>> Monday, December 6, 2010
I never really saw myself as a loyal grocery store shopper. Aren't all grocery stores the same? Sure, I had my usual store, but that was just because it was close to home and had good product variety. If there was a similar store close by, I wouldn't have any problems switching. It's just groceries after all...
There's something bigger than 59-cent apples keeping me hungry for my next TJ visit. It's the overall Trader Joe's experience.
When you walk though Trader Joe's door, you know what you are going to get. You know where to find your favorite products. The atmosphere is cool, friendly, relaxed and authentic, and employees actually seem happy to help you even though the place is packed like sardines (Trader Joe's sells some great sardines by the way).
So, how can we turn my love for TJ’s into something helpful and beneficial to marketers interested in wellness? It is all about creating experiences.
You don’t have to be a retail grocery chain to create a meaningful experience for consumers. With the popularity of popup stores and consumer experience design, there are infinite opportunities for wellness brands to get into the experiential marketing mix. For instance, Sanofi-Aventis and the Prevent Cancer Foundation placed a 20-foot long inflatable colon in Times Square as part of a cross-country colorectal-cancer awareness tour. The foundation claims they have seen a trend of increases in screenings, and a reduction of mortality rates since the tour’s launch.
There is one key thing that I’ve learned from all of these examples: an effective branded experience needs to be:
It doesn’t seem to matter if you are selling turkeys for the holidays or encouraging people to take care of their health, the experiences that make the greatest impact includes each of these four elements. So this holiday season as popup stores are popping up everywhere, keep your eyes out for these elements, and see if they include everything on the list.
Stay well, be well.
>> Sunday, December 5, 2010
I was inspired to find out last Friday, as perhaps you did, that there are at least three times as many stars out there in space than scientists had previously thought.
And who knows? Maybe there are more, many more, as the calculation was based on stars astronomers can’t actually see. (For every visible bright star, the team assumed 100 unseen.) And imagine -- we already thought, as the wonderful Carl Sagan famously told us, that there were billions and billions of stars out there.
At the same time, another assumption-busting discovery was reported, based on the behavior of bacteria scraped from the bottom of Mono Lake in California. Experts have long believed that life could only survive in the presence of 6 basic elements (phosphorus carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulfur, if you were curious). But defying expectations, the Mono Lake microbes learned how to exist on another element entirely -- arsenic.
I bring these up because if scientists can still make discoveries that challenge our collective notions of the nature of the universe and life as we know it, surely we as marketers have the same opportunities.
Of course, challenging a long-held assumption means being aware that we have deeply-held assumptions –a step that’s easy to overlook. If you believe there are a certain number of stars set in the sky, you’ll never ask whether there might be more beyond our visual reach.
Tom Friedman, talking yesterday on Meet the Press, made the point that achieving success in a global economy (or as he puts it, a flat world) means revisiting cherished assumptions about how to get what we want.
This year, one of the things Wellness seems to mean is reassessing the truths about how we live our lives, especially moving from "can't imagine" to "can do." Or even, "what if?"
What do you really, really think is true? Could you be wrong?.
Maybe you’ll discover brave new worlds, far beyond, or deep within.
Hope this finds you well.
>> Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I’ve been following the very active twitter stream of Dr. Victor Montori, who heads up the SPARC innovations and design lab at the Mayo clinic (HT @ryandrumwright). At Mayo he leads a team working to improve patient care through design (my words – not theirs).
Their work is centered on a philosophy that may well change the way medicine has been practiced for the last several hundred years.
Until recently, doctors have focused on making measurable improvements in the illness they are treating. If you have multiple sclerosis, your neurologist measures her success by her ability to control the spread of lesions that can be seen when they scan your brain. If you have diabetes, your endocrinologist does her best to ensure that your A1C levels stay within a certain level.
This focus on measurable outcomes has created a revolution in life expectancy. In the short time between 1900 and 1985, life expectancy went from 30 years to 62 years – an astronomical jump.
But our progress has slowed, and increasingly doctors find themselves frustrated by their inability to make measurable improvements in the diseases they treat. The #1 culprit in this trend is people -- millions of whom ignore their doctors’ orders. We don’t take medication we've been prescribed, eat foods we shouldn't, and generally do anything and everything to frustrate our doctors’ desire for us to get better.
We here at Wellness see this dynamic every day. That’s why Dr. Montori’s work is so important and fascinating.
He is one of a growing number of voices from the medical community who are advocating for a wholehearted reexamination of priorities. By crowning measurable improvement as the central tenet of modern medicine, we have created an antagonistic relationship between doctors who want to make the human body work better and patients whose priorities are often more about living well in the time that they have.
Yes, someone living with diabetes would have better blood sugar control if they adhered to a strict diet and exercise regimen. But for many people, this would be a worse fate than suffering from the symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes.
At the heart of everything is a very personal decision about what makes life worth living.
Dr. Montori, and those like him, suggest that we should put this personal decision at the heart of every medical interaction. -- and that doctors learn to first understand what is important to their patient, and then design a care plan around those priorities.
He calls it Minimally Disruptive Medicine. I call it the wave of the future.
If you’d like to read a moving personal narrative from a physician struggling with this issue in his personal practice, check out this piece in the LA Times by Steve Dudley.
Hope this finds you well,
VP, Strategic Planner