An inspirational video to transform patient experience.

An inspirational video to transform patient experience.

"When you pity people who are sick, you take away their power."

This from a wise-beyond-her-years cystic fibrosis patient, Claire Wineland, with her proclamation that we need to change the way we treat sick people. She should know, as she spent a lot of her childhood in a hospital room and claims she was "100% content and happy with her life". In fact, the majority of her happiest moments were when she was sick in the hospital. Maybe because she always decked out her room with cool furniture, throw pillows and twinkle lights that illuminated not only hers, but the lives of all the doctors, nurses and staff who would come by to check it out. Maybe because she did not tie her undying joy to how healthy she was. Maybe because she put her pain and suffering to work with the founding of Claire's Place Foundation, in support of families living with cystic fibrosis.

"Everyone in the medical community gets so stuck in this notion that a hospital room is this cold, sterile, white place where we go to be sick — and that that's all it can be," said Claire. She claims our lives are like empty hospital rooms. We all have the capacity to turn an empty hospital room into something beautiful. And that no matter what, we can make our lives a piece of art. Like hers was.

There will be no more medical staff visits to Claire's New York loft-style patient room, as she passed away earlier this month at the young age of 21. But wouldn't it be awesome if her inspirational video could be included in sensitivity training for doctors, nurses and PAs? If we could transform the patient experience by empowering patients, rather than pitying them? If we could think the way she did when creating our next healthcare marketing campaign?

Watching her short video may be the most memorable thing you do today. It was for me when I caught it on Facebook last week. Let us know if it touched your heart.

For more on the patient experience, check out our blog, Patient Experience Dept. RX: Empathy Specialist Consult.

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Cosmetic Surgery Advertising: The changing face of medical marketing.

Cosmetic Surgery Advertising: The changing face of medical marketing.

You turn on your car radio, and an announcer is shouting that you can "Buy one, get one free!" And he's not talking about sandals or smartphones. He's talking about cosmetic surgery procedures — facelifts, tummy tucks, and breast augmentation.

If, like me, you find this downright creepy, don't blame the American Medical Association. The AMA used to prohibit physicians from advertising procedures. However, in 1982, the Supreme Court ruled that this ban constituted an unlawful restraint on trade. Now plastic and cosmetic surgeons are free to augment their image (so to speak) with advertising.

Most board-certified plastic surgeons are ethical physicians doing quality work. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons states in their Code of Ethics that members' marketing should not include any statement or claim that "appeals primarily to layperson's fears, anxieties, or emotional vulnerabilities." This is a pretty subjective standard, however. Who isn't at least a little emotionally vulnerable about their appearance? And if you weren't, would you even be considering plastic surgery?

To further complicate the issue, most consumers don't realize that there is a difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery includes reconstructive surgery (breast reconstruction, cleft palate correction, hand surgery) as well as cosmetic procedures. Plastic surgeons are governed by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Certification by the board requires years of training as well as oral and written examinations. Most hospitals will only allow board-certified plastic surgeons to operate in their facilities.

A cosmetic surgeon, on the other hand, can be a physician originally trained in another specialty, or even a non-physician with some medical training who has set up his own business (for instance, dentists have gone into cosmetic surgery practice). They usually perform surgeries in their own offices, because they don't have hospital privileges.

The Ick Factor: When ads cross the line

While the ASPS cautions against preying on the emotionally vulnerable or making unrealistic claims, some advertisers clearly haven't gotten the message. Just quickly browsing a few cosmetic surgery websites, I found one that promises you can "recapture the youth you thought time had stolen away," and another that promotes surgery as "a last resort before you hit the resort," implying that you should have surgery to look better on your beach vacation. The "recapture youth" website also included some obviously photoshopped before-and-after photos of an older woman.

Recapturing youth isn't the only pitch. Disturbingly, the market for cosmetic procedures is getting younger and younger. A recent study identified a phenomenon called "Snapchat Dysmorphia" — unrealistic standards of beauty young people develop as a result of viewing themselves through Snapchat filters. Doctors report a growing number of young people bringing filtered or edited photos of themselves and asking for procedures to make them look more like the edited images. While psychiatrists see this as a troubling development, some marketers see it as a potential gold mine. The website of a company specializing in marketing for cosmetic surgeons urges clients, "Don't miss out on the opportunity to reach out to this younger and more looks-conscious crowd," saying millennials love treatments that will give them "even better-looking selfies." They also recommend that surgeons push combination packages — two surgeries done at once, for a discount.

The high point on the ick factor scale, however, goes to a doctor in Miami who airs video of his surgeries on Snapchat — not just the results, but the actual procedures — with hip-hop music blaring in the operating room.

Should advertising for cosmetic surgery be regulated — or even banned?

This is a topic that's been hotly debated, especially in the U.K. Some argue, however, that this unfairly penalizes legitimate, ethical surgeons from educating consumers about their services. In the United States, at least, it looks like the ads are here to stay. So consumers considering plastic surgery should do their research well. In the world of cosmetic surgery advertising, appearances can be deceiving.

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What people ask smart speakers most.

What people ask smart speakers most.

I was enjoying dinner with friends a couple years back when the hostess asked Alexa to play 80s music. There were only eight of us seated around the table and nobody was called Alexa. So I wasn't surprised when the room didn't suddenly fill with dance music or new wave.

But the hostess invoked the mystery guest again, this time a little louder and with a slight edge. "Alexa, play 80s music!" Tears for Fears obliged, "Shout. Shout. Let it all out…"

Roland Orzabal had only started the first verse when the hostess rebuked: "Alexa, not so loud."

"Nice party trick," I thought, as other guests answered my questions before I'd uttered a word. "We use ours mostly to connect with Nest," someone commented. "I got one for Christmas," chimed another. "Haven't even taken it out of the box yet. Where am I going to put that thing?"

Nearly four years later, the voice-activated tech is still playing the hits more than most anything else.

Music is the most popular request smart speaker owners make, according to a recent survey of 1,200 U.S. adults. News is the second most common command, with distant topics including "how to" instructions, retail store information, history, movies, sports, among others.

Information Topics Most Requested on Smart Speakers 2018

Consumers also use their smart speakers to control other smart-home devices, like thermostats, lights and locks; and ask for information, like weather forecasts or news updates. The ways in which consumers can use Alexa continue to proliferate as third-party developers create additional Alexa skills—apps that give Alexa even more abilities, connecting her to more devices and even websites. Currently, 45,000 Alexa skills are available.

But for the most part, consumers with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home don't use the devices for shopping. Per the research, 26.1 percent of consumers who own such devices have used them to make a purchase, and 16 percent of owners do monthly "voice shopping" using their smart speakers.

Sources who have seen Amazon's market intelligence say that the percentage of voice shoppers is significantly lower, with only about 2 percent of consumers with Alexa-powered devices (mainly Amazon Echo speakers) using them for shopping in the first seven months of 2018, according to Gartner Iconoculture research.

Their intelligence also suggests that most consumers who have tried Alexa for shopping didn't do it a second time (, 6 August 2018). Still, 20 percent of Amazon Echo owners have used Alexa for shopping-related information, like finding deals or tracking purchases (that were probably made on another device)—just not purchases.

While voice-activated search may be off to a relatively sluggish start, brands are nonetheless optimistic. More than 1,200 brands have built apps and products that rely on Amazon Echo and Google Home (, 23 June 2017).

Regardless of whether consumers use smart speakers for little more than play lists, it's impossible to deny their popularity. Amazon is expected to have sold 128 million Echo speakers by 2020 (RBC Capital Markets, 9 March 2017); by 2022, 55 percent of U.S. households will own always-listening voice speakers (Jupiter Research, 11 August 2017).

Before taking your brand boldly into the smart speaker space, consider the nuances between typed search and audible search. Claiming organic territory is always worth the effort and will inform Alexa Skills or other advertising applications.

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Healthcare Checkup - August 2018

Is the patient medical bill part of your consumer journey mapping? With 83% of Americans finding high medical costs a big problem, it should be. Are you communicating properly with your burgeoning multi-cultural audiences? Taking advantage of Instagram Stories? Thinking about self-driving autos as your next nontraditional media vehicle? Learn about all this AND find out what a "clinical quarterback" is in this month's Checkup.


What your healthcare journey map is missing. Your healthcare system is a marketing marvel. You've mastered and meticulously addressed every step of the consumer journey. Except one. Learn how and why it could all be undone by a couple pieces of paper delivered by a mailman.

Closing the multicultural-consumer healthcare gap. Multicultural consumers conceptualize and experience health and wellness through a distinctive cultural lens that is ill-suited for the one-size-fits-all attitude adopted by the majority of the American healthcare system. With $1.3 trillion in multicultural healthcare spending, connecting with this burgeoning audience is key to marketers.


How autonomous vehicles are driving the future of advertising. As the conversation about self-driving cars shifts from "if" to "when," it's important to set your brand up or success in this new era. If the next great media channel is the self-driving car, will you brand be ready to kick it into gear?

7 Instagram Story features you should be using. Since launching in 2016, Instagram Stories has increased in popularity with nearly 400 million Instagram Stories every day. Here are seven features your brand should be using.


Everyone deserves a holistic, patient-centric health care system. Aetna's president, Karen Lynch, summarizes the results of the company's Health Ambition Study. Learn how "clinical quarterbacks" work with members to create personalized, holistic care plans to answer consumer needs and achieve true transformation.

Americans are closely divided over value of medical treatments, but most agree costs are a big problem. According to new Pew Research Center survey, 83% of Americans, regardless of their income, say a big problem is that the high cost of medical treatments makes quality care unaffordable.


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.

Closing the multicultural-consumer healthcare gap.

Closing the multicultural-consumer healthcare gap.

My Eastern European dad believed that garlic cured pretty much all of what might ail you.

At the first sign of a cold, he'd peel a garlic clove and scrape it liberally across a slice of toast. The balance of the bulb would be chopped, stewed and chewed until the virus surrendered.

Sweat was another key part of his treatment regimen. He'd dress in layers of sweats, wear wool socks and a knitted cap. He'd tie a scarf around his neck like an ascot, whether for insulation or humor's sake. He would never visit a doctor because that would mean being sick, which he regarded as a character flaw—something he could and should control.

My dad inherited his healthcare rituals and attitude from his parents, Czechoslovakian immigrants who adapted well to a new country but clung to cultural beliefs. Like garlic is medicine, sweat is therapeutic and hospitals are for the dying.

Culture has a significant influence on healthcare, according to research by Gartner Iconoculture. Today, multicultural consumers—notably Latino, African American and Asian American—face historical and universal barriers to accessing and receiving healthcare. And it's not for lack of consumer motivation or effort.

Multicultural consumers are highly engaged health consumers with big aspirations (CEB Iconoculture Values and Lifestyle Survey, October 2017). Twenty-five percent of multicultural consumers use holistic care for health, compared to 21 percent of Caucasians. African American consumers, especially, say they do whatever it takes to prevent illness. Forty-seven percent of Asian Americans follow a specific diet to maintain physical health versus 32 percent of Caucasians.

But multicultural consumers feel overlooked and misunderstood when it comes to healthcare in the U.S.

"Doctors aren't listening to us, just to be quite frank," said tennis great Serena Williams in an interview with BBC Sports after experiencing harrowing childbirth complications. Black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers (, 7 December 2017).

Three barriers that stand between multicultural consumers and healthcare

Gartner Iconoculture discovered three prevailing pain points in the research shared by Latino, African American and Asian healthcare consumers:

  1. Attitude. "Multicultural consumers conceptualize and experience health and wellness through a distinctive cultural lens that is ill-suited for the one-size-fits-all attitude adopted by the majority of the American healthcare system."

    When Latinos talk about healthcare, it's through the lens of Familisimo—strong family loyalty. They lean on community for guidance and motivation. Said a Latino Millennial male CEB Iconoculture focus group participant: "The people I work out with are Hispanic and we're making good health choices together. Saturday runs really turned into a social half hour. We're each other's therapists. We share best practices."

    Cultural barriers to understanding prompt African American healthcare cause consumers to take healthcare into their own hands. Asian Americans, meanwhile, expect health to be quantifiable and measurable.

  2. Access. "Multicultural consumers feel stigmatized by the biases of traditional healthcare's institutional system, making them wary of utilizing care and preferring more personalized, informal options from within their own community."

    Only one in three African American consumers agrees that the healthcare system is designed to help everyone, regardless of ethnicity (versus over half of Caucasian consumers). "Black people don't really trust institutions. Institutions haven't really been for us," an African American Gen Xer said in a recent focus group for CEB IconoCommunities.

    Latinos expect healthcare to be relatable, ideally culturally but at the very least practically. Put another way by a female Boomer who participated in the focus group research: "You're not hearing me. I don't understand what's going on with the medical field. I know they care, otherwise they wouldn't be here. (But) in wanting to get well, you walk outside with $600 in product."

    Asians are uniquely willing to use the healthcare system and actually look forward to checkups.

  3. Approach. "As a whole, multicultural consumers prefer culturally contingent alternatives (related to their distinct ethnic experience) over the prescribed medical interventions of the traditional healthcare system.">

    Alternative healthcare treatments connect Latinos to their culture and community. Asians stick with science and proven Western medicine. African Americans are more open to integrative or purity-based alternatives. "I put onion in my kids' socks. It draws the cold and the toxins out of your body. And sometimes I rub their chests with apple cider vinegar or Vicks," said an African American female Boomer who participated in the focus group research.

In sum, a total market approach to healthcare doesn't work. Marketers need to consider cultural influences and beliefs in order to treat the whole person, from access and prevention to diagnosis, treatment and recovery. All healthcare consumers deserve to be empathetically understood.

Reaching out and serving multicultural healthcare consumers is also a burgeoning market opportunity. There's about a $28 billion opportunity for the consumer health products space alone, and $1.3 trillion in healthcare spending — a number that will continue to grow as our country becomes more diversified.

Is your healthcare journey map missing a key step? Find out now.

Weekly Recap - August 10, 2018

Step up your social media game with polls to get your audience involved. Then take a micro-break to test out a mobile game before you buy—without even leaving Facebook. And in case you ever wondered, this is your brain on ads.


How to use social polls to boost audience engagement and brand awareness. Getting your audience to engage with your social content can be tricky, with even well-written content and eye-catching videos sometimes falling flat. But words and images aren't the only tools at your disposal—social media polls are one of the most overlooked options for boosting interaction, and increasing brand awareness through participation and shares.

Facebook's new 'Playable Ads' let you try mobile game demos right in your newsfeed. Thursday, Facebook introduced a new ad solution with mobile game developers in mind. Dubbed "playable ads," the feature lets video game marketers serve ads that give users the chance to try before buying.

This is your brain on ads: How media companies hijack your attention. After you read this sentence, pause for a moment to think back on advertisements you first heard when you were a child. Perhaps you recall a favorite jingle or the catchphrase of a cereal mascot. You probably can remember more than just one.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

What your healthcare journey map is missing. Your healthcare system is poised for marketing greatness—Press Ganey, HEDIS, CAHPS and Medicare 5 Star quality greatness. And yet it all could be undone by a couple pieces of paper delivered by a mailman.


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What your healthcare journey map is missing.

Image of a patient and physician discussing treatment.

Your healthcare system is a marketing marvel. Your team is working every relevant consumer channel to connect, engage and convert patient prospects. Leadership has entrusted you with more than the push and pull of advertising mechanics, recognizing marketing as integral to the consumer experience.

Your marketing team now sits elbow to elbow with the overseers of quality, service and cost—directors of service line clinical excellence and integration, regional clinic and market operations, provider services, continuum of care, clinical pharmacy, clinical review, health plan operations, quality improvement, among others.

Together you carefully shepherd patients from ailment to diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Your website is a magnet for search inquiries. Your CTAs have been strategically mapped and pixels placed. Your email automation program is set to distribute just the right amount of content at just the right time. Your digital retargeting campaign is gently reminding prospects to consider your hospital, your medical staff, your plan, your value.

Your system is poised for greatness—Press Ganey, HEDIS, CAHPS and Medicare 5 Star quality greatness.

And yet it all could be undone by a couple pieces of paper delivered by a mailman.

How a bill can undermine even the most rigorous health consumer journey map.

Earlier this year, Kaiser Health News and NPR launched a crowd-sourced investigation into healthcare bills. Since that time, the news organizations have received hundreds of reader submissions—rate crushing, brand diminishing, reputation devastating submissions.

Called "Bill of the Month Club," editors choose one entry to prove assorted healthcare injustices. Like inefficiency and inflated costs. A recent entry from an Oklahoma patient featured a $15,076 price tag for a few implanted screws, and sparked a social media frenzy (, 19 July 2018).

The patient, 57-year-old Sherry Young, a retired mother of two on disability had undergone two operations on the same day to treat a shoulder injury and a debilitating foot problem. The second procedure involved removing a part of bone from the center of two toes and reconnecting them with four surgical screws. The total cost of both procedures and a three-day hospital stay was $115,527.

Two weeks after she was released, Young received word from her insurance company that her hospital stay had not been approved. The patient panicked, fretting that she would be responsible for the cost. She requested an itemized bill which, among other surprises, included $15,076 for four screws that measure 2.8 millimeters wider and 14 millimeters long.

Young dug deeper, requesting the part number for the screws so she could contact the manufacturer and learn the list price. Reporters for NPR and Kaiser Health News also dug in, publishing this.

At last count, the story had been shared nearly 7,000 times, with many Canadian commenters weighing in, too. In one thread, Richard Bott of British Columbia suggested, "When health is considered a for-profit commodity, this is exactly what will happen in an unregulated system."

Consumers and providers are responding to the concrete example with critiques and calls to action. "It's so important to ask healthcare entities for itemized receipts!" tweeted someone from the Kansas City Direct Primary Care Twitter account.

No one is asking how Young has fared after her surgeries. Is she walking better? Has her quality of life improved? How was her clinical experience? Did she have to wait long to see a specialist? Did the medical staff treat her like a person and not a condition? Were the rooms nicely appointed? How was the food? How long did it take for her to recover? Would she recommend the surgeon? The hospital?

Healthcare costs are making consumers more anxious than ever.

The cost of healthcare is now the biggest driver of consumer financial uncertainty—bigger than covering the monthly bills, paying a mortgage or being able to afford retirement, according to CEB Iconoculture research. And the threat is far reaching, impacting the young, healthy, fully employed and fully insured.

According to CEB Iconoculture research, consumers are increasingly stressed out about healthcare costs.

For marketers within the healthcare industry, prioritizing consumers' understanding of coverage and options, providing care throughout the patient journey—especially billing—and creating tools that help consumers better plan are critical next steps.

Of course the implications extend well beyond healthcare. A majority of consumers (67 percent) worry that their lifestyles could be significantly impacted by just one job loss, market crash or health problem (CEB Iconoculture State of America Survey, September 2017.) Healthcare worries are especially troubling, with 64 percent of consumers citing concerns that unexpected medical issues could jeopardize their financial security.

Increased healthcare costs have already impacted consumer spending. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (February, 2016), household healthcare spending increased between 2010 and 2016, while spending on housing, food, transportation, entertainment and clothing all decreased. Consumers are bracing for further household budget cutbacks if healthcare costs continue to climb.

Consumers are preparing to cut household spending if healthcare costs continue to climb.

Consumers aren't optimistic about healthcare costs. Nor should they be.

Since the early 2000s, employees have been increasingly shouldering more and more of the cost of healthcare coverage—copays, higher premiums and deductibles. Most expect costs to increase annually come benefits renewal. In fact, premiums for family coverage have increased 55 percent since 2007 and the average deductible for insured workers has climbed 67 percent from 2017 (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2017).

It's not surprising consumers are stressed out about the cost of healthcare. But what can healthcare marketers do about it?

Marketing does not control healthcare costs. Marketing can control the message.

Billing is an integral part of the consumer journey—especially when it comes to healthcare. Unlike most expenses, consumers are unusually vulnerable when they become patients. They have little or no control over their circumstances. They may be faced with a life altering or life threatening condition. Cost may be on their mind, but it's dwarfed by emotions and concerns about aspirations, livelihood, family, future.

This is a job for marketing. You know better than anyone else how to communicate with this audience. They are the same prospects you carefully profiled, attracted and converted to prefer your healthcare system. You know where they live, work and play; what they value and most desire. You mapped their journey but neglected to include a primary human need—financial security.

Completing the patient experience cycle begins with the end. For starters, review your system's billing process and assets. The bill may be their last and most lasting impression. The goal here is to empathize with the patient throughout their journey. It's not only the right thing to do; it's the best thing for your brand. Advocate for patients and they'll reward you with loyalty and referrals.

Four ways to optimize the healthcare consumer journey.

  1. Invite the Billing Department to the Customer Experience Team. Invite them to present the process and bring sample bills. Accounts Receivable should align with your brand promise, from the design of assets to messaging and customer service. Consider random audits, an internal version of Bill of the Month Club.
  2. Help patients plan and save. Patients are often overwhelmed with the emotional aspects of healthcare. In advance of procedures and treatment, reach out and have a frank discussion about cost. People often feel as though they're getting the runaround as they're handed back and forth between providers, specialists and insurers. Geisinger has introduced ProvenExperience, which offers refunds to patients based on their interactions with doctors, staff and the clinic overall.
  3. Use layman's terms, not legalese. Patients struggle enough with the medical terminology used to describe their conditions, treatments and recovery. Using simple language will go a long way in improving the patient experience and helping care-avoidant consumers feel more confident. ClearHealthCosts is a journalism project working to shrink the gap in consumer understanding by shedding light on the hidden costs of healthcare.
  4. Invite patient reviews. Develop a succinct, but thorough script to follow up with patients after the bill has been sent. The script should include opportunity for patients to ask questions about the details of the bill and conclude with an overall evaluation of their system experience. Conclude by asking patients to rate their experience using an automatic text- or email-based program that triggers an immediate response.

Get monthly insights and trends curated just for healthcare marketing professionals. Sign up for the Brogan Healthcare Checkup.

Weekly Recap - August 3, 2018

Mini-Me says one billion dollars, and Apple says 1 trillion. Technology could save your life, doctors are 3-D printing organs to give a hand in the operating room. Nobody really knows the extent of the impact that technology has on kids, but we're about to find out. 7 ways to utilize Instagram stories to get the most attention on your page. How giving back can build your business.


4 things retailers should learn from Apple as it nears $1 trillion market cap. Apple Inc. stock jumped to another record high Wednesday, bringing its market cap ever closer to the $1 trillion market cap that no other U.S. company has ever achieved. All this after the release of strong iPhone sales and better-than-expected fiscal Q3 results and outlook. In addition, CEO Tim Cook who is easing investor concerns about a potential impact on demand in Apple's key growth market, said he's "optimistic" that the U.S.-China trade war will "get sorted out."

Hospital turns to 3-D printing technology. Replica organ models, however, like those printed by biomedical engineer Greg Gagnon in an office in Baystate's intensive care unit, can get him as close to reality as possible without actually cutting a patient open. With support from the hospital's administration, self-taught Gagnon is singlehandedly changing the way Baystate surgeons plan their work.

Tech's impact on kids: Lawmakers push for research. The studies will explore a handful of mediums, from social media, apps and games to movies, mobile devices and virtual reality, and their effects on infant, child and teen cognitive and physical health. The research would also inform parents and policymakers about issues today's youth face in the digital age, including bullying and depression, according to Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts who introduced the bill.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

7 Instagram story features you should be using. Instagram Stories was the platform enhancer we (and brands) never knew we needed. It has become a powerful way for brands to inspire and engage with users. Since launching in 2016, it has increased in popularity with nearly 400 million Instagram accounts using Instagram Stories every day.

Why cause marketing should be your top priority. Teenagers have a voice and they are not afraid to make it heard. 68% of teens believe corporations have a larger obligation to the good of society. More than 25% of teens have been to a rally or boycotted a company. Teens are watching, which is why your involvement and contribution to the greater good matters.


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Weekly Recap - July 13, 2018

Because of its convenience and variety of products offered, Amazon has quickly climbed to the top of the retail food chain. Facebook wants to let you try on clothing and accessories from your bed. Machines have brains, and they're growing too. With so many options from so many brands, consumers are trying new products all the time. Brands are having a harder time gaining loyal repeat customers.


Amazon has global aspirations for medical-supplies marketplace. Inc. has global aspirations for its medical-supplies marketplace, according to a job listing posted on its website, highlighting the e-commerce giant's sweeping ambitions to disrupt health care by selling products to hospitals, doctors and dentists and offering prescription drugs.

Facebook is testing augmented reality ads in the news feed. For the uninitiated, augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digital images onto real world objects. For example, when people play Pokemon Go on their smartphone, the technology that visually superimposes Pokemon on their street corner is considered AR.

Machine learning vs. artificial intelligence: How are they different? Artificial intelligence and machines have become a part of everyday life, but that doesn't mean we understand them well. Do you know the difference between machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)?

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

The new fundamentals of brand loyalty. Consumers say they're loyal. In a recent CEB Iconoculture survey, more than half of consumers cited preference for brands in personal care products, food and non-alcoholic beverages and clothing, shoes and accessories. But preference doesn't necessarily mean repeat purchase—which is how brands measure loyalty.

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."


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Weekly Recap - July 6, 2018

Ditching doctors and relying on Facebook. Millennials are skipping out of traditional practices and turning to social media to diagnose and treat their illness. Out with the old and in with the new. Billie earns r e s p e c t with its new campaign that dares to show that natural women have body hair (gasp!). How brands can appreciate all cultures and avoid cultural appropriation.


Can social media have a positive impact on global healthcare? While Millennials are highly focused on healthy living, 93 percent of them aren't scheduling appointments with doctors for preventative healthcare. Instead, they are making use of urgent care when they become ill.

Start a new (good) habit, kill an old (bad) one. Habits – actions performed with little conscious thought and often unwittingly triggered by external cues – are powerful influences on behavior and can be our greatest allies for positive change. But because they are so difficult to break, habits are also frequent saboteurs of personal progress.

Razor company earns praise for showing women with body hair. Razor company, Billie, is showing women with body hair as part of their Project Body Hair campaign – and people on social media are loving it. The brand claims they are the first women's razor company to show women's body hair in an ad for "more than 100 years.""

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

When cultural appreciation becomes cultural appropriation. By its simplest definition, cultural appropriation is using pieces of other cultures without having or showing a respect or understanding for that culture. There are many ways in which popular culture and advertisers can avoid this mistake.

THE Topic of conversation

Authenticity. Discover which brands are getting real and how to market authenticity across genders, generations and ethnic groups. Download our free whitepaper "3 Rules to Creating an Authentic Brand."


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Healthcare Checkup - June 2018

Featuring a nurse in your new ad campaign may just break through. As would sponsoring a wellness festival. Baking and board games resonate creatively with Gen We. And from Gen We to Matures, people are dropping mobile e-shopping. Check up on this and more.


Nurses: vital in the hospital, invisible in the media. Gallop polls indicate nurses are the most trusted profession. So why are they so under-represented in the media?

Wellness festivals: It's what health junkies rave. Multi-day yoga, hiking, massages, and other well-being experiences beat out music festivals for the growing number of health junkies.


Gen We and the redefinition of creativity. When you hear the word, 'creativity', what do you think? Art, drama, music, creative writing? Gen We says there's much more.

Everything's mobile, so why are more shoppers using computers? Mobile e-purchasing dropped from 43% to 36% over the past 2 years and not just among Boomers and Matures. Learn why keeping cross-screen in the forefront is key to the consumer experience.


Answers to 3 frequently asked telehealth questions. Get ready-to-use Advisory Board slides on the latest telehealth trends for 2018.

3 affordable types of videos to boost your marketing. 85% of consumers say they'd like to see even more brand-centric videos. Carve out some space in your budget for livestreams, interview pieces and helpful how-tos.


For more inspiration, read our Key takeaways from the Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit.

Weekly Recap - June 29, 2018

Microsoft sends healthcare to the cloud. Instagram asks, what's cool? A billion users. A billion users is cool. Don't think you're addicted to your phone? Apple does. They're tracking your screen time, and now, you can too. The hectic craze of music festivals is being rivaled by a new kind of festival, wellness festivals.


Microsoft Healthcare is a new effort to push doctors to the cloud. Microsoft has been working on health-related initiatives for years, but the company is now bringing its efforts together into a new Microsoft Healthcare team.

How Instagram is eating the world. Last week, Instagram sent the worlds of entertainment, content and social media into a collective fit with its announcement of IGTV, a longer-form vertical video service.

Apple's screen time feature proves you're addicted to your iPhone. Research shows that young adults spend about five hours a day on their devices and glance at them 50 to 60 times. A survey from Deloitte put that figure at 47 times daily.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Wellness festivals: It's what health junkies rave. Coachella is synonymous with popular music, celebrity, style and excess. (In sum, Beyonce headlined this year backed by more than a hundred musicians and dancers, with special appearances by Destiny's Child, Solange and Jay-Z.) The weeklong Boho fest is many things, healthy not so much.

THE Topic of conversation

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