Nobody Needs the Doctor’s Office

Convenience is the most important aspect of the new healthcare world.

These days, a sore throat doesn’t always warrant a call to your primary care physician. Instead, a quick search on your favorite health site can give you the information you seek and you don’t even have to leave your desk. Ever heard of WebMD? (Uh, yeah).  The last place any of us want to be is in a doctor’s office, waiting to be seen, waiting to get an answer and just waiting to catch what the guy next to us has.

At the Virginia Society of Healthcare Marketing and PR (VSHMPR) Fall Conference, I learned consumers are no longer accepting the traditional patient-doctor relationship. We are empowered. We are informed. We are connected. And we’ll take drastic measures to avoid a doctor’s office.

One medical groupThat’s why One Medical Group is reinventing the doctor’s office. If you ask them, they prefer not to be categorized as a doctor’s office at all. They don’t treat patients, they engage with members. Appointments are not only guaranteed to start on time, but also last longer and offer a higher quality interaction. They also…

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PR Industry Trends

Top 3 Beverage Alcohol Trends for 2015

It’s not even December, yet the web is already buzzing with predictions on what’s hot in the wine and spirits industry in 2015. Maybe someone took their cue from Walmart, which started selling Holiday decorations the day after Halloween.

Like it or not, trend reports, much like holiday decorations, no longer wait for sweater weather. Jumping on the band wagon, here are three emerging beverage trends for 2015.

The Boilermaker Celebrates a Comeback

In 2015, craft cocktails will share the spotlight with simpler, more straight-forward drinks, such as a shot and a beer, known as a “boilermaker.” Case in point, The New York Times recently published a full-page feature on the classic pairing. Some of these pairings are the usual cheap-whiskey-and-cheaper-beer marriages one expects, but more sophisticated duos are making their way into bars across the country.

Wine Pairings Go East

Asian food will continue to be a huge trend next year, so think about how to educate your audience on clever pairings for your alcohol beverage brands. For the best pairings with Ramen noodles, Vietnamese Pho and Korean street food-inspired grub, Wine…

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PR Industry Trends

Why We Love Halloween (Trick or Treat!)

Co-authored by Emily Valentine


It’s our best guess that this weekend, you will either a) attend an epic costume party, b) hear about an epic costume party, c) see pictures of said epic costume party or d) all of the above. If you answered “d,” congratulations; your weekend will clearly be black, orange and “basic” all over. It’s not a bad thing. Adults these days LOVE Halloween. They really get into it.

The National Retail Federation predicts that this weekend, some 75 million adults will put on costumes. Americans are expected to spend $2.8 billion on costumes, according to NRF’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey. Specifically, consumers will spend $1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes and $350 million on pet costumes. Moreover, total Halloween spending is estimated to reach $7.4 billion this year, with the average person spending $77.52 on indoor and outdoor décor, costumes, and candy. That’s a whole lot of money for one little weekend. Don’t get us wrong. We’re not hating; we just wonder… why?

Is it because it’s the one time each year we can get away with dressing in scary, outlandish or downright inappropriate costumes… in public?

(Maybe Cady Heron…

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Survey Says: Using Survey Data in Consumer Health

If you work for a brand that doesn’t necessarily have news to report on a regular basis, sometimes you have to create your own news. And, survey research is a great way to do that! After the award-winning success of our last public education campaign with the American Physical Therapy Association where we identified the Top 10 Fittest Baby Boomer Cities in America using survey research, we decided to use the strategy once again in a campaign for National Physical Therapy Month. APTA staff worked with members to determine 7 common myths about physical therapy that may discourage consumers from experiencing the benefits of physical therapist treatment. From those myths we developed a survey to determine the extent to which they exist among their target audiences. We used various tactics to debunk these myths, including media relations, advertising, a webpage and an infographic. Here are the four best practices I learned for effectively leveraging survey research:

APTA Infographic PortionCreate an Infographic

I know this one may seem fairly obvious, but when used correctly, infographics can be a wonderful tool, especially in consumer healthcare. Infographics take detailed, sometimes boring information…

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Media Relations

Tips for More Meaningful Media Measurement

Landing a media hit is gratifying and important for you and your client or organization. But coverage is only valuable if people are reading or watching it – and they aren’t necessarily reading the story in their daily newspaper anymore.

The realities of modern media are changing how we monitor and measure coverage. If you haven’t adjusted your evaluation practices already, now is the time to start.Measuring Social Media

First, a basic question: Do you have media monitoring efforts in place? General best practice recommends that an organization spends no more than 15 percent of its communications/marketing budget on monitoring – but some investment (whether time, money or a combination of both) is necessary to report on your media successes for the year.

To establish an effective monitoring program, you also need to decide 1) what will you measure, and 2) how will you report on success.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for establishing a more meaningful media measurement program:

Don’t use multipliers to report impressions. If you haven’t made the transition already, it’s time to give up multipliers. (That is, taking a publication’s circulation or a TV show’s viewership…

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PR Industry Trends

My L.A. Uber Experiment: 3 Takeaways for Comms Pros

uberWhen I told people we were heading to Los Angeles for a long weekend and not renting a car, they all thought we were crazy. But L.A. is a car city, they all explained. Everyone drives in L.A. my friends from the Valley said…everyone!

But, we were determined to have an Uber-experiment. Despite having never even used Uber, this was going to be our jumping-in point – we had no other back-up transportation so it was “go Uber or go home.”

We discovered a lot on our Uber-venture, and when I looked back, I realized that there were some great lessons learned – ones that can also apply to our role as communications professionals.

Lesson #1: Have a specific destination in mind and share it.
One of the great things about Uber is that you GPS your starting point for pick-up but you can also pinpoint your exact destination (and in fact you should always do this). This is helpful because it avoids wasted time and energy trying to explain to your driver where you want to go, having to program the Uber GPS, etc. It sets expectations for all involved and streamlines…

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PR Industry Trends

Why Hispanic Marketing Strategy Is Failing and How to Fix It

Flickr user Charlie KaijoIn 1977, U.S.-based Braniff Airways inadvertently told their Spanish-speaking customers to “Fly Naked” in their new marketing campaign. To be fair, in most of Latin America, “Vuela en Cuero” translates to mean “Fly in Leather,” a tagline that Braniff intended to use while promoting its luxurious leather interior. In Mexico, local slang gave the phrase a completely different meaning – “Fly Naked.” This simple gaffe ultimately cost the company a bunch of useless billboards, its dignity and possibly some rogue, naked fliers. (There aren’t any statistics on that last one, though.)

Flash forward to 2014 and marketers across the country are chasing the metaphorical goldmine that is the elusive Hispanic market. And who can blame them? Latino purchasing power has risen to a staggering $1.2 trillion annually, a figure that is only expected to grow in the coming years.

Some companies are afraid of marketing to the Hispanic audience. (PadillaCRT’s Nicole Fischer wrote an awesome Buzz Bin post about this.) But that’s not always the case. Other companies like poor, misguided Braniff (RIP) are launching multi-million dollar campaigns, and many are falling short. But unlike Braniff’s…

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Digital Marketing

Shock and Awe – Why Content Goes Viral on Instagram

What does it take to “go viral” on Instagram? There is a lot of great content on social channels that never reaches viral fame. The scientific answer to what makes content go viral: emotion (infographic). According to the author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” the more emotion your content evokes, the more viral it will become. Be honest: When was the last time your Instagram update made people laugh, cringe, or created a sense of awe?

There is an impressive number of recent examples that have gone viral on Instagram. Here are my top three:

#MyInstagramLogo: Nobody knows how it started, but an increasing number of Instagram users are obsessed with recreating and posting its logo in amazingly creative ways (check out the hashtag #myinstagramlogo). This trend is a nice and fun example of consumers putting their own stamp on their favorite product (In this case, Instagram reportedly has no involvement in the campaign.).

The Rice Krispies Picasso: Jessica Siskin will make you crave more Rice Krispies. It all started with Jessica putting a picture of a Rice Krispies…

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PR Industry Trends

6 Secrets to Expo Success

Co-Authored by Nikki Parrotte

Whether you represent a medical device company, food and beverage distributor or consumer brand, exhibiting at conferences and expos is often an effective way to engage with your target audience. Though a 5,000-person event may not get you the same impression numbers as an influencer’s tweet or even a major media mention, there is something to be said for the quality of those interactions. Meeting your consumers face-to-face goes a long way in creating brand loyalists, so this trend is here to stay.

Here are six tips for creating a successful expo experience:

1. Make Your Booth Interactive

The worst expo booths are the ones with large signage, a couple of brochures and an annoyingly eager sales person trying to speak to you as you run past refusing to make eye contact. When discussing the plans for your booth, try to incorporate some kind of interactive activity. This can be a taste test, fun fact quiz, prize wheel, product demo, etc. Last year, we attended the AARP Life @50+ event for the American Physical Therapy Association and our booth had local PTs available to give visitors a three-point balance test and evaluation. We had huge lines…

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3 PR/Marketing Budget Imperatives for Healthcare

It’s fall. That means football season, kids going back to school, the leaves changing colors, and, for many hospitals and health systems, it means the start of budget season. Even if your fiscal year is other than the calendar year, you’ll want to keep reading, or at least save this post in your budget planning folder.

With all the change going on in healthcare, many systems are finding it difficult to prioritize when it comes to budgeting. And, that can be frustrating for PR/marketing executives trying to align their plans with organizational priorities. If that describes you, perhaps the list of budget priorities below will help you take a slightly different approach to your budget this year, and best position you and your organization for success.

  • Plan for the Unexpected. disaster recovery_dilbertBetween the changes in climate, changes in technology, and changes in your competitive landscape, odds are that you will have some sort of crisis, issue or major announcement to manage in the coming year. They say it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few hours to destroy it. You’re almost guaranteed the latter, if you fail to plan.…
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