Twitter as testimonial ad (proceed with caution)

The Coen Brothers' latest movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, is widely regarded as one of the year's best. It also delivered an interesting twist on movie advertising.

The movie is probably the first to use a single tweet in a full-page ad — in the New York Times!

The ad features an abbreviated quote from Times' film critic A.O. Scott.

"I'm gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well, my honeys."

There has been some significant discussion about the ethics of this, especially since Scott did not authorize use of his tweet in ad. The Times' Public Editor's Journal blog has a nice breakdown of the situation.

All this gets me to wondering how hospitals and doctors can harness the great things their patients say about them — 140 characters at a time — across multiple mediums. 

But remember to always ask permission first!


Source: Adweek & New York Times


Getting to yes, the honest way

Spin. As a marketer and communicator, it's a word I have always avoided. 

Positioning. Now that's something I can get behind.

A recent cartoon by David T. Jones for Yahoo! ("Advertising Means Never Having to Say 'No,'" October 25, 2013) got me thinking about how we as marketers answer what should be a simple question.

Image source:  AdLand on Yahoo!

Image source: AdLand on Yahoo!

It is all about the value proposition. In the cartoon, the buyer connects certain values to "organic" while the seller attributes similar values to "farm," "nature," "fresh," "real," "whole," "artisanal," "ethical" and "sun-kissed."

Same? Maybe for some. But not for those searching for organic.

Would the organic-seeker settle for farm fresh? Again, maybe. But only if it is honestly presented.

So position away, but always ensure your position is rooted in both the truth and the actual experience your patients and customers will have. Because that experience is your brand — and will be the ultimate barometer of whether your position is solid.


Medical care is intended to help people …

There's no denying health care is big business. But the big payoff should be focused on patients.

2013-0710-Emergency Main Entrance sign.jpg

In a July 4 op-ed in the New York Times, H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine and an author on health care ethics, posited whether health care's current business model borders on "criminal."

"Medical care is intended to help people, not enrich providers. But the way prices are rising, it’s beginning to look less like help than like highway robbery. And the providers — hospitals, doctors, universities, pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers — are the ones benefiting."

Dr. Welch points to recent media coverage, such as Time magazine's 36-page cover story "Bitter Pill" (March 4, 2013), that shows pricing disparities and how consolidation has increased costs, notably to those who can least afford to pay them.

One area of concern is the acquisition of physician practices by hospitals and health systems. Is this motivated by money (hospital-owned physician practices get higher reimbursements) or achieving the Triple Aim (higher quality, lower cost and better patient experience)?

Probably both.

There are growing examples that show the acquisition of physician practices by hospitals has resulted in more tests and higher costs (Dr. Welch gives a few examples). There is also plenty of promise of better coordinated medical care through disease management and improved patient engagement.

But what is clearly evident — especially in areas where "integrated" health systems are truly integrated (think Kaiser Permanente) — is that care can improve when everyone is working collaboratively toward the patient's well-being.

Dr. Welch had another poignant line:

"… what happened to the word 'community' next to the word 'hospital?'"

By building a truly integrated system — from physicians to hospitals to community wellness programs — we can again focus on improving the health and well-being of our communities and reserve the medical part of the system to take care of those who genuinely need it.

That's accountable care — being accountable to the community you serve and the patients who put their trust in you.