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 out the background, context and goals of the brainstorm. Ideally, you’ll have your brief reviewed and refined by whomever this brainstorm is for, ensuring your brainstorm is solving the right problems. Distribute your brief before …

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 a market research session, it’s pretty straightforward: a consumer comes in to give their opinion about the pieces we’re working on — in our case, it’s usually a doctor or a surgeon. …

Five Listening Tips I Learned from My Hair Stylist

December 5, 2018Experience, Healthcare, Listening, Marketing

Highlights, lowlights, babylights, splashlights. Painting. Gloss. Ombre, sombre, balayage. As my stylist likes to say, when it comes to hair color, “There are a lot of ways to get to France.” Ok, I get it: I come to my stylist with a look — or an outcome — in mind. My stylist, equipped with a myriad of techniques and skillsets, has to figure out the best way to achieve the look. Or even harder, to diplomatically redirect my hair hopes and dreams when my platinum aspirations are in direct contrast to well, having hair. Much like in the healthcare advertising world, stylists must have a deep knowledge …

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 efficiently, we must still apply the same discipline of crafting the right story for the right audience. Take the time to consider each and every audience and what drives them to action and then …

Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat. It Was Ignorance. (Curiosity Was Framed.)

October 4, 2018Culture, Listening, Marketing

The world’s greatest inventions, discoveries, innovations, products, services and companies all have one thing in common. They all blossomed from the seed of curiosity. When curiosity is nurtured and pursued, anything can come from it. But it can’t be passive or accidental. It must be as natural and active as our beating heart in order to see its fruits. At HCB, we’ve made it one of our core values because we believe curiosity is how we got here. It’s why our clients have stuck with us for so long. And it’s what keeps us growing in new and vibrant directions. Let me be clear that the act of questioning, prodding, wondering and seeking can be a messy one. Curiosity is the spark that can set an idea on fire or it can be a wet towel that sends you in …

Yes, My Degree in Bass Performance Really Does Apply to My Job in Advertising

September 21, 2018Culture, Experience, Listening, Marketing

And a one … and a two … and a one, two, three, go! I guess by now I shouldn’t be surprised at how many musicians there are in advertising — hell, I’m one of them. Everywhere I’ve worked, there have been guitarists, drummers, singers, pianists … and, perhaps most importantly, bassists. (Can you guess what I play?) My degree is in Popular Music Performance. It’s an unusual degree, I’ll grant you, and it never fails to come up in job interviews. So, after 11 years as a writer, I’ve had a lot of time to think about how experience in music relates to what goes on at an agency. And the …

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 …

“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 at talking and fancied myself to have a great sense of humor. In the following weeks I learned the basics. For starters, when you join a class, that class becomes your tribe. …

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 …

Cultivating a Culture of Listening

August 1, 2018Culture, Listening, Marketing

Hi there! Welcome to HCB’s first ever culture post! I bet you didn’t know you were coming to a healthcare marketing blog to read about culture, huh? Well you actually came to the right blog, because I happen to be heavily steeped in all things “culture.” Corporate culture? Check. Pop culture? Sure! Cheese curds? OH YEAH. But …