Apr15

Mindfulness: An Age-Old Concept in a Bright, Shiny New World

yoga officeIf you asked others to define mindfulness, you’d likely hear a variety of responses, the most common of which might be relating the term to a Buddhist concept. Mindfulness indeed originated thousands of years ago, and for those who conceptualize it this way, a quote from the well-known author Thich Nhat Hanh illustrates the point well. He said, “Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” Too esoteric? This is far from the only interpretation of the word.

A more practical and relevant definition for business is simply: awareness. We all know full well the challenges in today’s environment, particularly within the rapidly evolving healthcare space. The digital age isn’t coming, it’s here, but all of its obstacles and opportunities are still being pulsed out over time as we answer some questions and then inevitably raise more. As if our own world isn’t changing quickly enough, that of our clients is right there beside it, equaling if not outpacing the transformation we’re experiencing. One of the keys to all of this—to recognizing the hurdles and also to overcoming them—is mindfulness (yes, that 2,000+ year old practice).

Mindfulness facilitates a more complete view of what’s around us. It compels us to consider our immediate and long-term challenges, and the resources we have available to address them. But it also encourages us to put ourselves in the shoes of our clients, to become more connected to (in other words, aware of) their work climate, and that always makes for better, more creative and insightful work.

But it is more than just awareness. Going back to the more obscure definitions, it’s about being supremely present, the result of which is the ability to recognize beauty and connectedness in the world. The more of that we see, the more impassioned we become and the more driven we are to contribute to it—through our work, but also through our hobbies, our families and our friends.

So let’s make a pact to be more mindful and to reap the rewards, personally and professionally. Become more familiar with and aware of your working environment and that of your clients, work after hours at home and even monitor those devices as needed, and you will be a better, more valuable professional for it. But when the job is done, continue to practice that mindfulness by being fully present and invested in whatever you’re doing after work. It helps us all, even those who love every waking second of their job, to unplug and recharge. There are few things that clients love—and need, especially in today’s healthcare landscape—more than an eager and fresh perspective ready to confront their most formidable challenges.

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Also posted in agency life, Creativity, Health & Wellness, Mental Health, Personal Reflections | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
Mar21

The Future of Wearables at SXSW 2014

SXSW_Logo_2013_BlackBG_CSAs you might have imagined, the conversation around wearables was booming at SXSW this year.  But they weren’t talking about FitBit or Fuelband as you might expect.  They were talking about what comes next, after we’ve quantified our surface vitals.

“I got bored with how many steps I walked every day and quickly got used to the idea that I was never doing enough,” said Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, in a conversation-style session held with Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab.  “The amount we are starting to wear to track our vital signs is crazy, but we are moving beyond vitals very quickly,” Brown went on.

The Affective Computing group at MIT is now taking wearables deeper into ourselves than ever before with conductive skin technologies that can detect stress and, paired with complex algorithms, intuit emotions. In aggregate, Joi explained, this will grant us the ability to curate our lives in ways we couldn’t before.  Historically, our environment and circumstances were akin to a series of accidents and coincidences. The future will be much more intentional.

In the healthcare delivery space, these new technologies will help us treat and understand emotional conditions like anxiety, stress, autism, and others. “Devices like Neumitra will transform the way we think about mental health,” said Scott Stropkay, co-founder of Essential. “Mental health is about brain health, which is analogous to physical health, which can be measured and improved.”

Technologies like Neuma, a bio-sensing watch, help measure stress in real time so we can start to manage it.  Linked to a dashboard and combined with calendars or locations, we can begin to figure out what stresses us out—and what calms us. On a larger scale, we can aggregate that data to help make our communities, societies, and world an altogether less-stressful place.

But there is a moral question to all this measurement and quantification. Sometimes there are evolutionary and societal reasons for the need to deceive ourselves. After a less-than-savory meal at a friend’s house, we are conditioned to say, “dinner was great,” so as not to offend. And we are conditioned to believe it. “What’s interesting,” says Ito, “is that the subconscious always knows, we just don’t always rationalize. In a controlled, unemotional study, we can pick out the liar.”

Emotion- and stress-tracking wearables bring the sub-conscious truth about ourselves to the surface.  And how will these affect things like healthcare?  We are all familiar with the placebo affect, which works both ways. This, in fact, is the basis for the FDA ordering 23andMe, an online genetic testing service that provides ancestry-related genetic reports, to cease providing health-related reports until the FDA works through the implications and figures out how to regulate this new kind of service. “Nine out of 10 cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented. But we spend more money treating than we do preventing,” said Ann Wojcicki, founder of 23andMe. “Everyone makes money when I am sick, but who makes money when I am healthy?”

“Twenty-seven percent of us are wearing some sort of sensor,” explained Dr. Leslie Saxon while speaking on Body Computing. “A new person—from birth until the time they are two—will have more medical record data stored in the cloud than any person who came before them.”

All of this is leading to a new kind of personalized healthcare. The kind of healthcare in which delivery mechanisms happen in real-time and enable informed decision-making.  At an aggregate level, data can aid, inform, and expedite research.

Today’s quantified wearables are a great start, but the future of wearables is contextual, environmental shaping, and behavior changing.

SXSW Series:

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Also posted in Data, Digital, Healthcare Communications, SXSW, Wearable Health Technology | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Responses
Feb28

How Can Self-monitoring Best Support Behaviour Change?

3907691Some of today’s biggest public health challenges, such as obesity and  heart disease, can be linked to personal lifestyle decisions. Governments have tried tackling these issues with smoking bans and taxes on high-fat foods, with moderate success. However, personal health behaviour change is needed to make a significant, lasting impact. Can self-monitoring of health information be the answer?

Studies in diabetes, hypertension, medication compliance and weight loss have shown that patients who successfully self-monitor their activities and set personal goals enjoy improved health outcomes and better adherence to treatment 1-6. We now have an abundance of apps and wearable technology at our fingertips to comprehensively track numerous aspects of our lifestyle, analyse results and observe improvements over time. These self-monitoring tools can then be easily integrated into social health networks so that we can share experiences, track our progress against that of our peers, and give and receive advice on how to succeed.

It is estimated that there are more than 40,000 health and fitness apps available. But with this bewildering variety of choice, how can we know which ones will encourage lasting behaviour change?

Easy does it

The apps which make the process of data upload as effortless as possible for the end user are the ones most likely to catch on in the long-term. Devices that automatically record data and synchronise it with online analysis programmes in real time provide a seamless transition and are not hampered by general forgetfulness or lack of time.

Keep it simple

Health information needs to be engaging, and simple enough to be universally accessible. The average person is likely to find sorting the data that matters from what doesn’t time-consuming and intellectually daunting—in fact, many patients who have to actively monitor a condition like type II diabetes don’t always fully engage with self-monitoring for these very reasons.7

Be realistic

Establishing aspirational but realistic goals and providing reinforcing feedback can help bring self-monitoring systems to life and make them personally meaningful.  A recent study into self-monitoring to improve diabetes treatment found that the main concerns patients had with the system were disappointment with unmet expectations and difficulty fitting the programme into the demands of daily life. 1

Collaborate

Ideally, fitness or health tracking app developers should collaborate closely with specialist healthcare providers and device makers as well as social scientists who understand how to bring about behaviour change. Such cross-fertilisation could result in truly useful tools that track fitness alongside other health metrics, such as blood sugar levels or medication adherence.

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1.  Barlow J, et al. Self management approaches for people with chronic conditions: a review. Patient Education Counseling 2002;48:177–87.

2.  Benhamou PY. Improving diabetes management with electronic health records and patients’ health records. Diabetes Metab 2011;37(Suppl 4):S53–6.

3.  Dennis EA, et al. Weight gain prevention for college freshmen: comparing two social cognitive theory-based interventions with and without explicit self-regulation training. J Obes 2012;2012:803769.

4.  Parker R, et al. An electronic medication reminder, supported by a monitoring service, to improve medication compliance for elderly people living independently. J Telemed Telecare 2012;18:156–8.

5.  Ralston JD, et al. Patients’ experience with a diabetes support programme based on an interactive electronic medical record: qualitative study. BMJ 2004;328:1159.

6.  Wagner PJ, et al. Personal health records and hypertension control: a randomized trial. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2012;19:626–34.

7.  Choose Control Survey. Choosing to take control in type 2 diabetes. Available at: http://www.diabetes. org.uk/Documents/Reports/Choose_Control_report.pdf (Last accessed May 2013).

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Feb18

Taking the Pulse…Tuning In to the New Patient Network

1741356 sA guest blog post from Craig Martin – Chief Executive Officer of Feinstein Kean Healthcare, an Ogilvy & Mather Company

Most of us are far too young to remember the early days of television. What I do recall from my childhood is that three networks owned the airwaves, large numbers of people followed a small number of notable programs, and the screen turned to fuzz at midnight. You made note of the TV Guide schedule, and you adjusted your schedule to the TV shows that interested you. The networks and the stars were in charge.

A lot has changed since then, obviously. There are now countless networks, and seemingly limitless numbers of shows. Reality television has made stars of “ordinary” people. And the digital age has made scheduled programming obsolete—the content follows you and adjusts to your life and device of choice, not the other way around.

Why wax nostalgic about the evolution of broadcast television? Because I believe a similarly dramatic transformation is under way in our field. The old channels and choices are fading to fuzz. A new era is dawning.

For years, healthcare PR relied on a few channels and reliable choices to reach, inform, and market to patients. On behalf of our clients, we used traditional media (earned and paid), events, celebrities and big disease education programs to build awareness and get patients to “talk to their doctors about…”

Today—as more of the burden of choice, comparison, and cost gets shifted to patients, as diseases become more and more categorized via genomic analysis and molecular diagnostics, as medical practice and health become more universally digitized, and physicians and pharma become more responsible for outcomes vs. treatments—the traditional big, broad-channel approaches are becoming less relevant and effective as a means of reaching more and more narrowly defined populations of patients.

These trends are leading to the establishment of entirely new channels and networks, made of up patients identified and aggregated virtually through the sharing of personal medical information and data. In other words, the audience is creating the network, and continually informing the programming through the data they share. Now, rather than casting a wide net via mass media and hoping a narrow audience will be watching, we will have ready-made networks, open 24/7, waiting if not demanding to be engaged. This opens up new frontiers for micro-targeted, real-time communication and measurable engagement, based almost exclusively on digital content and social influence.

Not long before the holidays we learned that Feinstein Kean Healthcare (FKH) and a select group of partners won a million-dollar government grant to develop a “patient-powered research network” for the multiple sclerosis community. This is an exciting development, but not because of the money. This new kind of network represents the leading edge of the transformation I’ve described, and we’re now right at the forefront as well.

In the days and months ahead, we’ll continue to evaluate the pace and progress of change, and work to assure that our thinking and services are aligned with where the world is headed. Naturally, we don’t want to get too far out ahead of the trend, but we must be informed and equipped to lead when the market is ready.

I believe, as this new era unfolds, we will find there are many exciting opportunities ahead for us to engage differently and far more meaningfully with patients.

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Also posted in adherence, advertising, Content Strategy, Customer Relationship Marketing, Digital, Digital Advertising, Health & Wellness, Healthcare Communications, Patient Communications, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response
Feb13

You Might Not Realize It, But You Can Be Working For The MI6

MI6What interested me most about James Bond’s career, and, most importantly, that of his support staff, is the development and implementation of a unique and highly versatile arsenal of innovative technology. Starting with Bond’s pager in From Russia With Love, followed by that pen-sized-underwater-oxygen-recycling-breather-thing in Thunderball, or the way-ahead-of-its-time GPS tracker in Goldfinger—all these are examples of an unmet need in spymanship being filled by technology: well researched, well developed, well implemented, and well working.

While recently sitting in a conference room at one of our healthcare client’s headquarters, going through scenario after scenario of possible ways technology can minimize barriers to patients’ prescribed treatment regimen adherence, it was Mr. Bond that my mind turned to.

On a scale from zero to life-changing, healthcare is one of the areas where technology can play a crucial role and provide life-impacting value.

I think back to that scene in Casino Royale where Bond drinks the poisoned Vesper Martini and finds himself staggering back to the car to find a solution to his newly acquired ailment. But which vial from the glove compartment should he inject himself with—blue or red? One will cure him on the spot, the other, of course, will immediately kill him. And here is where technology comes in. He takes a blood sample. The results sync up with the poisons directory back at MI6. On the other side of the globe, Bond’s team reviews the reading in real time and points him to the correct vial.

Oh, and unlike the mini-rocket-launcher cigarette from You Only Live Twice or the bagpipe flamethrower from The World Is Not Enough, this blood-sample transmitter and reader are now out in the market, available for purchase.

In the days where Astounding Innovation greets Cost Efficiency over a bottle of Realistic Possibility for Implementation, the internet of things continues to blossom all around us. Your carbon monoxide detector can now know when you started cooking and tell your thermostat to turn down the heat by 6 degrees; or dim your lights when you walk out of the room; or your door can unlock itself when it senses you down the street. Your FitBit, by linking up with your blood-glucose monitor, can adjust your Seamless menu selection and choice of restaurants for the day (unless you run around the block a few times, that is…). You can start your car with a simple wink. Or, write a script, shoot the footage, do all the post-production work, and distribute the content globally—all from the palm of your hand! Sound familiar?

As this intelligent-device-fueled ecosystem continues to expand, more and more possible hooks arise that are able to feed and empower one another. A chain of monitoring devices, all in constant communication, adjusting themselves and providing information before we even know to ask for it, set the stage for a tremendous opportunity for our healthcare clients.

Spanning over all spectrums of monitoring one’s health habits, from improving existing treatment to preventing a need for a possible treatment a few years down the line, we now have an opportunity to help our clients efficiently channel their investments. If it so happens that after years of R&D, clinical trials and FDA reviews, patients neglect to adhere to their prescribed treatment, the years of innovation and investment lead to questionable marginal benefit, at best! The cost compared to eventual benefit comes out to be quite high. By enlisting connected and innovative technology, we can open the door for researchers, physicians and caretakers to finally close that loop on a number of treatment barriers.

As “Agency” people, with passion and insight into the latest tech innovations, as well as equally deep insight and understanding of our clients’ brands, we have an opportunity to guide our clients into this new area of possibility.

We can now pave a highway between our clients’ amazing potential and this new ecosystem.

We are at a unique crossroads where amazing technology is very much within our reach. The only limit, it seems, is our imagination.

Big ideas often come to us on those “regular days”—on commutes back from work, or walks, late evenings, or days at the beach. So too with our clients, the opportunity to introduce that big tech idea for their brand can arise at any moment—during a casual conversation on a drive back from market research, or after a day-long workshop. We should be well versed and ready to fuel inspiration.

The research team back at MI6 doesn’t wait to prototype a glidesuit-equipped-tuxedo until Bond is jumping off a plane to infiltrate a high-profile cocktail party at some off-the-map nuclear power plant. The research is done in advance. And so is the development and testing. Before the next international crisis even has a chance to escalate, the prototype is out of dry cleaning and ready for action.

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Feb7

The Age of Wearable Health Technology Is Upon Us

5240666It used to be that technology that conforms to the human body and seamlessly integrates into your environment was stuff of science fiction movies. But if we’ve learned anything over the past 10 years, we know that science fiction is rapidly become science-fact. If you wanted to see what the near future held, all you had to do was tune in to the numerous news feeds covering the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) January 7–10. If there was one trend that seemed to be on every manufacturer’s mind, it was wearable health technology. In fact, CES expanded exhibitor floor space by 40% just for digital health and fitness exhibitors, many of whom were showcasing wearable personal devices.

CES is known as an event where electronics manufacturers like Samsung preview the mainstream consumer electronics that will drive the holiday shopping season. It’s the place where the industry goes to see everything from the latest web-connected refrigerators to the latest mobile chips. And the news from this past CES convention was no different. In the past, consumer electronics companies have been focused on portable, mobile technologies. With the mainstream adoption of smartphones and tablets, consumer electronics companies have continuously tried to innovate by going smaller. It was this evolution from compact, mobile personal technology to wearable technology that was on full display this year at CES. There were smart watches, smart jewelry, and smart glasses, and even mention of integrating technology into fabrics. There was a visible trend toward fashionable, smart, wearable health devices. The core technologies and functionality in many of the wearable gadgets on display were fairly similar, mostly informational apps and health and fitness monitoring, but it was the emphasis on style and technology as an accessory which spoke to how health technology will be more seamlessly integrated into everyone’s everyday life.

After years as a novelty, in 2013 wearable health tech began gaining wider adoption. From primetime TV commercials for the Samsung Galaxy Gear—a watch reminiscent of Dick Tracy’s clunky walkie-talkie wristwatch—to coverage of the debut of Google Glass on local news channels, wearable technology was noticeably all over news and pop culture. You couldn’t take a ride on the New York City subway without seeing at least 5 people with some kind of fitness tracker on their wrist or hip. And those who didn’t have a dedicated tracker likely had some kind of fitness or health-focused app installed on their smartphone. In fact, wearable tech adoption grew from 3% in 2012 to 13% 2013, and that growth has been fueled by growing consumer interest in fitness and personal health monitoring and tracking. As consumers have increasingly begun to take control of their own health, adoption of wearable devices to help them do so has grown. Gartner predicts that the fitness and personal health monitoring trend will grow to a $1.6-billion industry in 2014 and to $5 billion by 2016. As we saw at CES, consumer electronics manufacturers are doing their part to give the trend momentum by making the wearable devices easy to use, fashionable, and less pricey, hoping to appeal to a much wider consumer base. And it’s not just the consumers who will see the benefits of devices that are easier to have and use. New opportunities will continue to arise for healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies to play a direct role in wellness and health behaviors through these wearables. As open software standards become more prevalent across devices, it’ll be easier for healthcare marketers to customize programming to suit clients’ needs and integrate wearables into a more personalized patient experience. Here at Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, we’ve already begun to explore how this new channel for engagement can be used toward patient education and adherence. Next Christmas, don’t be surprised if your grandparents or teens ask Santa for a fashionable wearable health device.

What about you? Do you currently own a wearable personal health or fitness device? How has this affected how you manage your and your family’s health?

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Jan31

How Flexible Are You?

1581156If you work in the creative department in today’s healthcare communications world, you had better be very flexible. Flexible in both mind and spirit.

Gone are the days of working on one piece of business for several years and having a chance to build a strong client relationship that endures for years to come. Welcome to the new world of flexible creativity. Where you have minimal hours in a year to build a brand while trying to build that long-lasting client relationship.

Welcome to the place where you need to shift gears on a week-to-week basis, because many brands nowadays aren’t able to support a fulltime creative person.

Welcome to change. The structure of today’s client brand teams and the type of work we do are very streamlined, with a strong focus on smart, innovative, efficient thinking and execution.

So we must be able to adapt quickly and efficiently to deliver the best work in this new environment. And in many cases we must work across multiple brands with no true base brand to secure us. You might be working in oncology one week, on an OTC the next, or both at the same time.

You need to have a flexible mindset to be able to do this, and the experience in multiple therapeutic categories to back it up.

While it may come across as a head-spinning, anxiety-riddled job, there is a bright side to this. In yesterday’s world many a creative person might have had 3 brands they worked on over the course of their career; they had numerous versions of revised detail aids, ads, iPads or e-details, and their portfolios showed a lack of diversity.

This current flexible creative model allows creatives to explore uncharted territory, learn new categories—at a sometimes rapid rate—but they are gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience across multiple therapeutic areas.

Think of how impressive that will look in your bio and across your portfolio. Think of how exciting it will be to come in and have the opportunity to learn an entirely new space. This is the world today’s creatives live in, and we must embrace it and take advantage of its many positive attributes.

I have personally witnessed many creatives shift gears, enter into uncharted territory, and come out shining, later acknowledging how much they enjoyed the experience and opportunity to work with new faces who have a wealth of experience in these new areas.

So make sure to stretch your body and mind prior to beginning this new activity, because if you are mentally prepared you will truly shine.

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Jan10

Flexing Our Creative Muscles

flexing our muscles thumbnailIt takes lots of hard work and dedication to achieve your goals for a healthier lifestyle. It focuses on nutrition, physical activity and resiliency, and is individualized to your specific needs. Running the Ogilvy CommonHealth Imaging department is comparable to this in many ways, as I apply the same approach in servicing all Art and Creative Directors. Expectations are high, utilizing our confidence, capabilities and talent to deliver.

It Starts With Healthy Living
Just as in planning my daily and weekly workout routine, the Imaging team prepares by being mentally and physically fresh. It’s important to keep up with the latest technology and current software and hardware upgrades. Every day is a learning experience, especially in the CGI environment.
Wellness in the Imaging Department
The team keeps in top shape by utilizing powerful 3D graphics and software. This has allowed us to take our imaging capabilities to the highest levels conceptually and to produce final printed or digital art.
Increased Strength and Endurance
Creating and conceptualizing art for new brands and new business pitches requires an extreme amount of strength and endurance. We take creative teams’ and individuals’ ideas to a whole new level, allowing them to achieve their visions and ideas, and bringing them alive through the Imaging team’s strength, expertise and resources.
Preparation and Mental Toughness
It takes extreme preparation and execution from our digital artists to create that perfect and unique piece of art. Understanding the “why” is more important than the “how.” In order to create a realistic 3D image, it requires an understanding of why an object looks a certain way in the real world or in specific environments.
Connect With Us
We have evolved traditional retouching into a combination of digital imaging, 3D modeling, animation and motion graphics, to create dynamic, compelling still and motion images. Our strength is in our passion to move ahead and be the best in our industry. Other agencies can’t keep up with the healthy lifestyle of the Ogilvy CommonHealth Imaging team and that’s why we’re flexing our creative muscle.

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Dec17

The Death of the Press Release?

veer imageDid all PR professionals feel a slight shudder of fear upon hearing that Ashley Brown, digital communications and social media lead for The Coca-Cola Company, has vowed to “kill the press release”? I did, but only for a moment. After all, Mr. Brown’s proclamation came during a presentation called “Brand journalism at Coca-Cola: Content, data, and cutting through noise,” where he was outlining the company’s content marketing strategy. Content marketing is the most exciting, and some would say revolutionary, marketing innovation in recent years. It puts the consumer, rather than the brand, at the centre of communications. Instead of pushing out brand messages, content marketers are creating videos, infographics and other pieces of engaging, sharable content that respond to consumer desires and needs, thus creating brand awareness and loyalty.

But why should this mean the death of the press release? In healthcare communications, press releases are a fundamental tool for communicating complex data about diseases and new treatments. Without press releases, reporters working on daily or hourly deadlines would find it nearly impossible to sift through and decipher the news from every clinical trial published in a peer-reviewed journal. A well-crafted press release can help a journalist understand how a p value translates into clinical value for a patient.

Instead of being replaced by content, should press releases be considered a medium for delivering content? Multimedia press releases containing video clips, visuals, infographics and animations are replacing the standard written-word-only release. In addition, with the proliferation of online medical news websites and portals, press releases are increasingly being published in full rather than being used as background information for a news item.

PR professionals can embrace this and ensure that press releases are optimised for search, by judicious use of keywords in headlines and the first paragraph. We can optimise for sharing by crafting “tweet ready” headlines. We can consider the press release a starting point for telling a rich and rounded story that is expressed through a variety of content.

Content marketing is a brave new world for pharma marketers and healthcare communications, and I look forward to taking clients on this journey. However we cannot leave the press release behind.  Long live the press release!

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Oct31

Augmented Reality

51610372013 has been a year filled with Augmented Reality—from Google Glass to smartphone applications.  We are using this developing technology to truly enhance our experience in all aspects of our everyday lives. Augmented Reality allows you the individual, the retailer, or the marketing professional, to bring in additional dollars to your business…. But only if we do it right.

Augmented Reality (AR) was introduced in 2009 as the ability to go beyond showing an animation! AR is a live view of the real world augmented by computer-generated sensory information. With this technology, we are enhancing mobile phone apps, email marketing, and even video. We are able to see more easily, access supporting information, post things to social media sites, make a phone call, launch a video and buy a product from within an application using your mobile phone. Earlier this year, Google announced Project Glass, where you can wear “glasses” and have your world augmented with all kinds of additional fun and interactive elements come to life. In the AR space.

In my world, where creativity meets technology, AR has opened the door with so many possibilities for marketing professionals. We can make the experience unique and meaningful, and much more than a gimmick. We already see smartphone applications that will overlay Yelp reviews onto real-time images of a street view of a street corner. We can see stats projected over player images at a live sporting event. We see healthcare applications that can show where to access emergency medical services to city subways riders and show real-time promotions and discount information on retail store fronts. We are able to make a real difference that will be beneficial to the end user.

Let’s use the retail space as an example. I use my mobile device to locate my favorite store. Once I get to the store, I can use my AR application (if the store supports the technology) on my smartphone to make my shopping experience even more meaningful. I may be looking at a running shoe—using the Layar app, I may be able to see a video of the technology used in the running shoe and view a demonstration of the product in use.  And if the store is out of my size, I may be able to buy right from the Layar app.  Pretty cool stuff, right!

The technology is now developing quickly. Mobile apps such as Layar, String, blippar and Junaio will accelerate the development process and reduce the application costs. However, the applications must provide meaningful value to the viewer.  AR applications that are more gimmicks, games and technical showmanship than marketing are a bad investment. Like most new technologies, the challenge is to keep exploring ways to use AR to create a better user experience and provide meaningful ROI.

We have seen that in 2013, AR is making a difference. Combined with Strategy, Creative and Technology, we can develop:

  • Solid creative strategy that supports the brand promise
  • Effective consumer marketing fundamentals and user experience design
  • Practical application of proven technology with appropriate testing
  • Measurement of the right metrics

When done this way, we believe that Augmented Reality can create meaningful new opportunities for marketing professionals that deliver greater value and enhance their brand experience.

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