Archive for September, 2009

Celebrating Creativity

September 25, 2009

One of the most rejuvenating things about working in advertising is the creativity.

When Liz had back surgery awhile back, we created a Liz-edition Operation game. When the agency had our 25th anniversary, we didn’t get a Lucite paperweight; we got cool bowling shirts. With our names embroidered on them. That we wore bowling that afternoon. For my own baby shower last year, we had a potluck lunch and all the food had bacon in it. And, this past week we have been celebrating Andrew’s wedding.

There are plenty of people who go to work every day at a place where there’s no room for fun and laughter in-between all the real work. I am glad I am not one of them.

Get off the sideline

September 17, 2009

HelmetFor those of you who know me, you know I really LOVE football. I played from the age of eight until I was a college sophomore. The players I most admire are those playing multiple roles. You’ve seen them. Guys who play defense and offense. Running backs that play on the kick-off team. Receivers that return punts. For the football illiterate I am simply saying this: versatility on the gridiron is good.

Another place versatility is vital these days is any advertising, marketing, design or other creative shop. While most agency folks are assigned a title (web designer, art director, copywriter, etc.) those titles can be blinders that prevent people from doing their real job: coming up with great ideas for clients.

In our creative department we take versatility seriously.

For example, we have a copywriter who makes music, art directors who design websites and anything else they can get their hands on and a web designer/developer who also happens to be a talented art director and overall idea guy. These discoveries weren’t the result of some agency wide cross-training effort; they happened because people saw beyond defined roles or titles. They got out there, tried new things and helped each other out. The result has been great work for our clients.

I believe the best path to great ideas is across the lines of job titles and disciplines. Get out there, return a few kicks and see what happens.

Like I said, I like football. In fact, here’s a blank helmet so you can design your own team helmet. I know you can do it. While you’re at it, send me your creations. We’ll post the winning designs.

Real-life experience speaks volumes.

September 10, 2009

One of the best ways to learn about the hospital experience? Talk to people who have recently experienced it. When a friend spent the evening in the ER with her five year old daughter in August, she took the time to share the good, the bad and the ugly of a night in the ER. Her daughter, who has an allergic reaction to fire ant bites, ended up being fine but the experience left some lasting impressions … some good, some not so good.

 The Good

  • There was a separate waiting room from main ER just for kids, complete with kids’ movie/tv and separate bathroom.
  • If I had wanted her to be monitored, they would have kept her longer. Nice, but she was fine and I was ready to get out.
  • Check out took two minutes.

 The Bad

  • As a parent, I felt like an idiot because I did not know where to go or which entrance to use. I wasted 15 minutes parking in the wrong lot and running thru the hospital thru the wrong entrance.
  • Everyone starts and waits in the same kids-only waiting room: broken bones, concussions, swine flu, stomach ailments, blood dripping down leg, poison, etc.
  • Triage nurse sees everyone first to determine how severe and to assess the ailment. Then back to the waiting room until called back to see doctor which was really more waiting.

The Ugly

  • I am not a germ-phobe, but it was gross. And it felt like everyone in there had the swine flu. They did pass out masks which is disconcerting to walk in and see 75% of people wearing masks.
  • I about passed out when I heard a nurse yell, “I have a 4 year old amputee in Room B!”
  • The check-in people were NOT customer service driven. Meaning, we are here for paperwork only, ma’am. No questions, no how much longer, no updates.

In the end, their scenario wasn’t bad, “Just a long wait in a gross waiting room. I felt for the parents who had the child with the bloody leg or who swallowed chorine tablets and had to wait like us. You really have to arrive without a pulse or in full trauma to be seen right away.”

This is one experience, but it echoes what we’ve heard from ER focus group participants.

While some things about the ER experience cannot change, there are touchpoints and services that can be addressed. And solutions don’t have to be elaborate. Simple updates of progress or some form of communication can make a long wait seem less endless. More frequent rounds by housekeeping staff can keep a much-used area of the hospital clean.

The reality is you may only have one chance to give a healthcare decision maker a first impression of your hospital or practice. Whether it’s in the ER, outpatient surgery or diagnostics, you have to make the most of it if you want her to come back again.

Social Media Brand Loyalty

September 2, 2009

There’s a lot of talk these days about social media users embracing of brands. This article from eMarketer had some interesting stats and, based on the people who were tweeting and retweeting it, I figured it must be pretty good. This stat in particular caught my eye:

According to Anderson Analytics’ May 2009 survey, 52% of social network users had become a fan or follower of a company or brand, while 46% had said something good about a brand or company on a social networking Website—double the percentage who had said something negative (23%).

To me, social media brand loyalty is a different, more powerful version of brand loyalty. Andrew had a great blog post earlier this year about word of mouth. The basic gist being that if you do good things and provide good services as a brand or company, there are people who will talk about you online. And in person to their friends. And to other people in general. Because what you’re doing means something to them.

That’s the tack that we take when we craft social media strategies. Without meaning and relevancy, social media strategies fall flat. You have to give people a reason to follow your brand or company in social networking. Just blasting out tweets to tweet on a timely basis will accomplish little if anything at all. Social media is not a game of who has the most friends, fans or followers. Interaction and interest build loyalty and followership.

I’m with Andrew. I want the 46% that say good things vs. those who just simply become a fan or follower of a business or organization. That’s where the real opportunity lies in social media.


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