Posts Tagged ‘social media strategy’

Three births, three patient experiences.

March 29, 2011

My wife and I are the proud parents of three boys. I know, wow, three boys. Trust me, it’s a blast and we were blessed with three relatively smooth deliveries. Interestingly enough, each boy was delivered at a different hospital and each experience was very different.

The experience we had with the birth of our first son wasn’t what we expected. Your first child is never what you expect, but I’m talking about the patient experience. The hospital was cold and clinical, it was the area’s teaching hospital dedicated to “academic medicine.” My wife felt like a science experiment. The saving grace was a nurse working in the nursery at night; we’ll call her KT. She really loved babies and she loved her job. She made us feel like we had our own nurse caring just for us. We still remember her and I think my wife would include her in our will if she could find her.

Because of our first patient experience, we chose to deliver our second son at the local “boutique” hospital. It was like checking into a hotel to have a baby. It was quiet and comfortable, but we didn’t experience any hospital staff with the same passion of KT. We were treated fine and the delivery went well, but we didn’t leave feeling like we had been given care that was unforgettable.

Maybe I’m being too picky. I often think it’s unfair to expect everyone at a hospital treating my wife and me to exhibit the same kind of passion and zeal as KT’s. Or is it?

Recently my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our third son. We didn’t know what to expect. Our third son was delivered in a different city than his older brothers. My wife’s OB chose the hospital.

From the time we checked in to the time we left, we were reminded of KT because the entire staff worked with her passion and zeal. One nurse came to our room to check my son’s hearing. He started coughing and the nurse picked him up and cleared his throat. This is not uncommon but she did this gladly even though it wasn’t life threatening and not her job. Another nurse came by after her shift just to check on my wife before she left the hospital. It didn’t matter that another nurse was already on duty. Another nurse moved heaven and earth to get me a roll-away bed. I didn’t ask for a bed, all I did was make a joke about the couch being uncomfortable.

Not only are these doctors, nurses and staff members good at what they do, they love what they do and it shows.

I’m a Creative Director in the healthcare/hospital marketing field. One of the coolest things I get to do is witness the work of doctors, nurses and staff who really love what they do. When you talk with them their passion shines through. They believe in what they do and they love it.

As a “creative”, I’m always looking for new and different ways to communicate a client’s competitive advantage. I love what I do. We can saturate the market with a campaign message and light up the web with interactive and social media content. But the most powerful communications tool can be one doctor, nurse or staff member doing their job with a passion that makes them unforgettable to their patients. That’s a real competitive advantage.

While the recent great patient experience is still fresh in our minds, I know we will always remember this hospital stay with a smile. The same way we remember KT.

I’m a PC. I’m a Mac. What am I?

January 25, 2011

Remember the “I’m a PC. I’m a Mac” TV commercials? Me too. If you were a PC user, you snarled. If you used a Mac, you laughed. T-Mobile is trying desperately to use the same formula to attack AT&T and also dig Apple. They have been running their Mac/PC knock-off campaign for a couple of months and I think they’re missing a key element. Nobody cares.

T-Mobile wants to compare its service with that of AT&T. By using Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign, they also hope to take a passing shot at the iPhone maker. Good idea, nice strategy, here’s the problem — NOBODY CARES. The Apple campaign worked because PC users love their PCs (and hate Macs) and Mac users love their Macs (and hate PCs). And by the way, everyone dislikes AT&T, especially iPhone users. Is T-Mobile trying to convince iPhone users to buy an Android phone and switch to T-Mobile? Not going to happen. Once again they are loyal to Apple.

The Apple campaign was smart and well written with great casting. The T-Mobile campaign is ham-handed, forced and comes off as a cheap knock off. Click on the links above and compare for yourself.

P.S. A big high-five to Verizon for getting the iPhone. I hope to be a customer very soon!

THE LOGO EVOLUTION; an optimistic revolution

January 18, 2011

A logo update often speaks of a company trying to stay up-to-date in its offerings while strengthening its’ connection with consumers. But, with Starbucks falling into the bucket of recent logo evolutions within the last few months, I was forced to put down my Venti, Non-fat, Carmel Macchiato and ponder – could it mean something more? Could we be on the cusp of a branding revolution?

Every New Year begins with the hope for better things to come. Resolutions are made to convince ourselves that we can try harder and be more than we were the year prior. Every January, we are motivated to turn over a new leaf, conceive and commit to a better version of ourselves, and to accomplish big things. 

Essentially, a rebranding.

I believe the growing appetite for brand evolutions may possibly be an effort by these companies to demonstrate a new promise for the future – even in spite of familiarity feeling more sensible to their consumers.

Perhaps after being smacked around by the impact of the recession – and still jostling from the residuals – we are all eager for a more optimistic perspective.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, twice as many Americans think the U.S. economy will be better rather than worse in 2011.

2011 Expectation (vs. 2010) In Terms of the Economy (Percent of Group)
  Expectation % of Group
Group Better Same Worse
National adults 52% 21 25
   East 55 24 21
   Midwest 56 25 18
   South 51 20 27
   West 48 17 32
$75K or more 55 23 22
$30K to $75K 52 21 25
Less than $30K 51 20 27
Republicans 46 23 31
Independents 50 23 26
Democrats 62 19 16
Source: Gallup, December 2010

Recent tracking results show that consumers only became increasingly optimistic about the economy as 2010 came to an end.

Gallup analysts suggest this could be due to our general optimistic nature as Americans, or it could possibly reflect views of a recovering economy.  

Or it could simply mean that we are all ready to move forward.

And, honestly, was it the attempt these organizations made to put forth a new image that has been debated? Or the lack of creativity, planning and strategic foresight that has forced us to question the success of these new brand transformations?

As Paul Rand said, “Good design is Good for Business.”

And bad design will get you posted on every blog and Facebook page known to man!

 

What can hospitals learn from a modern house?

November 15, 2010
Photo by Kim Foster-Tobin /The State

The State recently ran a story about a modern house under construction in Columbia. A collaborative effort of Celtic Works and Studio 2LR, the house is the right size and right price for a first-time home buyer and it’s no vinyl-clad oversized style popular of late.

The house has been on Facebook since early summer with the makers posting construction photos and information about the construction.

So how does this relate to healthcare and social media?

We’ve heard healthcare providers voice concern over using social media because of the possibility of negative comments and posts. It’s a valid concern as that will inevitably happen at some point because no one or no organization is perfect. Not me, not you, not Mayo Clinic.

The makers of this modern house know people are already talking: at church, to other neighbors, friends and family members and even in the grocery store line. The same is true of healthcare audiences. Conversations about staff, doctors and services happen because they are part of people’s lives. Tuning them out puts you at a disadvantage.

The makers of the house have embraced social media as a strategy knowing with the risk comes potential for tremendous benefit.

The house will unite an audience of fans who support this particular project and the larger scope of modern home design, the companies who believe in it and in all likelihood the attention of the person who will purchase it. Equally important, their social media strategy brings positive and negative conversations to the partners in a public forum.

While communicating with fans and addressing criticism aren’t the real reason the collaboration is using social media, they are very good reasons. Make social media a part of your healthcare marketing strategy to bring the same opportunities to you.

From Ps to Rs; a shift in consumer expectation

September 23, 2010

As I continue dissecting my notes from the SHSMD conference in Chicago, building from my thoughts on the theme as well as the overview of its content, I’ve realized that my reporting on the marketing evolution is of little benefit – it’s done. Now what?

The only way to successfully adapt to this new environment is by transforming your communications strategy.

While speaking at SHSMD, Phyllis Marino of MetroHealth in Cleveland, Ohio, stated the 4Ps of marketing are obsolete. The new consumer is no longer interested in your mix of Product, Price, Promotion or Place because they now demand a more personalized approach.

With this expectation shift, the 5Rs are the new principles for ensuring the strategic focus of your marketing efforts is modified to appeal to this highly consumer-centric environment.

Recognition. Only with a clear, compelling identity and message will your audience differentiate you from the competition. You need to define what your name stands for and be able to connect with your audience in a more meaningful way.

Relevance. Your audience wants to readily see the link between what your company offers and how it fills their needs; be it accomplishing a task, solving a problem, education or entertainment.

Response.  It’s a dialogue – not a monologue. Therefore, you need to also listen to the consumer and be able to quickly respond to their informational needs.

Receptivity. What they want when they want it, not when you want to deliver it to them. The consumer has his own schedule and doesn’t want to adapt to yours. This is the reason why the internet is now the CENTER of the consumer universe.

Relationships. It’s no longer about connecting the dots; it’s connecting people. If you want to establish a lifetime commitment, you need to think what will keep your audience engaged for the long-term. Till death do you part.

It may be old-fashioned and fallacious of me, but when constructing a communications strategy based on the 5Rs, I find it easier to tackle them like I would the 5Ws of Journalism: Who (Recognition), What (Relevance), When (Response), Where (Receptivity), Why (Relationships).

The trick always comes with identifying the H.

How have you shifted the structure of your communications strategy?

Breaking the Piñata: When is too much information, too much?

September 16, 2010

Four days, 6 general sessions, 70 break-out workshops, 119 exhibitors, dozens of exchanges during breaks and luncheons with fellow attendees and the SHSMD 2010 conference is complete.

Rich with content and excited to share these pretty, shiny nuggets of knowledge with you, I’m struggling to find a starting point.

It’s almost like cracking open a piñata and not being certain of the direction in which I should scamper. Which goodies do I want to hoard for myself? Which ones do I want to share with others? Which ones do I find fascinating and you may find irrelevant?

I could craft a summary of the SHSMD conference and provide an overview of all the tidbits I’ve gathered, but the final product would be more like a dissertation rather than a blog entry.

Bursting at the seams, I feel like Adam in Paradise Lost when Raphael warned:

 “But Knowledge is as food, and needs no less

Her Temperance over Appetite, to know

In measure what the mind may well contain,

Oppresses else with Surfeit, and soon turns

Wisdom to Folly, as Nourishment to Wind.”

 Now that consumers have developed an excessive craving for conversation, education and details, what makes for a successful online interaction?

Just like biting into a juicy apple, you want to give your consumer digestible bits of information.

As marketers, we need to get out of broadcast mode where we craft our talking points, add some nice graphics or even a video, and post content to the web as another means of pushing out our messages. As The Cluetrain Manifesto laments, we’re still treating the online market as “eyeballs” rather than as people engaged in conversation.

Similar to chatting it up with a fellow attendee at a conference, you need to have a genuine delivery that leads to a positive exchange of ideas and dialogue. Not too much information where you overwhelm the other person and turn them off. Rather, the right balance of content that leaves them satisfied – and wanting seconds.

I can keep serving up my sampling of the conference, but what are you craving? Click brochure to get an overview of the SHSMD 2010 conference. Then, send me a note at kcionek@adamsgroup.com and tell me what topic you would like discussed next.

SHSMD 2010 Conference: Healthcare on the Winds of Change

September 14, 2010

Karolynn Cionek reports from the SHSMD  trenches:

One could easily assume the theme of the annual AHA conference in Chicago was selected to address the changing role of the healthcare industry as it relates to the impending Health Reform.

However, as I delved into workshops and chatted with fellow attendees, it quickly became apparent that the underlying current was addressing change as it relates to the communications landscape.

After decades of media stasis, the online arena has fundamentally changed how we communicate with our consumers.  

Traditional, offline strategies relied heavily on interruption and coercion to push information out to the masses. Now, consumers are expecting marketers to pull rather than push by delivering useful content at the precise moment they need it.

A 2009 Pew survey reported 61 percent of American adults look online for health information. Thomas McCormally of Cincinnati Children’s, led the Storytelling and Multi-media workshop to further explain that, of those online, 59 percent have done at least one of the following activities:

  • Read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website, or blog
  • Consulted rankings or reviews online of doctors or other providers
  • Consulted rankings or reviews online of hospitals or other medical facilities
  • Signed up to receive updates about health or medical issues
  • Listened to a podcast about health or medical issues

The Web has become a trusted source for people trying to make a decision or solve a problem – particularly when it comes to healthcare.

That last sentence is key to understanding what exactly changed in the communications landscape: trust. Disruption is being replaced by engagement, persuasion by influence of trusted sources.  

With millions of one-way, seller-spun advertisements bombarding us on a daily basis, even in healthcare, we eventually became numb to the noise. We quickly tired of being sold, turned off and stopped trusting advertising.

With advancements in online technology, marketers have a new opportunity to connect to consumers. Rather than drilling down messages into the lowest-common denominator, you can now interact, inform, educate and provide details that were lacking in the broad reaching techniques of yesterday.

While traditional offline outlets remain vital aspects of an overall marketing campaign, the change comes in acknowledging the new consumer wants more substance. They expect a dialogue.

 As a marketer how are you adapting to this new environment?

How hot dogs made us socially acceptable.

August 20, 2010

With a growl in our stomachs, we went in search of the city’s best hot dog. Little did we know what we’d find were the makings of a social media success story.

It all started with a friendly argument. As we wrestled over what makes the perfect hot dog and where one can find such an exalted treasure, we decided there was only one way to settle the matter. We’d put our city’s hot dog vendors to the test.

In true Adams Group fashion, we soon had a name for our little venture, a logo, a scoring system and parameters to guide us on our quest for the preeminent pup.

So, we set out to our first hot dog hawker, ate way too much, took a bunch of pictures, tabulated the scores and posted everything to our Facebook page. The Dog Fight was born, and it was fun.

Every week we ventured into dives and delis, gas stations and gourmet restaurants, in search of perfection. Every now and again, someone would comment on a Facebook photo, or recommend their favorite source of such succulent sustenance. But overall, things were quiet on the Facebook front. Until, one week, we took a frankfurter furlough.

The minute we failed to post our regular update, people began asking questions. What happened? Where are you? Our adventures were being followed on a grand scale – we just didn’t know.

Within weeks, we were at the center of a foodie frenzy. Other companies’ employees challenged us to Dog Fights, we hosted “celebrity” guests, and our own dog fighters were recognized around town (and heavily questioned about where to grab a good dog).

We even got the attention of traditional media, which exposed our Friday lunch activities to tens of thousands. Dog Fight had taken on a life of its own – a life that is thriving today.

Why tell this tasty tale? Because it taught us a lot about achieving social media success:

First – Have fun. Share something that interests you and, chances are, it will interest others as well.

Second – In these cases, traditional metrics may not be giving you the full story. You probably have more followers than you think.

Third – This is not a push marketing medium. Invite people into your experience, and share with them.

Fourth – Be honest, open and transparent. If you are, the medium will reward you.

 Finally, if you know of a great hot dog place in South Carolina, let us know.

SCHA Social Media Workshop – The Afternoon Sessions

June 24, 2010

There’s more to getting started in social media than hashtags and status updates. There are hard truths that need to be examined. Or buzzkills, as one speaker so eloquently labeled himself. In other words, plan and prepare.

ROI
First up, does social media even make sense for your organization? Reed and Ed co-led a thoughtful discussion on ROI and social media. There are a few ways you can frame ROI with social media. Including:

  • Social media metrics (number of followers, message reach, number of fans, interactions)
  • Direct value (resulting new patients via word of mouth, word of mouse and direct interaction)
  • Indirect value (service recovery, customer service, brand monitoring, media and community outreach, patient education, recruitment, employee retention and crisis communications)

Ed pointed out that with such a small entry cost and little capital investment required, any value is ROI. The main real cost will end up being time. He also cautioned that ROI can’t just measure sheer numbers, the quality of interactions themselves have value.

With many healthcare facilities and processes getting a bad rap for being behind the times, social media is an excellent place to be fresh and modern. Whether it’s apologizing for an errant bill or ownership of a frustrated consumer’s problem, most consumers are surprised, amazed and appreciative that someone is listening. And not all interactions are bad, typically there are more positive ones that can recharge a tired nurse or department.

Still not convinced there’s value? Think about the exact ROI of services such as pastoral care, front desk staff, groundskeepers and housekeeping staff. Or, as Ed said quoting David Scott, “What’s the ROI for putting your pants on in the morning?”

Ed and Reed agreed there are certain services that are expected in this day and age, it’s part of doing business. Just as websites are now the norm, they both believe social media will become part of the typical consumer’s expectations.

Legal Issues
Next came Michael Shetterly from Ogletree Deakins Law Firm with a sobering and entertaining discussion of social media ramifications. He likened the evolving, ever-moving social media realm to giving your employees the keys to the car. Social media is so new and changing so fast, the Supreme Court has only had two cases that involve social media and one of them happened last week.

What areas must be considered when implementing social media? A lot. FTC guidelines. HIPAA. Privacy of staff, patients and the lady in the background of your hilarious hand-washing video. Copyright. PHI. Not to mention employee use of social media, web and texting.

Michael advised organizations to keep their social media guidelines and employee use guidelines up to date and very specific. Revise policies to reflect use of social media and blogs and to insulate against liability. Be sure to share policies with all employees and offer real-use training.

Panel Discussion
Last on the agenda was a panel discussion. The panel featured a range of hospitals and personnel including:

  • Andy Busam, Public Relations, Coordinator, Randolph Hospital
  • Dr. David Geier, Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist, MUSC
  • Sally Foister, Director of Marketing Services, Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center
  • Ronda Wilson, Marketing and Communications Director, Georgetown Hospital System

So let’s start the sharing right here, Social Media Revolutionaries. What were your biggest takeaways from the panel discussion?

Social Media Listening

June 22, 2010

One of the greatest benefits of social media participation is the opportunity it gives you to listen. Listen to what “fans” are saying about your business and industry. Listen to customers’ (and potential customers’) topics of interest at any given time. Listen to understand what’s working in the market and what isn’t. Listen to what competitors are saying and what’s being said about them.

All you have to do to open your ears is activate an account. This listening phase is a perfect entrance to social media efforts. It’s time to grasp the opportunities and etiquette of social media such as Facebook and Twitter if you’re unfamiliar with them. Time to activate free tools such as Google alerts. Time to develop a social media strategy and processes for resolution before going “live” with your efforts.

Radian 6 has a great eBook on activating a social media effort.

Rather than hitting the ground tweeting, take a few weeks to stretch, warm up and acclimate to new media. This readying phase will likely uncover activists and detractors alike as well as what’s being said about you or your competitors.

That knowledge is a great foundation to build social media efforts upon.


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