Communications Lessons from the Empowered Healthcare Consumer

Healthcare spending has comprised a very large and growing portion of the U.S. economy for decades, and healthcare policy is a constant in the national media dialogue. At the same time, even with those two fundamentals remaining largely unchanged, there is a massive shift taking place where consumers, driven by Millennials and GenZ (and GenZennials), have taken ownership of their personal wellness in an unprecedented way. Traditional healthcare providers, and newer alternative wellness companies, are succeeding in the marketplace by taking notice and connecting with young consumers who increasingly view their “health” equal to their “wealth.” Therefore, coining a new train of thought: “Well-thy.”

Access to “traditional” medicine has changed dramatically in just the past decade. Online patient portals, with viewable medical records and test results, physician messaging, and other features have become the norm. These advancements in convenience, along with virtual and video doctor or nurse visits, have broken down the walls that previously housed information and access on the provider side rather than with patients. Younger generations have come of age in terms of managing their own healthcare during this time, contributing to the demographics’ expectations of convenience and empowerment. Brands must position themselves and be perceived on these terms, or risk missing out on a tremendous shift and opportunity.

While a handful of self-empowerment-oriented wellness companies have been on the scene and trailblazing for decades, opportunities outside of traditional medicine have seen new industries enter the marketplace to an enthusiastic embrace by the consumer. Promoting alternative wellness as part of everyday life, these companies have re-calibrated what an ordinary day-to-day looks like. For many, personal fitness monitors, supplements and aromatherapy are equally, if not more important, than seeing a doctor when they’re sick or for regular check-ups. Alternative wellness companies all have one thing in common – a sense of community with an emphasis on individual empowerment and betterment.

What communications lessons can your brand learn from companies that are succeeding and growing their business within this paradigm shift?      

Brands must take intentional steps to build meaningful connections, and make their products more accessible, to younger generations. Have you noticed that large insurance companies and hospital systems are emphasizing personal attention and a focus on overall wellness in their campaigns? This is truly a significant shift from how medicine was perceived only a generation ago. All entities in the health and wellness space would do well to think about how approachable their brand is, and what they are doing to engage with consumers on a personal level.

As an extension, consider who the face of your company (and its products) is. Make sure that brand ambassadors convey loyalty and authenticity to your target audience. Part of that authenticity means allowing consumers to experience the brand – some companies have empowered their customers to create unique, personalized versions of products, or told personal stories about how trusted intermediaries are benefiting – specifically – from a product. Oftentimes, these become newsworthy experiences that further reinforce a brand’s reputation.

There is every indication that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. As technology continues to give consumers unprecedented access to information about themselves, and the world around them, a health and wellness approach centered around meaningful and personal connections with consumers will continue to be a very large and talked-about part of the economy and our lives.

You won’t need a turtleneck to be creative

We often ask our self the question, where do good ideas come from? and we seem to be sure that a great idea is born in a single incident, Eureka! .. like Newton’s apple. Moreover, we think creative ideas come from the selected few, guys with turtleneck sweaters and rounded glasses, or it has to […]

Der Beitrag You won’t need a turtleneck to be creative erschien zuerst auf Serviceplan Blog.

The “March on Google” has been quashed by the nonexistent “alt-left”

Depending on your definition, self-proclaimed free-speech warriors or jurisprudence ignorant snowflakes have been planning to protest the firing of former Google engineer James Damore, who wrote and published the internal memo that questioned the company’s diversity efforts using both false equivalences and pseudoscience about gender. The so-called “March on Google” was planned for nine cities as … Continue reading “The “March on Google” has been quashed by the nonexistent “alt-left””

Depending on your definition, self-proclaimed free-speech warriors or jurisprudence ignorant snowflakes have been planning to protest the firing of former Google engineer James Damore, who wrote and published the internal memo that questioned the company’s diversity efforts using both false equivalences and pseudoscience about gender. The so-called “March on Google” was planned for nine cities as a way to fight free speech (despite the fact that this is very clearly not a free speech issue).

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Target’s TV Spots Win the Most Back-to-School Eyeballs

TV may be the most expensive, but it may not be the most effective way of reaching the back-to-school crowd, one study showed.

As the second-most crucial shopping season, back-to-school time attracts big marketing dollars. Last year, the period saw $251 million in advertising spending, up 12% from 2015, according to Kantar Media.

For the period between June and early August, however, parents paid 8% less attention to back-to-school ads on TV than non-parents, according to a study from TVision Insights, which measures consumers’ attention to TV. Parents may be more distracted than non-parents, says Dan Schiffman, chief revenue officer and co-founder of TVision.

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Late-Night TV Hosts Raced To Condemn Trump’s Late-Breaking Press Conference

Colbert leads the charge on a night when late-breaking Trump news made all the hosts scramble to craft a proper last-minute response.

Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump held an apparently impromptu press conference at Trump Tower, during which he doubled down on the idea that there were “many sides” at fault for the deadly violence in Charlottesvile over the weekend. If anything, the rhetoric he used while answering reporters’ questions was even more inflammatory than his remarks on Saturday, which drew seething criticism for their vagueness in condemning white supremacists–and completely eliminated any whiff of goodwill Trump may have accrued from eventually calling out the KKK and neo-Nazis on Monday.

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It’s Summertime, and for Broadcasters, the Livin’ is Queasy

On the heels of a second quarter that saw broadcast primetime C3 deliveries plummet 15% from the period a year earlier, the ratings free fall accelerated further in July as the exodus of younger viewers from traditional TV carried on with what’s become to seem a sort of grim inevitability.

According to Nielsen C3 data, broadcast ratings in July fell 17% from the analogous month in 2016, as deliveries of adults age 18-to-49 continued to be undermined by defections among viewers at the dewier margins of the demo. July PUT levels (industry argot for “Persons Using Television”) were down 20% among the 18-to-24 set, and while that age range represents a fraction of the overall target demo, many execs fear that younger consumers who’ve hightailed it for the more immediate gratifications of digital media are unlikely to return to the cozy precincts of traditional TV.

All told, the Big Four networks in July averaged 3.83 million adults 18 to 49, which works out to a 3.0 rating in the C3 currency. That’s down from the 4.63 million targeted viewers broadcasters served up in July 2016, which works out to a 3.6 C3 rating. (A rough weighted-average measurement of the commercial impressions notched within the first three days after a program’s premiere, C3 has served as the official yardstick of the TV business for a decade.)

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Mashable Hires Bankers to Study Options Including Sale

Mashable is exploring strategic options including the sale of all or part of the online media company, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Mashable, founded in 2005, may draw interest from buyers in Europe and the U.S., said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The company said Tuesday it hired LionTree Advisors months ago to seek more capital and isn’t in conversations about a sale.

Pete Cashmore, who founded the media company at age 19 in Aberdeen, Scotland, held talks to sell Mashable to CNN about five years ago. The publisher offers European companies a foothold in new, online media popular with younger audiences. U.S. companies are already well entrenched in this area. Time Warner, parent of CNN, is one of Mashable’s major investors and led a $15 million funding in March 2016. Walt Disney holds a stake in Vice Media and Comcast has backed BuzzFeed, Snap and Vox Media.

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What marketers can learn from Phish

“In a world gone mad, there must be something more than this.” This is a stadium-rockin’ lyric from one of Phish’s newer songs “More”, and sums up all that has and will go on from the band’s current 13 show run at Madison Square Garden, cleverly dubbed ‘Baker’s Dozen’.

For those of you who don’t have an obsessed Phish fan as a friend or family member, let’s start here. Phish is a band. Sometimes they are classified as a ‘jam’ band (a term I personally find pointless). They are a band that has existed since 1983, and has succeeded below the mainstream for more or less that entire time (outside of a few down years where the lead singer and guitarist lost his mind on drugs, but that’s a different story). They are sometimes classified in the same genre of the Grateful Dead for a variety of reasons, but let’s just say, they are a band that creates music most people cannot easily embrace. Rolling Stone has recently said of the band and this 13-show run, “the formula strikes a balance between well-laid surprises, long passages of relaxed conversational interplay, and the goofball groove-oriented exuberance that makes Phish repugnant to civilians and beloved to Phishheads.” Pretty much sums it up.

Within this special residency, come Sunday August 6, Phish will have played 13 shows and somewhere in the area of 260+ songs, with no repeats. Some are covers (including Tay Zonday’s Chocolate Rain), but for the most part they’re Phish originals. No other band alive has the ability to do this, period. No band could get away with it, no band could physically do it … or even care to. All this while selling out the most famous arena in America while no one else is paying attention besides a core group of fans (like myself). To this core group, this is the World Series. We track this in the way others follow Game of Thrones, politics, their favorite baseball team, The Bachelor (my wife), or whatever fun thing that makes you feel alive (and nerdy). Phish has certainly made these run of shows extra special for the live attendees, but has also offered up high def webcasts of every show for $25, reaching out the rest of the world of ‘phans’ who can’t be there. From a business standpoint, this band is crushing it. With that, I thought it was a good time to offer up my thoughts on what marketers can take away from this silent juggernaut … and maybe shed some light on what is actually going on with the business of Phish.


Having been in experiential and event marketing for 16+ years, I’ve certainly gotten into a few budget battles with clients over the ‘little’ things. Phish does not care about these debates. This band overspends on big things (their sound equipment and lighting being #1) but also focuses a lot on the little things that their fans (consumers) get excited about. During ‘Baker’s Dozen’ the tickets are card-stock printed in the shape of donuts to push on the theme. Each show is centered in some ways around a different donut flavor (from Federal Donuts in Philly – They have unique designs from a variety of artists, producing different merch for every show at every price level. They simply have made enough money in their lives, that they are focused on splurging at key moments to say thank to their old fans … and to make sure they keep it contemporary and intriguing to new 18 year olds looking to get involved. The old adage of ‘you gotta spend money to make money’ is never more alive than with Phish … and is true for every brand out there.


For the past several decades, Phish has normally traveled around the country during this summer period (like every other ‘normal’ band). For Baker’s Dozen, they took a huge risk of pissing a large portion of their fan base off by only staying in NYC. To try and thwart this, they’ve over-delivered to a point that most fans are still in awe of. Perfect fun. Perfect weirdness. Perfect inside jokes. Perfect variety. At least one 20-minute song per show. It’s what every Phish fan wants. It’s a big risk, for sure, but one that has had most fans applauding and thanking these group of 53-year-old white dudes they worship. Additionally, during these themed shows, there have been a variety of new cover songs that don’t necessarily fit within their standard tone as a band. It could have failed massively, but the band has built up so much good will over the years, that these risks are welcome diversions. Try something new. If it’s done with good intentions and love, truly passionate fans of your brand will respect you more in the long run for trying something out.


This is certainly a standard adage of biz … and something Coca-Cola probably has felt this past week from die hard Coke Zero fans … but it’s true! We’re always changing as people, life is always changing, and so do brands & bands. Much to the surprise of most non-Phish fans who just vaguely know and make fun of the band, they’ve been putting out new music their entire career. Like with risk, it doesn’t always work, there are certain songs that fans hate (myself included), but some of it works exceptionally well. In 2014 Phish debuted a live ‘album’ (of sorts) that is more or less devoid of lyrics and based off an album from 1964 of sound effects. Seriously, this happened. And to Phish fans, it was one of the greatest things that ever happened! It’s weird, it odd, it’s not easily accessible for a neophyte, it’s risky and I’m sure it was hard as hell from them to learn, but it paid off. Embrace the full evolution that is life. Change with it, run to the light, and magic can happen.


While change happens, and new works, so does nostalgia. Since 2009 especially, Phish has at the same time embraced new and nostalgia. In some ways, it is the new that makes the old even better. There are 30-year-old Phish songs that the band ‘could’ play every night, but they don’t … and that makes those times when they do all the much sweeter. For a certain segment of brands, there is a lot of untapped magic in the old, from time to time. I think there’s too much respect given to what’s next. While evolution is inevitable, and time keep ticking on, there is magic in history and to ‘going home’. Phish can play a 30-year-old song in a fresh new way on any given night … and it works for a 16-year kid who barely knows it … and that 40-year-old guy who fell in love with it in 1994.


This may be obvious, but this can’t be easy for them. These 4 guys are loaded now. They could phone this in and people would still give them all their cash … but they DON’T. Phish fans are highly critical. We all think we’re food / art / music critics … and will happily tell you what we think of each show … and since the dawn of the internet, have made these critiques well known and distributed. Phish has not talked much about their music in a way since 2009, or embraced publicly any dissection of it, but we all know they’re paying attention. They hear it and they care. These guys want to provide a quality product for a small segment of the population, and they work DAMN hard to do it. Brands like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, NIKE, Sierra Nevada … they hear it, and they actually pay attention to try and make the brand experience a great one.


Phish has spent, what I can only assume, a ridiculous amount of money, time and effort on their own app, Live Phish, where for $10 / month you can listen to every Phish show minutes after it is over. The quality, sound and user experience is nearly perfect. In addition, a significant amount of all of Phish’s live shows over their history are on the app to listen to as well. Is there anything remotely like this from any other band right now? On top of that, the band’s twitter feed provides live updates of song lists in real time to track … and has an A-list photographer on staff at every show, providing awesome stage pics via social. Do they have to do this? Hell no! Is it an unnecessary cost at some level? YES! But, it’s these extra efforts, attention to detail and embracing new channels and technology that keeps it all fresh and from becoming a state fair act.

Listen, I know that this is certainly not for everyone. There are certain bands I love that I try to bring people into all the time. Phish is not one of them. They are weird. It’s full of inside jokes, odd fairly-tale style stories, the scene can be a bit much to take sometimes, and I get it. It’s certainly not for everyone … and I get how easy it is to make fun of. However, for brand, sponsorship and entertainment marketers, there is a LOT to learn from the way they run their business and the ‘product’ they provide their fans. You may never be able to talk to me about the nuances of the 1998 Riverport Bathtub Gin, but I could certainly get you to see the value of embracing certain commercial moves of Phish. If you can see through the smoke, there’s gold in there.

The post What marketers can learn from Phish appeared first on Jack Morton.

Dodge Deletes `Roadkill’ Posts After Social-Media Backlash

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Dodge brand deleted social-media posts promoting drag races that took place the day the driver of one of its vehicles killed a protester and injured at least 19 others in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Until Tuesday afternoon, the last four posts on Dodge’s Twitter account used the hashtag #RoadkillNights, referring to a series of races held Saturday near Detroit that the brand sponsored. That same day, an Ohio man drove a Dodge Challenger into a group of counter protesters at a white nationalist and supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Some of Dodge’s more than 740,000 followers and others on Twitter criticized the brand for keeping the posts up after the violence in Charlottesville. Dodge’s delayed response contrasts with TIKI Brand Products and the Detroit Red Wings, which issued statements Saturday distancing themselves from white nationalists who carried tiki torches and signs that altered the hockey team’s logo with swastikas during the rally.

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