Aug 24 2016
We’ve all had that moment.
While on vacation you eat or drink something that is so transcendentally delicious, it instantly ranks among the best things you’ve ever had. The pleasure is so deep and complete it’s like your taste buds are hard-wired to your very soul. “Do I detect a hint of fresh mint, or is that MDMA? Either way, I want more.”
So you buy up as many cases as you can get through customs, or obsessively hunt down the recipe to recreate it a home. But, despite your best efforts, it’s never quite the same. Sure, it’s good, but it’s not as good as you remember it.
What’s going on here? A temporary insanity of the taste buds?
Well, sort of.
Consider this: In 2008, a group of neuroscientists in California conducted an experiment that shed new light onto how we taste. Twenty volunteers were strapped into an fMRI scanner and given samples of wine. Among them were tastes from a “$10” bottle and a “$90” bottle that, in reality, were the exact same wine. It should come as no shock that the…
Aug 4 2016
On a recent trip to Canada, I had the privilege of exploring Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. It’s always exciting to explore a new place and, that being said, I expected some cultural differences. Prior to my trip, I knew Canada had a different healthcare system than that of the U.S., but I quickly learned that the health differences didn’t end there.
While in Toronto, my brother pointed out an empty cigarette carton on the ground – completely taboo from anything I’d ever seen before. On it was a photo of an older woman hooked up to an oxygen tank, with a short story about how smoking gave her emphysema and led to her lungs collapsing four times. The picture took up so much of the box that the brand of cigarettes was the very last thing I noticed. If you work in communications or public relations, this would typically be a nightmare, but I couldn’t help but admire the angle Canada is taking to send a message and how it may be benefiting their overall health goals.
Upon further digging, I found that…
Jun 15 2016
The topic of technology in restaurants has been stirring up some pretty interesting discussion recently. Touch screens, interactive apps and online ordering have become an increasingly common fixture in fast-casual dining. Meanwhile, new-comers like Eatsa are pushing digital integration to a Jetsons-esque extreme with a dining experience that is almost entirely automated—where customized quinoa bowls magically appear on demand with no human in sight, as if the food itself was constructed from ones and zeroes.
Though operators and consumers alike are showing an appetite for more tech in their diet, there is a growing concern around what this means for the future of food. Will humans in food service go the way of the dodo, or the gas station attendant? Will automated dining change the way we eat forever?
Look, I love paranoid fantasies as much as the next guy. The first time I ordered a sandwich from a touch screen, I too fast-forwarded to a dystopian future where apathetic humans suckled at the bosom of…
Jun 9 2016
While “thought leadership” is not a new phrase or concept, it’s certainly en vogue right now. In fact, thought leadership is one of the most frequent asks in the Requests for Proposal that cross my desk. And the interesting thing I’ve learned from talking to these companies is that there are different definitions of what it is; different expectations about what it looks like; and, different beliefs about what it can accomplish.
As recent headlines and sound bites have featured fallen thought leaders, rising thought leaders and those who only think they are thought leaders (you know who you are), I thought I’d offer my perspective on the topic and a few tips for using thought leadership as an effective strategy for your personal or corporate brand.
Defining thought leadership
While there are several acceptable ways to define thought leadership, I define it as an earned outcome of a purposeful, integrated communications strategy. Key ingredients include passion, relevant experience, meaningful content, and a point of view. Thought leadership can apply to an individual brand such as Warren Buffet, a regular go-to on financial matters, or it can apply to organizational…
Apr 20 2016
On April 12, Devils Backbone, an independent brewery located in Nelson County, Virginia, announced they were being purchased by the biggest name in big beer, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
And then, the universe exploded.
Well, maybe not the entire universe. But if you follow craft beer, especially Virginia craft beer, you likely experienced an eruption of opinion across your news and social media feeds. Though the tone ranged from repulsed (“this is disgusting…a cancer in the bloodstream of good beer”) to resigned (“you will be much missed”), the largest, or at least the loudest, reaction from craft beer enthusiasts was that this was not a good thing, and would signal the decline of a quality craft product.
What’s going on:
Devils Backbone is the eighth independent brewery that AB InBev (primarily known for not-so-craft beers like Budweiser, Corona, and Bud Light Lime-a-rita) has acquired since 2011. While their strategy is clearly…
Apr 7 2016
It took years for healthcare providers to accept the term “consumer” when referring to patients. In today’s healthcare economy – one that’s focused more on wellness, prevention and keeping people out of the hospital – understanding patients as consumers is critical to success. (For those of you in long-term care, this includes your residents. And for those of you in health insurance, this includes your members.) Healthcare consumerism is here to stay.
Most healthcare communicators have already made the shift in what we say and how we say it. We’ve stopped talking at consumers and only pushing out our own messages, whether they care or not. We have done this by adopting journalistic principles, providing news they can use and information they want. We have also done this by engaging in a dialogue with consumers via social channels, and learning to go where the conversations are happening rather than expecting everyone to gather around like we’re the EF Hutton of healthcare.
It’s a good start. But it won’t be enough. When it comes to making a great patient experience, we talk a lot about anticipating the wants and needs of patients.