Top 4 Brainstorming Pitfalls and How to Tackle Them

February 6, 2019Experience, Industry, Listening, Marketing

I used to react to an invitation to a brainstorm like an invitation to a party. Yes, of course I’ll take a break from my real projects and go play with my creative teammates for an hour. Over time, though, I learned that not all brainstorms are created equal. Some are unfocused and confusing, some are stifled and boring. Some are downright aggravating. Here is my list of the most common brainstorming pitfalls and ways to overcome them.   PITFALL 1: Disorganized conversations that don’t generate usable ideas. Solution: Plan ahead with two bad-ass documents: a brief and an agenda. Your brief should lay …

From Behind the Glass

February 1, 2019Experience, Industry, Listening, Marketing

With some of our clients gearing up to launch new campaigns, I’ve had the opportunity recently to spend time listening in on a few market research interviews. It’s probably one of my favorite parts of the process. I may be alone in that feeling. For those of you who have never been to or participated in …

Six Tips for Improving Your Localization Strategy in a Global Market

November 15, 2018Experience, Industry, Innovation, Marketing, Technology

The digital revolution has expanded our customer markets from local programs to global proportions. We now have access to a much broader target that’s easily reached via social or mobile around the world. However, today’s marketers should not make the mistake of assuming that a “smaller world” means a smaller message. While targets can be reached more …

Treating Patients and Judging Award Shows – Not so Different

October 26, 2018Experience, Healthcare, Industry

When I was at the Cannes Lions Health & Wellness International Festival of Creativity two summers ago, I attended a session aptly called “How to Win a Lion.” It was there that I realized that award show judges are a lot like doctors. According to a survey by Statista, doctors on average see about 20 patients a day. That’s thousands of patients a year, each with multiple symptoms, a unique medical history and their own set of concerns. Though they may have a common condition that they share with millions of others, each patient wants to be seen and treated as the individual that they are. Similarly, a judge who’s a regular on the award show circuit can be exposed to thousands of entries. In fact, judges at the Cannes Lions …

Driving Digital Deeper Into Our DNA at HCB … and for Our Clients

September 5, 2018Experience, Industry, Innovation, Marketing, Technology

Business is digital — and the healthcare space is no exception. Digitally empowered patients and customers are leading the way, emitting a digital data exhaust that begs to be harnessed. And with the availability of tools to make sense of it all (e.g., AI, social listening, software engineers, machine learning), coupled with the fact that manufacturers are increasingly steering their spend towards digital (albeit slowly), while hospitals are adapting more quickly, digital is finally moving from the margin to the middle. So, if business is digital, then digital needs to mean business. Given today’s realities, clients need a deeply skilled, digitally savvy partner and organization to help them not just keep pace, but fundamentally transform their business so they can create competitive advantage and better serve their customers. That’s …

“Yes, and !” What Improv Taught Me About Business

August 24, 2018Culture, Experience, Industry, Listening, Marketing

As with most extroverts, talking has always come easy to me. I love to discuss, debate, share and present. I’m in my element when I’m standing in front of a group of people and have always enjoyed performing. So when a friend asked me to sign up for improv classes at Second City in Chicago, it seemed like a no-brainer. Surely I would follow the likes of Tina Fey and be on my way to “Saturday Night Live” in no time! After all, I was good …

Trouble Connecting? Take it Offline

August 8, 2018Culture, Industry, Listening, Marketing

Have you ever received an email that you had to read a few times? The first time you read it, you detect a subtle attitude from the author. The second time you think it’s just sarcasm. Finally, you decide it’s not attitude; they are actually mad. Yup, their clipped language and lack of a friendly sign-off mean they are angry. So what do you do? First you react. Then you respond. You phrase your response perfectly so that the reader knows “I know you are mad, but here’s why I am right” or “Gosh, I am sorry you are mad. I am such an idiot.” But what happens if the writer isn’t mad at all? He just writes in short sentences and doesn’t do the common pleasantries. Here’s the problem: Email sucks at tone. It’s not always hard to detect tone, but I …

What Does It Mean to Be the Listening Agency?

June 29, 2018Culture, Healthcare, Industry, Listening, Marketing

A few years ago, I began doing executive coaching as a new discipline for the agency, after a few C-level clients asked me to work with some of their senior staff members to improve their leadership and communication skills. “Me?” I thought, “Why me?” But then I thought about the common theme that almost every former client had shared about working with me and the team at HCB Health — that we were good listeners. Since then, I have worked with many different folks from a wide range of pharma and device companies who …

Listen Globally, Act Locally

June 15, 2018Culture, Experience, Healthcare, Industry, Listening, Marketing

There is a paradox at play in the world of global marketing. We live in an age where the expectation is that messages can be shared instantaneously across the boundaries of time, language and location. We are more connected than we have ever been, yet we still are not a unified world. What motivates us, what inspires us and what drives a brand to succeed is vastly different between continents and cultures. Yet we talk about …