brands edging their way into cosmetics, nutri-cosmetics, at-home devices, ethnic-targeted brands, beauty for men, tweens, etc. Some choice is good. But piling on more and more is a recipe for complexity, confusion and frustration (both for consumers and inevitably for your business).

So, how can beauty marketers create win-win brand portfolios? Start by considering these indicators that provide an objective view of your brand evolution and future potential. In the absence of this, you really do lack the ability to enable optimal decision-making and take the right course of specific actions.

Consider your portfolio from the inter-related viewpoints of Business, Brand and Consumer.

Business
• Does the portfolio fit with your business strategy and support strategic priorities?
• Does the marketplace value your participation (relative strength): is your name
relevant, are you providing customer benefit?
• Are you creating access to new beauty markets and customers?
• Implementation: do you have the resources to appropriately support; can you execute
with a high degree of success?
• Financial: does historical performance warrant?

Brand
• Do offerings build your brand value: do they fit with your story and positioning,
protect existing equities
• Are you creating desired new associations?
• Is there a clear relationship between new and existing brands?
• Does a new brand contribute to growing overall portfolio value?
• If offering fails, is it a major or minor setback for your brand?

Customer
• Does the brand address customer needs (today and tomorrow)?
• Is it a differentiated and superior value offering?
• Is it market-driven and customer-focused

While these are only some strategic indicators (financial indicators being the other benchmark), they’ll at least begin to help you take a holistic view of your portfolio and glean insights into relative performance of, and relative potential across, your brands.

Remember, more might not necessarily be better.

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May
06

SocialBrandI was hooked! While recently working on a beauty branding research assignment, I found myself so deeply connected to these brands that I instantly “fanned” them on Facebook, began “following” them on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, became an enewsletter “subscriber”, and “viewed” more YouTube videos than I can remember.  Christian Dior, Tom Ford, Chanel and several others were no longer just iconic beauty brands to me, I was now “engaging” with them in ways I could have never imagined. But how did this happen so quickly?

Having worked at brand marketing agencies my entire career, I now found myself on the other side of the fence as a consumer (not a marketing professional) influenced by the phenomenon known as social media – a brand engagement platform offering me new and more meaningful ways to instantly connect with these brands and their online communities.  

The Undeniable Influence of Social Media

Social media has had a significant impact on brand engagement, as it’s role continues to grow in terms of how consumers discover, research, and share information about brands and products.  With American consumers spending an average of 3.2 hours per day socially networking, the consumer decision journey has forever changed.  Just take a look at the Social Media Report recently published by Nielsen and NM Incite (a Nielsen/McKinsey company) to see how these decisions are increasingly driven by the opinions, tastes, and preferences of this extraordinary pool of social influencers.

  • 60% of consumers researching products through multiple online sources learned about a specific brand or retailer through social networking sites
  • Active social media users are more likely to read product reviews online, and 3 out of 5 create their own reviews of products and services
  • Overall, consumer-generated reviews and product ratings are the most preferred sources of product information among social media users
  • Consumers view social media networks as a more trustworthy source of information for products and services than brand-sponsored communications
  • Consumers feel more engaged with products when they are able to submit feedback
  • Socially Adept Brand Ambassadors

    Consumers are increasingly acting as ambassadors and advocates for brands through social media – as brands recruit fans and followers to facilitate consumer conversations and allow them to express their loyalty while also reinforcing the brands mission. The Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem, is a great example of utilizing the power of like-minded people to advocate for your brand – in this case a movement to build positive self-esteem and inspire all women and girls to reach their full potential.  To understand the importance of these advocates, consider these statistics:

    • A majority, 53% of active social networkers follow brands
    • Social media users are interested in collaborating with their favorite brands, with 60% (of 18- to 34-year-olds) stating they want to give product improvement recommendations, and another 64% wanting to customize their products
    • 58% of social media users say they write product reviews to protect others from bad experiences
    • Women are more likely than men to tell others about products they like – 81% of females vs. 72% of males
    • On average, a consumer will mention brands 90 times/week and your brand is more likely to be mentioned if you have an ongoing dialog and relationship with your brand advocates

    Fueling the Social Engine

    Social media growth has been fueled by increased demand for connectivity and access to/usage of mobile devices. While PC’s remain the predominant device for consumer access (61%), social networking time on mobile apps and the mobile web have increased 63% – with over 55% of social networking occurring on mobile devices. Consumer demand for on-the-go brand engagement is growing and global brands are conforming – 90% now have mobile sites. What’s next?

    Smarter Social Media

    We know first-hand that brand marketers tend to feel pressure to create a dynamic presence on every social media platform, only to learn that the “network” is ever-changing. So what does the future hold for our hyper-connected, hyper-digitized world?

    Consumer engagement is better served through a smarter and simpler approach – one that melds business objectives, brand positioning and personality, and consumers’ social media behavior to develop programs that can represent a brand’s individual “brand engagement sweetspot.” It’s an ongoing process of actively observing, shaping resultant communications strategy, monitoring conversations and refining activities. Sort of the old “rinse and repeat.”

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