Creating a Heartbeat Brand Requires Knowing Your Audience in New, Relevant Ways

Creating a Heartbeat Brand Requires Knowing Your Audience in New, Relevant Ways

Most research studies provide excellent insights into your brand.  For example, knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions people have of your brand, their intent to use, and likelihood to recommend.  In addition, there’s data collected on who replied to the survey; gender, age, income, etc.  Yes, this tells you about what people think of your brand, but it doesn’t tell you anything about the people who use it, or want to use it.  Creating the highest level of relevance with your brand requires knowing more about the people you’re targeting than has been customary.  Just like in good advertising practices, it’s about them – not you.  A heartbeat brand is one that appeals to the interests, lifestyle, visions and dreams of your audience.  Use your market research to help you understand these traits so your brand can be more effectively positioned and modified to meet their needs. There should be a section within your questionnaire that asks people about what matters most in their lives.  How they spend their time, activities they enjoy, hobbies they pursue, etc. Armed with this information, you can begin to reflect these passions and interests in your brand communications.  Images become more than design background, they become eye-catching relevant scenarios in which your audience sees themselves and how their life intersects with your brand, not the other way around. Knowing your audience in new, relevant ways will help you create positioning and messaging platforms that break through and become noticed.  Why?  Because you’ve captured the essence of what’s most important to people you’re trying to influence, not trying to influence them with your brand...
The Transition of the Chief Marketing Officer to the Chief Growth Officer-It’s the Real Thing

The Transition of the Chief Marketing Officer to the Chief Growth Officer-It’s the Real Thing

Last year brought about many major shifts and conversations in the healthcare industry; from new national health plans to ongoing debates of repeal or reform of the Affordable Care Act. All of these have had an impact on healthcare marketing and most organizations are holding tight on any specific directions until policies are determined. Another trend that healthcare marketers have to watch, based on what has occurred in the land of big brands, is the shift from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to Chief Growth Officer (CGO). Leave it to Coca-Cola, one of the best known and most valuable brands on the globe to lead the way. When its CMO resigned in 2017, Coca-Cola didn’t replace his position, the first time it was without a CMO in a couple of decades. Rather, it hired a CGO and now other big brands have followed suit. This trend will certainly lead to some alterations in hospital marketing departments, too. The rationale for this change at Coke was that it was part of a restructuring to turn the company into a “growth oriented, and consumer-centered   organization.” Wait, what? Coca-Cola replaced its top­ ranked marketing executive with another position that will generate growth and provide a consumer focus. Isn’t that marketing’s job? Shouldn’t a top marketer be doing that? Bottom-line, marketing at Coke and at many global brands, is not seen as a “growth” department; one that adds revenue, new operations, and new customers to the organization. Startling, yes-and here are some supportive statistics: Nearly one-third of CEO’s considered firing their CMO in 2017 according to Forrester Research The average tenure of...
Consumer trends impacting healthcare marketing in 2018 have already happened

Consumer trends impacting healthcare marketing in 2018 have already happened

By now, we have all seen the articles, blog posts, and other content on consumer trends in healthcare marketing for 2018.   From Artificial Intelligence and big data to value, there is no doubt the industry will continue to transform and consumer expectations and behavior will keep pace with the changes.  And, while it’s tough to predict the future, there is a place to look and get an idea as to what will occur down the road; the rearview mirror. According to Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos, this is often the first place he looks when predicting future trends and changes.  Amazon is one of the most innovative companies on the planet, yet it was (and still is) built on a premise that is very down to earth: focusing on what’s not going to change. Bezos is frequently asked to comment on “what’s going to change in the next ten years?” His answer may surprise you. “While that’s an interesting question, I almost never get the question, what’s not going to change in the next ten years.  And that’s the most important question because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in times and will be true ten years from now.  It’s impossible to imagine a future ten years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘I don’t want great prices, faster delivery, and more selection.’”  So rather than try and predict what will change, he focuses on what will stay the same and makes Amazon’s deliverables even better.  And that’s a model all marketers can follow. So, what’s not going to change in...
Ten Lessons from 15 Years

Ten Lessons from 15 Years

I just had a birthday!  My company did, that is.  Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy recently turned 15 and since only one third of new businesses last past their first decade, I feel pretty good about this accomplishment.  As I reflect over the past decade and a half, there are certain thoughts and ideas that surfaced that I wanted to share.   I hope some will educate, inspire, amuse, or just be a head nod to those who read them. The power of a big idea still surges. From the “Mad Men” era until today, and I’m certain into the future, the advertising business still thrives on big ideas.  Sure, there are all sorts of new technologies to communicate and ways to “hide” behind production value, but strip it all away and – if there’s not a big idea that touches the heart and soul of your customer – you have nothing.  You know you have one when, years later, people still recall pieces of a campaign.  I’m proud to say there have been a few of those over the years. Get with the times. I used to cover my ears when the subject of digital/social media came up in conversations.  I thought that if I just focused on traditional branding and advertising practices, there would still be a market for that and others would take care of the new stuff.    (I guess it’s right to say that today?) Anyway, I have come to really embrace “new” media and appreciate its flexibility and ability to be measured, and the fact that it’s not “new” anymore, just part of the...
More Hospital Mega-Brands on the Horizon, as Mega-Mergers Rise

More Hospital Mega-Brands on the Horizon, as Mega-Mergers Rise

This week’s Modern Healthcare magazine, long a leading industry publication for healthcare and hospital executives, recapped the number of “mega-mergers” taking place in the industry during the first quarter of 2017. The article cites four such mergers between eight $1 billion healthcare organizations. According to a managing director of a larger international financial advisory firm in the healthcare industry, this is a trend that is likely to accelerate as hospital companies want “regional, if not national, reach to be more attractive to patients and insurers.” Additionally, the article cites that many academic medical centers are operating at near capacity and are seeking community hospital partners to take patients requiring less intensive cases.  This is opposite of a few years ago, when these same large academic providers were partnering with community hospitals to generate more referrals for their highly specialized programs that require volume to remain viable. There were only a handful of “mega-brands” in the marketplace a few years ago – Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Hopkins, M.D. Anderson, etc. – so the implications of this trend impact hospital branding in a mega-way and bring to mind the importance of key branding indicators such as equity and relevance. “Where’s the equity” replaces “what’s in a name.” These new mergers keep a focus on the equity that exists for brands in the marketplace.  Decisions impacting naming, identities, brand strategies, and communications need to start with a thorough understanding of the recognition, reputation, and value a brand has among its current and desired market.  While seemingly obvious, there are countless examples of health systems that have moved away from existing, and high-equity, brand names in order to keep the peace...
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