Monthly Archive: July 2010

The Word Is Out In Tucson Health Care Circles


Interior design by Cathy Solarana

It was good to see our client Danville Children’s Medical Center get some early notice from the Tucson press last weekend.

Arizona Daily Star reporter, Dale Quinn, got wind of the hospital’s imminent opening this fall and focused his piece on two important contributions Danville Children’s is making to the community. One being the addition of a step down, or long term care facility for kids—something families have to drive to Phoenix for at present. Two, Danville Children’s will be hiring dozens of medical professionals including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants.

Quinn interviewed Chris Hatton, the medical center’s chief financial officer, for the story and Hatton really brings home one of Danville Children’s key points of difference.

“We’re going to provide an environment where the caregivers for these children can learn within our facility how to care for their children,” Hatton said.

Children with a chronic illness or a serious injury can need special treatment and medical equipment, and providing such care can present a challenge to parents without medical training, Hatton said.

“We’re hoping to provide that opportunity where the nursing staff can interface and train those caregivers how to operate the equipment and how to interact with the children,” Hatton said.

In other words, when a child is seriously ill, the whole family needs care.

LinkedIn Is The Fifth Pillar

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a brand’s blog are at the heart of Social Media Marketing. LinkedIn is not, but the professional networking site with 70 million members is important. With upgrades to its Groups functionality, it’s even more so.

According to the company’s blog, LinkedIn is “all about nurturing the professional conversation, and we hope the changes to LinkedIn Groups will make it even easier for you to contribute and participate in a professional groups setting.”

I’m a member of the AIGA Portland LinkedIn Group, the Portland Ad Fed LinkedIn Group and several other MarCom and personal interest groups on LinkedIn. Last winter I used the Job Board on the AIGA Portland LinkedIn Group to find a designer for a project, and I was impressed with how many quality candidates emerged via my simple request. It was a “context is king” moment, for sure.

One thing about LinkedIn that’s clear is how wise use of the site can benefit an individual. What’s less evident is how the site might also help a company–outside of recruiting staff, which is a big part of the site’s utility. Can one prospect for business on LinkedIn? Can one build a brand on LinkedIn? These are the questions that have to be answered if LinkedIn is going to be part of a client’s Social Media Marketing mix.

For me, the answer is yes and yes, because individuals make up a company and the brand. One of the hallmarks of SMM–whatever the channel–is consistent and generous sharing of one’s expertise and interests. LinkedIn is an industry specific setting for this kind of sharing.

Client Showcase #3

Danville Support Services is a Salt Lake City-based company that provides professional in-home care for seniors and people who have disabilities.

After all the work I’ve done in my career for beer brands, cigarette brands and technology brands, Danville Support Services is a definite change of pace. And a welcome one. I love that there’s a remarkable and genuine brand story here, as these two local news clips plainly reveal:

These videos came to us as existing assets–Bonehook did not arrange for the PR.

We did make a place for them on Facebook and on the company’s “refreshed” website.

MarCom Fundamentals More Important Than Ever, But It’s An All New Game

I came up in the business as a copywriter. I learned the craft and spent many years making things like print ads and radio spots. Then the web happened. Now I don’t make as many print ads or radio spots. I make web sites and create interactive experiences now. That’s the market today.

There are very few passive consumers today. People are armed with real-time information, from brands, the media and one another. The digital milieu is another planet from the static media of the past. Therefore, “ads” that work online do not look nor act like ads of old.

Today we are busy creating anchors–brand sites driven by content strategies that keep them growing and evolving on a day-to-day basis. Once these anchors are in place, social media marketing and search marketing are important next steps. And when it comes to social media marketing, there’s a wealth of ideas to discuss, but Facebook keeps edging to the top of the list of topics that matter.

According to Amy Porterfield of Social Media Examiner, there are four proven steps to Facebook success.

In another article on Social Media Examiner, Michael Stelzner argues that Facebook has grown to over 500 million active users for a reason. “They make it really easy for people to connect at a human level.”

Connecting at a human level brings us full circle. That’s what we always hoped to do with traditional advertising, and in the best cases, achieved it.

Today, the mission remains the same—connect with a brand’s best prospects and current customers and deliver them the information or entertainment they most desire. It’s the same mission, but the prospects and customers are now social, they’re mobile and they want whatever it is they want NOW, not in five minutes.

In order to meet the increased demands of empowered customers, everyone who “touches the brand” needs to be inspired to adopt a customer service mindfulness. Here is one reason why: when you create a Facebook page for your brand and many of the “fans” are employees, contractors, business partners, friends and family, you can see how word gets around. Literally.

Again, I marvel at the magnitude of the changes underway in marketing communications. A successful communications plan today often has major operational implications. Welcome to the social.

Online, Brands Are Built One Atom At A Time

Jason Fry of Reinventing The Newsroom wonders what content atomization means to media brands. On Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, Fry argues that media brands are increasingly meaningless today because we, as readers, don’t rely on them for news; rather, we rely on our network for leads to news and search engines to find said news.

Too often, home pages are committee-built disasters anyway — a cacophony of news, features and corporate messaging from every internal constituency too big to be ignored. Readers, relentlessly trained to hunt for signal, rightly dismiss them as noise. When he was consulting for the Guardian, TBD.com’s Jim Brady shut down the Guardian America front page, explaining to PaidContent’s David Kaplan that “you’re better off putting your stories on Twitter and posting them on Digg and Facebook and pitching them to blogs that can move a lot of traffic, than posting them on a section front that’s getting no traffic anyway. One of the things I pushed for was that you have to get away from the idea of getting people to simply come to your home page. You have to get your home page to the people.”

What can non-media brands learn here? Plenty. For one, any brand operating online needs to create content worth talking about and sharing, and it must be easy to find via search. This may sound simple, but it’s not. Media companies are content pros, and they’re struggling to adopt an entire new set of rules for the digital space. It’s like they were playing polo for 100 years and now all of a sudden, they’re made to play water polo.

Fry mentions consumers relentlessly hunt for signal while ignoring the fluff. That’s also the way people shop online, whether they’re shopping for information, or shopping for a product in an online store. Again, there’s a lot to learn here for brands of all shapes and sizes. Traditional advertising is heavy on the fluff, but that doesn’t play online, not when someone is hunting for a good price on a new canoe or that special case of wine.

The point about needing to get your homepage to the people is also well made. To me it means more than adding one’s URL to every point of contact, it means making one’s homepage worth visiting. As mentioned, that takes content that’s worth sharing and easy to find. It also means the brand’s website and social channels must be a special destination of some sort. Brand loyalists need to be rewarded for their visits and time spent. This can be accomplished through web-only promotions, by creating special clubs for online fans and/or by incorporating social gaming mechanics into a site.