Healthcare marketing to champion Michigan hospitals.

Concerned about the state of affairs for healthcare reform? Wondering how it's all going to shake out, but feeling helpless and unsure how to get involved? Our client, Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA), gets it — and has just the answer for you. It's called "MiCare Champions." This is the network of citizens they developed to engage in advocacy efforts to protect affordable healthcare in Michigan. Our job was to develop a public advocacy campaign to build this network.

Where did we start? Market research, of course. With stakeholders, healthcare leaders, and consumers from Detroit to Marquette. Teledepth surveys and on-line focus groups, including remote UP participants, gave us a range of perspectives to fuel the quantitative piece – an online consumer survey.

Next, we developed a "Healing Hands" campaign, targeted to the 228,000 MI healthcare workers, as well as concerned citizens and female healthcare decisionmakers. The emotionally gripping, feel-good video features real doctors, nurses and healthcare workers and is based upon an appealing message which surfaced via the research: Michigan hospitals help people in sickness and in health, and not always in the hospital.

Many of us don't realize the amazing ways our hospitals are reaching beyond their walls to build healthier communities across the state. From violence intervention programs in Detroit, to adaptive sporting equipment for the disabled in Grand Rapids, to fundraising for travel and lodging expenses for cancer patients in St. Ignace, the video and eblasts focus upon these stories. MHA further pushed out the message via social, digital and PR.

The results? Within only 2 months of launch, the video has been viewed in its entirety 34,000 times. There have been more than 7,800 visits to MiCareMatters.org. And most importantly, there's now a group of close to 300 MiCare Champions (and growing), ready for quick activation when needed. Are you interested in joining this empowered group? Learn more and sign up at MiCareMatters.org.

Looking for more healthcare news, insights and best practices? Subscribe to our Healthcare Checkup.

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Looking for Millennials? Seeking marketing magic? Hit the library.

Looking for Millennials? Looking for marketing magic? Hit the library.

Ask a Millennial to explain the sharing economy and she'll tell you about Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit. Ask a Mature, and she'll show you her library card.

Libraries have been around since Benjamin Franklin was flying a kite. Franklin and friends founded what may have been the first library in the U.S. in 1731. It wasn't open to the public, but members could borrow books.

It's no small feat that libraries have survived nearly three centuries of human ingenuity and restlessness. In the last century alone, they've survived broadcast radio, motion pictures, TV, cable, VCRs, personal computers and the Internet. Not to mention the Great Depression and the Great Recession.

How? They've quietly adapted and innovated along the way to maintain relevance. They've added meetings rooms, community rooms, galleries, seminars, reading clubs and children's story times. They added hardware, software and Wi-Fi. The unassuming masters of marketing aren't timid about thinking way outside the box—even if it means cracking open a toolbox, casting a line or taking a pulse.

Check out what's new at the library.

At the Free Library of Philadelphia, residents can now borrow blood pressure monitors and digital food scales for a three-week lending period. The items are part of the library's new Health Lending collection, which includes books on health conditions to exercise DVDs and cookbooks in various languages. The initiative also features hands-on lessons with a registered dietitian.

In a Pew Charitable Trust 2012 study, researchers discovered that a third of Philadelphia library visitors in a prior year visited specifically for health information. "We want to reach those folks where they are," said Dr. Carolyn Cannuscio, head of the Healthy Library Initiative.

At the Ann Arbor District Library, residents can check out everything from art prints and art tools to home tools, music tools and telescopes. Peruse the "Unusual Stuff to Borrow" aisle for more.

In North Haven, Conn., library goers can check out nearly 304 different kinds of cake pans. In Grand Rapids, Minn., community members can rent fishing rods and tackle. The Northern Onondoga Public Library will also lend you a robot, bike pump or kilowatt meter. Stuck at the library without an umbrella? Yep, you can borrow that too.

Libraries have even found a way to attract Millennials.

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, more than half of Millennials say they used a public library or bookmobile in the last 12 months. That's more than any other adult generation. Nearly half of all adults (46 percent) say they used a public library or bookmobile in the same period, a share that has remained steady since the previous studies.

Beyond the generational difference, women are more likely than men, college grads are and parents of minor children are more likely than non-parents to say they've visited a public library in the last year.

Chances are, these are the very audiences your brand is desperately seeking. Whether you're looking for market research or a marketing partner, a library may be a great place to start. For a steady diet of trends and insights, subscribe to the Brogan Weekly Recap.

Healthcare Checkup - October 2017

HCIC was a definite highlight this month with the newest digital and Internet developments – see our take. Plus, lots of other happenings and trends for you from DNA kits to virtual reality marketing to the opioid addiction public health emergency.

VITAMIN B & P

Top 11 takeaways from the 2017 Healthcare Internet Conference. Couldn't take yourself away for the HCIC this year? Here's our take on enlightening nuggets across web, CRM, SEO, digital and content marketing, including some useful, “nuts and bolts” tips. 

At home DNA kits help consumers take control of their health. By the year 2020, the world's consumer genetic testing market will reach $340 million. This includes 23andMe's personal  genetic  testing kits for 10 diseases. Find out what this means for the future of the healthcare industry.

How dentists can build business with content, counsel. Responsible for oral care marketing? Learn several opportunities along the consumer's dental journey to attract and convert new patients with an expertise positioning.

MARKETING SUPPLEMENTS

Bars now serving virtual reality to attract millennials. Virtual reality (VR) is popping up across markets from healthcare to travel. Now it's creeping into nightlife as clubs and bars attempt to attract a waning Millennial market. Are you ready to try it?

Gen We expects more from brands on social media. Just when your brand had figured out Millennial social media habits, Gen We comes of age and everything changes. For these tech natives, social media is as much a part of the conversation as IRL. See how smart brands respect the social code.

INDUSTRY PULSE

Stem the Tide: Addressing the Opioid Epidemic. The AHA released a toolkit that provides guidance, information, and case examples to assist members in tackling the Opioid crisis. Quite pertinent with the recent Trump administration declaration of opioid addiction a public health emergency.

CVS reportedly offers over $66B to acquire Aetna. What do the experts think that means to the healthcare industry and growing retail component?

MONTHLY DOSE.

Looking to market to all generations but don't have the budget? Not a problem. There's one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide, How to market healthcare to all generations, to learn more.

Top 11 takeaways from the 2017 Healthcare Internet Conference

Top 11 takeaways from the 2017 Healthcare Internet Conference

Austin was the place and healthcare digital transformation was the case. Presenters enlightened us with case studies across web, CRM, digital marketing, SEO, and content marketing, including some juicy "nuts & bolts" tips.If you weren't able to take yourself away for the 21st Annual HCIC, here's our take on the top 11 takeaways:

  1. Redesign your website with a "Patient-First" mentality. This includes headings, page titles, and all content. Jerry Griffin, Penn State Health Director of Web & Digital Services, explained their web redesign involving a 66 percent reduction of 200 links on the home page, elimination of content redundancy and consolidation of content around 70 key condition hubs. I liked Jerry's "garden hose" analogy – it provides one powerful source until you put your fingers over the water stream, thus fragmenting the flow. I also liked his comparison to buying a house. "You go in with parameters to buy a house that will have good resale, good schools, and that you can grow old in. But you end up with the house you fall in love with. It's the same with hospitals. People have to have an emotional connection with the hospital and it has to feel right."
  2. "Mobile-First" web mentality is also key. We are all more comfortable testing website design in a desktop format, but it's critical to test your new website in a mobile format. If you are not conducting your studies in person, send a URL to participants so they can evaluate within an actual mobile device.
  3. Don't be afraid to use guerilla web usability studies. Penn State pulled people waiting for loved ones in the surgical suite waiting room for wireframe studies, finding they appreciated the distraction and  the $20 Starbucks gift card. Since six people can determine 85 percent of results, starting with a small sample is a good idea.
  4. The concept of "digital marketing" should be dead. So says keynote speaker, John Matson, Cleveland Clinical CMO. Why? Because it's intrinsic. Virtually everything has a digital application. With a departmental mantra of "Digital. Mobile. Measurable." and a 75 percent digital paid media budget, he only hires digital marketers who embrace analytics. And as a "digital publisher," he also puts adequate money behind creating scale. Because what's the sense of creating  so much content and not push it out for people to read?
  5. Stop random acts of content. Rather, we need to "repurpose and reimagine," espouses keynote speaker, Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert. How? Nielsen research shows  we trust each other far more than we trust companies and organizations so REAL people are the most effective messengers. We need to get off the unsustainable hamster wheel of content creation and get EGC (employee generated content). Your endocrinologist doesn't have time to blog?  Ask him a question, press start on your phone and repackage the raw content. Or just ask him to leave you a voice mail and create a podcast. With consumers visiting 38 percent fewer websites per month than 2010, your website is less important.  Hence, you must become an "Everywhere Brand," spending to promote your "greatest hits" (best content) and pulling people to your site.
  6. Live by the Golden Gate Rule with your website. Translation from Clarisa Gerlach- Purks, Web Content Administrator of Moffitt Cancer Center: Once the entire Golden Gate Bridge is done being painted, it's time to begin again. And it's exactly the same way with your website. (Unfortunately!)
  7. Don't wait for the stars to align to get patients to interact with your patient portal. In order to get those meaningful use dollars, segment the target audience from nonusers to enrolled but not using to active users, and use your CRM for variable messaging to increase usage. This wisdom spoken by Judy Winkler, strategic marketing director of OSF HealthCare, who was rewarded with positive usage results.(Another presenter mentioned the importance of putting the Patient Portal button right next to the Search button on your website, to reduce his highest Search term of "Patient Portal.")
  8. Pick a CRM partner you are in love with as you will be working together for three years. Words of advice from Laura Lea Jones, CEO of LionShare, Inc. If you ‘re having trouble getting your CRM up and running, you're not alone.  The panel of experts from Healthgrades, LionShare Inc., Evariant, Influence Health, and Tea Leaves Health concur on critical success factors: An aligned culture of Marketing, IT and Finance working together; Baby steps – getting a few campaigns going before complex programming; Budget to run campaigns; Attention to fixing your call center as a first impression response; Coaching from your CRM vendor; Decision if you will be using a self-service vs. full service model. As one stated, "CRM is a very expensive engine. You need someone to put it in your car. Once it's installed, you need to decide how you will make your race car go. Will you be driving or hiring a chauffeur and be in the passenger seat?"
  9. A brand is no longer what you tell your consumers you are. It's what they tell each other you are. Keynote speaker, Larry Bailin, CEO of Single Throw, emphasized the importance of thinking like an innovator. Who would have imagined Amazon's autonomous drone package delivery or the Seattle Amazon go grocery store with "just walk out technology" (that means no need to check out since billing happens thru your app)? How do we take this mentality to healthcare?  Using virtual reality of an MRI experience in children's hospitals to reassure kids before their procedure is one example.
  10. The Human-Computer Interaction Lab at University of Maryland knows a lot more about us than we may want them to. director and keynote speaker, Jennifer Golbeck, Ph.D., explained how algorithms and artificial intelligence are predicting things in our future – including our health, happiness and love life – with startling accuracy. For instance, identifying people who will have heart disease and obesity risk by looking at their social media circles. And don't forget the recent murder trial that used FitBit data as evidence.  Healthcare marketers need to start thinking now about ways to balance available personal data with reputational harm.
  11. Last but not least -- throwable microphone boxes! Called Catchbox, they certainly made a long day of sitting more engaging and entertaining as presenters threw the microphone box to audience members with questions.

Looking for more healthcare news, insights and best practices? Subscribe to our Healthcare Checkup.

Weekly Recap - October 20, 2017

No need to leave the app. Facebook now has an “Order Food” option. You might’ve guessed it – Snapchat is the number one social media app in teens’ eyes. People from 194 countries participated in this game of “would you rather.” 9GAG used their responses to bust myths about Millennials in their black paper. New data alert! Nielsen will now measure and publicly share Netflix ratings data.

DETAILS, Please

You can now order food on Facebook without leaving the app. Delivery just got even easier. Facebook tests an “Order Food” feature on both desktop and mobile.

Snapchat is teens’ favorite social app. Snapchat continues to gain popularity among teens despite copycat features from Facebook and Instagram. Check out other teen favorites from this annual “Taking Stock With Teens” report.

What Millennials value most in their lives, careers and personal tech. In two weeks, 9GAG’s survey received nearly 135,000 responses. This “would you rather” questionnaire can tell marketers more about Millennials than you might expect.

Nielsen will share ratings for Netflix shows. Netflix isn’t thrilled about it, but the rest of us have wanted to see this data for years. Nielsen will expand the offering to Hulu and Amazon next year.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

How dentists can build business with content, counsel. People aren't just researching health-related issues; they're making decisions about their healthcare services and products because of online brand content.

At-home DNA kits help consumers take control of their health. Did you know you were Scottish? Or Western Asian? Or that you have a third cousin who lives just a couple of towns away? Well, now you might–all thanks to the DNA kit boom.

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

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How dentists can build business with content, counsel.

How dentists can build business with content, counsel.

Many consumers now consult the internet to find information on health issues before consulting a medical professional. As a result, online content is becoming the gateway to consumer engagement for healthcare brands. People aren't just researching health-related issues; they're making decisions about their healthcare services and products because of online brand content.

Consider oral care. There are several opportunities along the consumer journey to attract and convert new patients. So get your online house in order.

Anticipate search

Many American consumers just don't prioritize oral care. Older adults are less likely to get regular checkups. About 20 percent of adults age 75 older haven't seen a dentist in the past five years, according to the American Dental Association. And 30-50 percent of consumers don't bother to brush twice daily (Racked.com, April 20, 2017). When it comes to flossing, Americans would rather wash dishes or clean the toilet than thread waxed string between their molars.  

So what's a modern day dentist to do? Post online content that anticipates their issues and symptoms to prompt consideration. Use facts about the connection between lacking oral hygiene and other physical issues to create engaging content that leaves an impact and leads people to take action. Further, providing resources on how and where consumers can take preventative measures can increase brand awareness and effective messaging.

You listen to patients all day. Chronicle their questions and ask staff to do the same. Then build content around common troubles, challenges and conditions that your patients are struggling with.

Educate

You're the expert. The framed degree in the waiting room testifies to as much. Don't wait for your patients to visit to share your knowledge. Post information regularly to help patients care for their teeth and gums. Draw on experience to tell stories that help build relevancy and motivate action.

Show you're up on the latest trends by sharing news and insights of the oral care community. What do you think about the coconut-oil pulling fad? Have thoughts on the Quip, the brush-subscription service that prompts patients to change their brush-heads regularly? Talk about it.

Provide helpful content to current patients. Keep them on a regular checkup schedule, discuss risk factors, and offer oral health tips, even cosmetic.

Provide options

Even underserved and older patients willing to see a dentist can't always afford to do so. Medicare doesn't cover routine dental care, while Medicaid doesn't require states to provide dental care to low-income adults. And while nursing homes are required to do dental screenings and provide residents with oral hygiene, dentists say that in practice that doesn't always happen.

Be a genuine advocate for oral care. Talk about Medicaid benefits, provide links, and share information about discounted dental services, programs or other opportunities for people with little or no coverage. Content that can make a positive, healthier difference in people's lives is sure to engage consumers, and reflect well on your brand.

For ideas to connect, check our work with Delta Dental Michigan to promote Healthy Kids Dental, a program for Medicaid-enrolled children.

At-home DNA kits help consumers take control of their health.

At-home DNA kits help consumers take control of their health.

Did you know you were Scottish? Or Western Asian? Or that you have a third cousin who lives just a couple of towns away? Well, now you might–all thanks to the DNA kit boom.

In recent years, companies like Ancestry and 23andMe have been bringing shock and awe to the masses with at-home kits that track genetic ancestry. With the help of a simple saliva test, consumers can put science and hard data behind their geographic origin, rather than simply speculating about their family history.

Celebrities have made tracing family trees popular on TLC’s hit show Who Do You Think You Are, now on its ninth season. And touching videos like this one from Momondo have sparked an emotional connection and compelled thousands more to get behind the DNA kit craze. 

Yet, with the ease and accessibility of at-home testing kits, tracing ancestry is simply the beginning. This April, the FDA approved 23andMe’s personal genetic kits as a test for 10 diseases (including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and some rare blood diseases). With the same at-home saliva kit, consumers can have their genome analyzed and check their predisposition for a collection of diseases.

23andMe explains, “DNA kits help analyze the human genome. Human DNA is about 99.5 percent identical from person to person. However, there are small differences (called variants) that make each person unique.” By analyzing these variants, DNA kits can link individuals to certain geographical regions, health conditions, traits, ancestral groups and more.

Do-it-yourself testing is quickly becoming more than a fad–it’s becoming a movement. By the year 2020, it’s estimated that the world’s consumer genetic testing market will rise to a staggering $340 million. At-home kits are shaking up the healthcare industry by giving consumers the power to potentially “know” before (or without) seeing a physician. And they’re shifting consumers’ traditional, backseat approach by helping them think proactively rather than reactively about health.

While there is still a deal of controversy surrounding the accuracy of tests and the conclusiveness of results, many consumers are enthusiastically embracing the trend.

Just last month, the Baltimore Ravens opted to give free, on-site DNA tests as game giveaways to their 55,000+ fans instead of the standard t-shirt or water bottle. Although the giveaway was postponed due to complications with Maryland law, it’s clear that the popularity of such kits continues to grow at mass rates.

So, what does this mean for the future of the healthcare industry? Could direct-to-consumer healthcare be on the horizon?

Only time–and maybe some more testing–will tell.

Looking for more healthcare news, insights and best practices? Subscribe to our Healthcare Checkup.

Bars now serving virtual reality to attract Millennials.

Bars now serving virtual reality to attract Millennials.

Virtual reality (VR) is popping up across markets from healthcare to travel. Now it’s creeping into nightlife as clubs and bars attempt to attract a waning Millennial market.

The VR tactics are varied, from VR gaming in a bar setting to part of the drinking experience itself. The MGM Grand offers an immersive VR gaming course at its Level Up bar. Powered by Zero Latency, up to eight players are transported simultaneously to an immersive universe at an epic scale where “exciting, social adventures await.” Players compete and fight the undead and killer robots over topsy turvey pathways.

Bacardi and Virgin Atlantic collaborated to create an “Immersive Digital 360 Drinks Experience” at Virgin Clubhouses. Users are invited to visit premier bars around the world while waiting for a flight.  Imagine ordering a fennel cocktail at La Guardia, putting on a pair of VR goggles and watching a mixologist at the Walker Inn in Los Angeles mix it up. By the time your two-minute VR experience concludes, your trendy drink is waiting for you IRL.

Brooklyn is also on top of the trend with a VR arcade, appropriately named VRBAR. This venue seems to focus more on the number of different gaming journeys one can take and less on the drinking aspect. VRBAR offers over 15 different experiences, from painting a masterpiece to climbing Mount Everest.

Brogan & Partners recently produced a VR spot for our client, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning targeted at the nightlife inclined. The short film encourages people to “Do a 360” before heading out, using designated drivers, rideshares and other safe options to drink responsibly.

The interactive video can be found at www.michigan.gov/360.

“The Office of Highway Safety Planning works hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to communicating about how we can reduce drunk driving by encouraging people, especially young adults, to make a plan to get home safely,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “By asking people to ‘Do a 360’ we hope to bring a unique perspective to the issue of drunk driving and encourage people to make the right decision by finding a safe ride home.”

VR is an experience. It can help take your brand story or campaign to a new level, adding emotional depth and increased consumer motivation. It has tremendous possibility across many markets. Where will it take your brand?

Weekly Recap - October 6, 2017

Instagram for the win, again. Here’s why your brand should be using the app. Giant balloon dogs and more. Snapchat continues to ramp up its AR efforts. Avoid a 25 minute advertisement. Brands navigate producing podcasts without overdoing the self-promotion. Marketing to Millennials? It’s no secret that Millennials love Facebook and Netflix, but some other names on this list may surprise you.

DETAILS, Please

80 percent of Instagram users voluntarily connect with a brand on the platform. Instagram wants to bring users closer to the things that matter to them. Check out how the social media giant has redefined what brands’ relationships with consumers look like.

Snapchat and artist Jeff Koons create augmented reality lenses. Building on the success of the app’s dancing hot dog, Snapchat wants to inspire young people everywhere to create with their cameras. Warner Bros. and Bud Light are the first brands to join the fun.

Blue Apron launches its own podcast. While building a lifestyle brand, Blue Apron sees the podcast as a way to deepen its relationship with customers. Microsoft, eBay and Tinder have already created their own content in this arena.

Top 10 Millennial brands of 2017. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Millennials want convenience and value from brands. Check out which brands are delivering just that.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Gen We expects more from brands on social media. Just when your brand had figured out Millennial social media habits, Gen We comes of age and everything changes. For these tech natives, social media is as much a part of the conversation as IRL.

THE Topic of conversation

Millennials. Discover who Millennials are, why it’s important to market to them, and how you can increase brand loyalty and engagement. Download our free whitepaper “8 Rules of Marketing to Millennials.”

SHARING is CARING

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Gen We expects more from brands on social media.

Like older cohorts Gen We is active on social media, but they have higher expectations for brands in the digital space.

Just when your brand had figured out Millennial social media habits, Gen We comes of age and everything changes. For these tech natives, social media is as much a part of the conversation as IRL.  

Brands that miss this important new social reality risk becoming obsolete. Smart brands respect the social code and open up better ways to connect with Gen We, according to CEB Iconoculture research.

So, what makes Gen We consumers so different than Millennials when it comes to social media?

Well, Millennial teens grew up with Myspace and Facebook, with 55 percent adopting social media in 2007 (Pew, 2007). They shared personal stats and details, poked, and followed friends via news feed. They used bumper stickers and liked for hours. The focus was show and tell.

Meanwhile, Gen We teens had Facebook AND Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter, too—unique channels to share activities, thoughts, emotions and aspirations. They weren’t limited by a single reaction. To add color and depth to their content, they used video, memes, filters and tags. When they share, they’re starting a conversation and expect feedback, a dialog.

Per CEB Iconoculture, if the Millennial teen online presence was a profile—a static, one-to-many style of self-presentation—then Gen We teens’ online presence is a persona—a dynamic self-presentation emerging from the combination of the one-to-many (proactive) posts they create and their reactive posts (the likes, comments and reactions) they share in response to their friends’ posts.

It’s a popular forum for the cohort, much more so than Millennial teens. In 2015, Pew estimated 76 percent of Gen We teens were using social media and more than 70 percent cross platforms.

Prepare your social media for Gen We.

In order to connect to Gen We via social media, brands should continue posting quality proactive posts, but add reactive posts to the mix. Follow your followers, reacting to relevant posts on their pages and participate in real conversations.

Facebook facilitates this kind of communication by posting “likes” and comments that friends make on other pages. In doing so, Facebook elevates the users’ comments and provokes reaction and continued conversation. Instagram now uses an algorithm similar to Facebook’s. In order to determine which posts might be the most relevant to users, reactive posts are used to boost the audience for a given proactive post.

Taco Bell’s burrito hostage situation on Instagram playfully demanded “likes” to keep a popular burrito on the menu, eliciting many reactive posts. In keeping with proper etiquette, Taco Bell promptly responded to consumers’ cries of delight and distress alike.

Want more on Gen We? Here are 5 things you need to know.

How to create an inspiring workplace and culture.

How to create an inspiring workplace and culture.
Spot the Brogan & Partners team member among the volunteers at this year’s Muir Valley Trial Days in Kentucky.

My job recently took me to Slade, Kentucky, home of Muir Valley—a nonprofit nature preserve in the Red River Gorge.

The Valley is a rock climber’s paradise, featuring 360 acres and seven miles of Corbin Sandstone cliffs with traditional and sport climbs that run 20- to over 200-feet-tall. Climbers trek here from all over the U.S. to discover more than 400 routes amid classic crags like Bruise Brothers, Midnight Surf and Land Before Time.

Here it’s not just the destination. The journey is equally spectacular, lined with oak, hickory, sugar maple and hemlock trees. Mountain laurel, rhododendron and bigleaf magnolias stretch and hover thick across the valley floor. Trails twist and climb, presenting waterfalls, caves and mountain streams.

This is a marketer’s dream. The creative brief would practically write itself. The Brogan Team would have a field day promoting this place.

But I didn’t go to Muir Valley to pitch business. There would be no campaign. Brogan sent me here simply to do good.

Like many progressive companies, Brogan & Partners encourages employees to contribute back to the community. We’re paid for a volunteer day annually and rewarded for sharing our time and talents to serve on nonprofit boards and committees. The agency partners with several nonprofits throughout the year, providing significant pro bono work and raising money for organizations like Game on Cancer.

Why doing good leads to great.

My volunteer day brought me to Muir Valley because it’s given my family so much. It’s where my son, Nick, travels with his rock climbing team in the summer. It’s where my daughter, Sofia, reads in peace and finds inspiration for short stories. It’s where we road trip on long weekends, catching up on the six-hour trip along I-75 and winding down in the hills of Kentucky.

At the very least, we owed Muir Valley a day’s work.

We joined 100 other outdoor enthusiasts to groom trails, build benches and bridges, paint outhouses and secure routes and belay areas. We met lots of new people. People just like us who had come to Kentucky’s Red River Gorge from far flung places like Brooklyn, N.Y. and Muncie, Indiana. And people who call the Valley home and volunteer regularly to ensure its integrity for generations.

We worked alongside Mike, a volunteer search and rescue team member at Muir Valley and longtime climber. Under his supervision, we pick axed, shoveled, dug and scraped post holes for new benches in the training area.

This was unfamiliar work for my family. We hiked to the job site with tools and relay teamed the building materials to the site. We learned how to use a green bar to break up a rock bed and how to secure a post by compacting soil, layer by layer, with a sledge hammer. We learned how to be flexible when nature proved otherwise.

It was hard work. By the end of the day we were exhausted and achy. But we felt amazing.

Volunteering is good business.

Volunteerism is good for the workplace, according to Deloitte’s 2017 Volunteerism Survey. It can boost morale, atmosphere and brand perception. It can make Millennial employees more proud, loyal and satisfied, and attract Gen Y talent. Survey results found that nearly two-thirds of Gen Y employees surveyed prefer companies that let them volunteer their skills.

These benefits span all generational cohorts, per the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) research. According to CTI data, older generations feel it is important to give back to their community or wider world through their workplace. This is true for 91 percent of Gen X women and 76 percent of Gen X men, and 90 percent of female and 79 percent of male Baby Boomers.

At Brogan, volunteerism contributes directly to our agency mission: creating an inspiring workplace and culture. I may have built benches in Kentucky but I came back to Brogan with so much more. Mission accomplished.

Want to learn more about what makes Brogan & Partners unique? Learn more.

Emojis are not for every brand. Here's why.

Emojis are taking over e-mail subject lines everywhere. 

A study by Appboy finds that the volume of “active customer messaging campaigns that include emojis” grew by 609 percent in just one year (June 2015-June 2016).

And why not? Most people like emojis, according to the same research. Sixty-four percent said they like or even love emojis. But that doesn’t translate into liking/loving the brands that apply emojis liberally.

Of the 540 participants in the Appboy survey, 39 percent said brands that use emojis are fun; another 13 percent said the brands are relatable. The balance, however, found messages with emojis to be at best “normal” and at worst “childish” or “inappropriate.”

This tracks with research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science that considered how consumers react to a smiling face versus a smiley face.  What they found should give you pause before punctuating your next email campaign with an emoji.

Researchers discovered that people who smile are perceived as more competent than those who wear a neutral face—whether live and in person, or in a photo. But people who use smiley emojis are seen as less competent. 

This is especially true for work-related e-mails.

"The study also found when the participants were asked to respond to e-mails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the e-mail did not include a smiley,” said lead author Ella Glikson. "We found that the perceptions of low competence if a smiley is included in turn undermined information sharing" (Telegraph.co.uk, Aug. 14, 2017).

So, when is it okay for a brand to use an emoji?

Emojis aren’t made to be taken seriously. The Appboy study said as much (39 percent of respondents said brands that use them are “fun”). So, if you’re a light-hearted brand, say in the food and beverage business, travel and tourism or entertainment industry, an emoji may be just the right amount of cowbell for your campaign.

Some channels are more emoji worthy, according to the Appboy research. Survey participants were most open to receiving brand messages with emojis via text message (37 percent) or social media (28 percent) rather than through messaging apps, email or push notifications. Consider this sweet tweet from Baskin-Robbins. Now that’s fun.

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Results. Strategic insights that deliver more "aha" moments. Creative that makes an emotional connection. Account service that creates happy clients. And metrics that move your business forward. We guarantee you'll be delighted.

Client Hurrahs

  • Brogan & Partners has worked on a wide variety of health issues for us over the years. They have not only consistently provided innovative ideas and award winning campaigns, but they continue to help us work towards our overall goal of improving the health of Michigan residents.  Their creativity, expertise, and enthusiasm makes them an invaluable partner in our... More

  • Hiring Brogan & Partners to help Michigan Women’s Foundation create the brand and messaging around the campaign to raise millions of dollars to solve the backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit was a slam dunk!  With a well-deserved reputation for getting to the heart of complex and highly-charged issues with clear, action-driven communications, the Brogan team... More

  • A well-oiled machine operates at full performance, fluid and unyielding. At Frankenmuth Insurance we have often referred to Brogan & Partners as a well-oiled machine. Our experience with Brogan has been very strong and successful from the start. We view our partners at Brogan as an extension of our own staff. They are readily available to us at any time and deliver... More

  • When launching a startup, resources are very constrained and a startup has to pick its partners very carefully and with deliberation. There were many services that we have had to forego in the early stages of our company, Memloom. One crucial need, however, was identifying and aligning with a strong marketing partner who could help us with our brand, positioning and... More

  • We have been working with the Brogan team for the past 18 months. The Brogan team has truly been our marketing partner. They guided us through development our brand and messaging. They lead our our website redesign and deployment. And they provide excellent counsel on business development and market entry strategies. More

  • From the very first meeting we had with Brogan & Partners, it was clear that they had done their research on PREZIO Health, our competitors and the industry.  It has been  a very positive experience working with the Brogan & Partners team to re-design all of our service and product sheets as well as the total re-design of our website.  Their creativity is top-... More

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