Why Marketing Should be Dropped From “Influencer Marketing”

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There is myriad data to support the idea that influencer marketing should be a core part of your marketing strategy. More than 92% of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. Influencer marketing campaigns drive 16 times more engagement than paid or owned media, while the average CTR of an influencer post is 15%. It’s only .15% for display and .68% for Facebook, on average.

 

These numbers are pretty staggering, yet marketers are not shifting advertising dollars to influencer marketing at a rate that would suggest acknowledgement of this performance increase. Although marketers know what influencer marketing is, many still don’t quite understand how it works or how to use it. Even when the ROI is substantially higher, their lack of understanding around what it takes to get to the ROI is prohibiting them from taking full advantage of this powerful medium.

 

The first thing to consider is that influencer marketing should no longer be treated as marketing because audiences don’t view it that way. Audiences varticle-2269300-1734324D000005DC-331_634x632iew influencers as purveyors of cool, simply because they do cool things. Those things can range from the practical, like giving advice, providing empathy, or applying makeup, to the impractical, like taking ridiculous basketball shots, Let’s Play videos and epic rap battles.

 

 

Audiences engage with influencers because they are interested in the content those influencers create. With the exception of the upper echelons of the celebrity elite, who amass followers and gain influence just for putting up a social media account, influencers still need to create content designed to add value and keep their followers engaged.

 

Just because a person has a large following on social media doesn’t mean he or she is influential. Influencers are influential because they influence their followers to do things, not because they market to them. A steady drip of content that showcases the fabulousness of their life, like 241B449700000578-2876938-image-m-46_1418779629199Balmain design lead Olivier Rousteing who rose out of relative obscurity to become a top designer, is key in maintaining sustainability. Rousteing did what no one dared do before him; he pulled the curtain back on high fashion. His goal was to make high fashion more accessible by showing what real life looks like, not just the hyper stylized version that plays out on the runways in Paris and Milan (although there is plenty of that as well.) This mass fascination by the public spawned a partnership with H&M and instead of commoditizing the brand, it made it more sought after. This is the power of the influencer, amassed and disseminated in a highly organic fashion.
In this case, Rousteing is providing value in the form of exclusive content. A never before seen view into the life of one of the world’s top designers. From the ultra sleek lines of a simple t-shirt, to the intricate stitching on a leather blazer, watching Rousteing’s creation is breathtaking, but the most shared content tends to be the most candid. The shot of him hung-over the morning after a London fashion show. Or the shot ofOLIVIER_R____olivier_rousteing__•_Instagram_photos_and_videos him working out with a personal trainer next to a glimmering pool just as the sun begins to rise. It doesn’t hurt that Olivier looks like a model himself with flawless skin and sunken cheeks, but he has built his personal brand into an empire using his social media influence to further extend and enhance that halo.  

 

For marketers the benefit lies in crafting a more humanized narrative communicated through the unique voice of the influencer. Balmain was hardly a household name prior to Rousteing and vice veBalmain-Designer-olivier-rousteingrsa, therein lies the sell. The core value exchange between brand and influencer is symbiosis. Some influencers are paid for their influence but others, typically those who aren’t already celebrities, exert their influence for free, understanding that by associating themselves with a brand, they can advance their credibility and further validate their message. The opposite is true when influencers sell-out and become brand shills, but the ideal balance is reached when brands simply ask influencers to do what they’ve always done.

 

Authenticity is key, that should go without saying, but the real value is unlocked  when a relevant brand is organically mentioned. For example, if Dude Perfect, makers of ridiculous basketball shot videos, started imgrestalking about the benefits of Spalding basketballs, that wouldn’t be a far stretch from the content they normally  create. Dude Perfect already talks about the way they meticulously plan their shots, so in that context, mentioning their preference for Spalding because of the superior grip, would feel seamless. This, as opposed to saying, “Go out and buy Spalding balls!!!” or even sponsored by Spalding, is the way brands are going to attract customers in the future. This is more akin to recommendation seeding as opposed to influencer marketing.

The dynamic isn’t entirely new. There are certainly some similarities between the way brands engage influencers now and the way they’ve engaged media in the past. But it has evolved from there and understanding the many nuances of how to integrate the influencer in as seamless a way as possible is key to maximizing ROI and will become even more critical as people get smarter. Influencer marketing needs to err more towards smart, subtle influencer integration, as opposed to overt influencer mouthpieces. If this can be done effectively, brands have an entirely new way of communicating their message and it won’t cost them a dime in media spend.

 

 

 

 

 

Your SMB is a Success, So Why is Your Social Media a Failure?

Your SMB is a Success, So Why is Your Social Media a Failure?

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So often, particularly with SMB clients, the misperception is that social will directly drive sales. These clients believe that if they pump 2 dollars into social marketing, then they should be receiving 3 dollars in return. The problem here is that these SMBs get social marketing confused with performance marketing. Unless you have an e-commerce mechanism in place and you are running social promotions, the impact on sales is circuitous. Social is far more akin to CRM than performance marketing. It’s also, to a certain extent, about branding. If you are running paid social ads then it’s about advertising too. One thing it isn’t about is A+B=C. Social to drive business imperatives starts with the consumer and it’s a long term play. It’s about understanding the mind of your consumer, their affinities and their digital behavior. What are they doing, what are they saying and what are they sharing online? If you understand these things and you reverse engineer a social experience that addresses all three, then that’s a pretty good start.

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Relying on insight to drive consumer collaboration is very much the genesis of #CreatedWith and it is one of the reasons the idea has resonated so impactfully. In a #CreatedWith scenario, which is essentially influencer marketing, the brand is leveraging influential entities who are already creating content and commanding an audience on social platforms. Ideally, the influencer should have already expressed brand affinity. Capitalizing on this organic behavior, the ask is extraordinarily simple, “Keep doing what you’re doing – fight the good fight.” This is the evolution of the celebrity pitchman. But instead of the celebrity being positioned as an active participant in the brand, albeit in a contrived often specious way, the pitchman actually is a brand participant and a luminary in the eyes of his followers. The return is actualized in the form of recommendations and we all know consumers trust brand recommendations from a friend (75%) more than an advertiser (9%).

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If you’re goal is branding, then leveraging social as a vehicle to espouse brand values is an effective use of the channel. If there was ever a time to champion modernity, flexibility and a veracious connection to your consumers, now would be that time. Brands understand the importance of facilitating experiences intended to capture the collective knowledge, feedback, delight and dissatisfaction of their consumers. Social, in this instance, serves as the means to greater transparency. The power shift from brand to consumer is ever burgeoning. Brand loyalty is an all but forgotten concept however, using social in this capacity to relationship build and catalyze allegiance, is also a proper use of the channel. Return in this case, involves sharing, retention and recommendation.

Lastly, there is social marketing, the tactical manifestation through which social can drive business goals, but again, this is more indirect. Social tactics that produce a positive and measurable result almost always entail a mission for the target audience. Whether that mission involves taking an action e.g. joining, sending, sharing, liking, giving (as is the case with Kickstarter), it should always be credible, simple and seamless. Social marketing helps brands tell their stories in a time relevant and relatable fashion. Social marketing can also spawn recommendations and drive-to-site, two more tangible metrics. But perhaps the most important use of social media, is to generate goodwill (which of course is ethereal but can be measured to a degree with sentiment scores, advanced natural language processing or surveys). Additional areas of return look like acquisition, awareness, curation and dissemination.

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In the examples above, which include influencer, branding and marketing, social doesn’t directly lead to a sale, but I can hardly imagine a brand manager discounting the importance of each. The problem is that many SMBs, through no fault of their own, the client contact is often in charge of multiple communications and marketing responsibilities, don’t conceive the value. It’s up to you to explain it. The go-to answer I often hear is, “social is an extension of brand.” Sure, it can be that. It can also be any one of the things mentioned above. But it rarely is a closed loop sales generating tactic. If only it were that tidy. 

In a world where differentiation is getting harder with every piece of content and preference is defined by whether or not a selfie is warranted, social can help mitigate the constant push and pull of 360 degree messaging. Now as those messages become increasingly brand ambiguous with your closest friend serving as Nike’s greatest mouthpiece, it becomes critical to integrate social strategies just so as not to get inhumed. That said, in order to achieve success, we all need to realign our expectations. The idea that social is a frugal, facile way to extoll the many virtues of digital marketing while generating instant return with viral fervor – is just plain (to pilfer a term from twitter) dereal. 

The Set It and Forget It Mentality of Millennials

The Set It and Forget It Mentality of Millennials

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The set it and forget it mentality is becoming increasingly prevalent in the ever-evolving relationship between brands and Millennials. What do I mean by set it and forget it? One of the things we know about Millennials is that they would rather make an investment with their time at the beginning of a relationship with a new brand, then continuously throughout the duration of the relationship. If a brand can promise ongoing value without the hassle of ongoing management, Millennials are sold. This allows them to focus on and pursue the things they are most passionate about in life. This is absolutely critical to Millennials, 79% of whom define themselves more by their personal success than their professional success. Millennials believe that if they involve themselves in a certain degree of setting it at the beginning of a relationship, the brand will honor its promise and allow the Millennial to then responsibly forget it. As long as the brand continues to deliver throughout the course of the relationship, the responsible forgetfulness will continue to proliferate. It is also critical to note that this entire relationship is facilitated through technology with little to no human interaction. Millennials are two to three times as likely to trust their data to technology, particularly if that technology is recommended by a friend.

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Now consider Baby Boomers, whose expectation is quite literally antithetical to that of the Millennial generation. Boomers expect and demand ongoing brand / consumer interplay for the duration of the relationship. The human connection is paramount to their experience. The interface is real-time and in person, at the very least it’s a phone call. In a forgettable scene from the movie Boiler Room, Jamie Kennedy’s character says, “If the stock falls she’ll call you everyday and God forbid the stock goes up, she’ll call you every fifteen minutes.” Substitute “she” for Boomers and the message is tantamount. Boomers believe that constant contact is not only their right, but their responsibility. Conversely, Millennials believe that trusting others to do their job allows them the freedom to take on other responsibilities. They would rather provide the setup and then stand back.

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         Using financial planning as an example, Boomers expect ongoing reports at regular intervals. They want to be able to manage the planners who are managing their money – even if they personally have no financial experience to speak of. Still, it is critical for Boomers to be able to call up their financial planner whenever they see fit. Millennials just aren’t at all interested in this. They trust companies like Wealthfront to deliver on their promise, if that promise speaks to them in a personalized and authentic way. Wealthfront exemplifies the set it and forget it mentality. Wealthfront “builds and manages your personalized, globally diversified investment portfolio, as the world’s largest and fastest growing, automated investment service.” This company requires your data input upfront to provide a personalized financial plan that they then, in a completely automated fashion, execute over a period of time determined by you. Wealthfront can quite literally make or manage millions of your dollars without you ever having to communicate with a live individual – a scenario most Boomers would characterize as nightmarish.

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The typical private wealth manager will take a 1% to 1.5% management fee on the portfolio. Wealthfront takes a .25% fee. Currently Wealthfront manages over 2 billion in assets. They have done this in three and half years which is faster than Charles Schwab. So clearly this model is working and causing all kinds of disruption in the financial industry. Marc Andreesen says, “The disruption happens when software eliminates an expensive middleman with no discernible loss of quality.” If there is no discernible loss of quality, and companies like Wealthfront save you not only money, but time… To quote Marc Cuban, this is a reasonable ROT, or return on time. Cuban understands that time is one of the most valuable commodities.

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My point is that maybe Millennials are really on to something here. They do understand their time is valuable. Who doesn’t? But unlike Boomers, Millennials are willing to do something about it. They actively practice set it and forget it. This is their mentality and their mantra. Why try to intervene in an area where they have no expertise? Even when planners are involved, Boomers still spend countless hours educating themselves on playing the stock market; Millennials spend a handful of hours researching an automated technology to play the stock market for them. Because this costs less and provides better ROT, it certainly would seem like Millennials are getting the better deal. Or are they just being lazy? Too trusting?

Good? Bad? Right? Wrong? Or perhaps too soon to tell? If Millennials continue to set it and forget it, then companies will continue to automate business models in an attempt to deliver the same returns with no discernible loss of quality. If this happens at scale, the services industry will never again be the same. One thing is for sure, the table is set for a generation lobbying for responsible forgetfulness, and who knows where that may lead?

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Influencer Mapping: Classifying Influencers In the Healthcare Communications Ecosystem

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Remits seem to be flying in on an almost daily basis for influencer identification in the healthcare communications ecosystem. Whether those influencers are patients, professionals, academics or HCPs, the demand for influential social mavens is at an all-time high. Clients understand the value of social influencers and plan to use them for a number of different reasons including, content creation, activation programs, expert panels, blogger summits, mentorship programs, awareness campaigns, or simply because they want a smart looking data visualization. Below I am going to delve into the world of influencer mapping and explain some of the key elements that go into making this activity a success. This post, the first in a series of two or three, will cover classification of influencers.

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The first thing I will point out is that an influencer is not a KOL. When you talk to a client about KOL mapping, the kind of work a Medcomms agency typically does, do NOT expect that from your influencer program. KOLs can also be digital influencers, particularly if they are HCPs or Academics, but digital influencers are rarely KOLs. An influencer can be converted into a KOL with training, exposure and a platform, but I will cover that process in a separate blog post.

Influencer programs should always start with social listening intelligence. The first step is to identify the main social platforms on which conversation is occurring. Interaction e.g. likes and retweets is not always the best indicator of when to source an influencer. It does help, but impactful influencers should also inspire conversation e.g. comments. Your social listening will often tell you that most of the conversation is occurring on Forums / FB Groups. Or on Blogs / Twitter. Many more recently popularized platforms like Instagram / Pinterest, two of the best platforms for visual content and preferred by Gen Z and Moms respectively, are good to keep an eye on, but for now lets focus on Blogs / Twitter and Forums / FB Groups.

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Now I’ll explain why I am grouping these social platforms as such. Blogs & Twitter are frequented by a certain type of influencer. These are classified as individual influencers because they have amassed a following all by themselves and they exert influence over this following. They aren’t reliant upon anyone else to help build their following or grow their influence. Take for example, a diabetes patient influencer who has thousands of followers on Twitter or subscribers to her blog. This influencer has, of her own accord, set out to establish and maintain a meaningful social footprint. She is not piggybacking off of an existing group or network. She has built her own.

Forum / FB Groups have a different type of influencer. These are classified as sub-influencers because they haven’t built their own network of influence, instead they are reliant upon an existing one. These sub-influencers may be working just as hard as individual influencers to create content, answer questions or engage community, but it is impossible to determine just how influential they would be if extracted from the Forum / FB Group then setup on their own.

The last grouping of influencers are classified as cross-influencers. Where most influencers are active on multiple social platforms, cross-influencers are also influential on multiple platforms. A cross-influencer is invaluable not only because of their reach, but also because they exert influence over the many types of people that frequent the different platforms they are on.

For the second step, after I’ve identified where the conversation is occurring, I segment the influencers into each of the three classes mentioned above, to form what looks like a hierarchy of influence.

The exercise here is to determine, based on the desired communications goal, which influencers are the most valuable. You do this by assigning value to key social metrics and then weighting those metrics according to the type of influencer. A sub-influencer’s engagement metrics would be weighted at a lesser value because they are part of a much larger Forum / FB Group that helps to amplify their influence.

The two other main considerations in influencer mapping are Audience and Relevance (in addition to Influence). I will cover those in my next post along with the various types of social data points I use to effectively amass social influence scores across the three influencer classifications I mention above. I invite your questions or comments below.

3 Things That Need to Happen in Pharma for Customer-Centricity to Work

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3 Things That Need to Happen in Pharma for Customer-Centricity to Work

Anyone who’s recently been to a conference, summit, pitch, health Meetup, or simply uses the internet, has surely heard of this thing we call customer-centricity. Essentially, it just means putting our customer at the center of the equation. For FMCG, Consumer Electronics and Retail this would seem like old hat, but for health, forever late to the party, it’s proved to be a bit of a revelation, one of which we are taking some serious ownership. You would have thought we’d invented it but alas… The catch-22 here is that, if our customer i.e. the patient or HCP is at the center of the equation, where does that leave the brand? See what I’m getting at? Brand-centricity has been a staple in health strategy for as long as there has been such a thing. To convince a brand that their customers are now at the epicenter is easier said than done. And therein lies the problem.

Many brand marketers are talking about customer-centricity like they really want to like it. It’s similar to America’s relationship with kale. In theory we love it, but in practice we just can’t quite figure out what to do with it. For brand marketers, maybe they don’t have the blueprint, maybe operationally their organizations make it difficult. Or maybe they just don’t understand it, although I’d really like to believe that they do. It’s just, for all this talk, there seems to be very little substantial action. But I’m still encouraged.

Social listening is now being utilized at the majority of top Pharma companies. Social insights are being used for planning, market research is pulling in data from social platforms, and health strategies are at least, taking into consideration what’s happening in the social sphere. It’s the execution that’s lacking. For a company to truly be customer-centric, then an actual customer needs to be able to connect with that company directly, authentically, and immediately.

1. Connect Directly: this is difficult and understandably so. In a regulated environment, to open up a direct and possibly public communication channel between brand and customer, could be a liability for all the reasons you already know, not the least of which is an AE. To address this, brands need to have insight into the platforms they are engaging on and they need to understand the technology that can plug into those platforms. This could mean a pre-moderation tool, an alert system, triage plan, etc. The point is that it can be done and it has been done already. But it isn’t easy. Customer-centricity presents a complete overhaul to the way we currently do business. It shouldn’t be easy. But it will be incredibly rewarding, not to mention inevitable. It’s up to you if you want to address this now proactively, or reactively in the future.

2. Connect Authentically: by this I mean making a real connection. I’m sure at this point you’ve tried everything under the sun to connect with your customers, making it seem authentic without rocking the regulatory boat. I’ve seen and participated in experiences that used canned responses, drop-down lists, quizzes, radio boxes, even connect the dots on an iPad. Although these are certainly steps in the right direction, as well as good ancillary engagement tools, they will never replace the desire that a customer has for making a direct connection. We could have another conversation about Millennials and their desire for automation and efficiency, but research still shows that if they have an issue, they want to connect with a real person. I didn’t say “talk”. They love the “click-here-to-chat-with-a-live-representative” button on say, a Verizon website, but the ability to actually make the connection isn’t going away any time soon.

3. Connect Immediately: The standard, multi week review times for MLR aren’t going to cut it here. If an environment is created that allows a customer to ask a question, only for the customer to then have to wait fourteen days for a response, then the entire interaction is nullified. Operationally there needs to be some level of internal restructuring that allows for the right regulatory bodies to review response content in a timely fashion. Even the few social Pharma experiences that have been created aren’t setup to facilitate a true ongoing dialogue. It’s fantastic that they’ve come as far as they have with a desire to push the boundaries, but they are still very “one and done”. We need to take it a step further in order to be at a point where we can say yes to customer-centricity…and mean it.

Customer-centricity is more than a fad, it’s a model that embraces the rapid changes in society and the emergence of the fickle, opinionated, hyper-connected, cord-cutting, over-sharing, tech-savvy, instant-gratification loving, Millennial generation. Just as other industries have adopted customer-centric models to appeal to this generation (not to mention Boomers who are also extremely relevant to the conversation), isn’t it high time Pharma followed suit, instead of just paying lip service?

For more information on customer-centricity and it’s role in regulated environments, please reach out to info@Hypertonic.com and we’d be more than happy to talk it out.

The Apple Watch and What it Means for Health: A Personalized Approach to Wearables

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The New Apple Watch. The Apple Watch with magnetic leather band. The latest in wearable health technology expected out early 2015.

The much-anticipated Apple event this morning, or afternoon if you are on the East Coast like me, went off with a hitch. The hitch being an absolutely abhorrent live stream experience that was only available through your Safari browser. Amidst the multicolor, 80’s looking barred screen, strange stock sounding music clips and error messages, I was able to view about 75% of the presentation live and then the remainder thirty minutes later. All in all, it was indeed a BIG event. The excitement somewhat  reminiscent of downloading your favorite songs from Napster, only to find that 4 of the 7 actually made it through. Aside from the new phone, which looks markedly different from the last, Payments, which looks similar to a more widely accepted version of Google Wallet, the real game changer was the announcement of the Apple Watch (not iWatch like many of us had speculated).

The Apple Watch is going to have custom sensors to measure intensity, distance and elevation. The idea is to gauge quality of movement, not necessarily quantity. A few other fitness wearables actually count the distance you’ve driven in your car towards your daily movement total. In the activity app three key aspects of movement are measured via a series of rings that look like a donut chart sliced in half: the move ring, which measures calories burned, the exercise ring, which measures brisk activity, and the stand ring, which measures how often you’ve stood up to take a break from sitting. This means less sedentary time spent at say, your apple computer. There is also a dedicated workout app that provides “more detailed (fitness / health) measurements when you need it most.” There will of course be a developer kit to allow for the creation of third party app development i.e. something like My Fitness Pal. Apple did reference the ability to goal-set, which in and of itself isn’t new. The real innovation comes in it’s ability to dynamically learn, helping you customize your goals to match your personal fitness level over time.

Most exciting to me is the way the Apple Watch is poised to revolutionize the health wearables market by providing a completely integrated and personalized health experience. Admittedly, I feel quite invested in health wearable as I am currently wearing a Nike Fuel Band and lately have been researching newer options, like the FitBit and Up24. This isn’t because I dislike the Fuel Band (I actually love it) but rather because it doesn’t incorporate key features, like sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, or the ability to gauge high intensity / low movement exercise, something along the lines of weight training. I was intrigued by the Up24 but I opted to wait and see what Apple had in store during the announcement today and I admit I wasn’t disappointed.Apple - Apple Watch - Overview

The Apple Watch is so much more than a way to experience content from your phone, on your wrist. It runs a completely new but “familiar” interface that uses the crown of the watch to scroll through and select content, similar to the way the first iPods made use of the click wheel. From a health standpoint the Apple Watch is essentially an “all-day fitness tracker… that can track a wider variety of activities because it’s able to collect more types of data. It uses an accelerometer to measure your total body movement. It has a custom sensor that can measure intensity by tracking your heart rate. And it uses the GPS and Wi‑Fi in your iPhone to track how far you’ve moved.” In addition to an accelerometer, also present in your phone, there is a new feature called a barometer that measures elevation by tracking air pressure. This means that the watch can track how high you’ve climbed as well as how far. It can also measure number of stairs, helpful if you live near the top of a walkup or frequent fire escapes.

The watch will be sold in three uniquely stylized lines called the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. The watch is priced at $350 – the catch is, you will also need an iPhone but let’s be honest, if you are going to buy an Apple Watch what are the chances you don’t already own the phone? We also don’t know if some of the more high end looking watch bands are going to carry an additional cost.

A few features Apple hasn’t mentioned yet but I hope they plan on incorporating: sleep tracking (they reference charging the watch at night so this doesn’t look promising, although the technology to do this is already built-in to your phone), blood pressure (I don’t know how they would pull this off on a wrist watch but as the rumors were flying the last few months, many notable sites and media outlets seemed certain Apple had found a solution, lastly power (those that don’t train with power don’t appreciate or even understand it for that matter, but what’s great about power is that it provide a benchmark for all your activity and you can compare and contrast it with friends. It’s funny because the proprietary “Fuel” metric is what I like most, while it’s also been the biggest criticism of Fuel Band).

The Apple Watch is set to launch early next year. Apple is now making developer kits available so you can only imagine the bevy of amazing apps that will be released with the watch. Whatever happens between now and Q1, one thing is for certain, Apple is going to take ownership of yet another market and we will never view health or wearables the same way again.

 

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The Apple watch with white band.

Why A Social Media Community Is Like New York City

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New York City. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. 8 million stories…Many things can be said about New York City but unlike any other city, if you are doing business in New York, New York wants you to live here. New Yorkers are famously outspoken against outsiders and when they refer to New York, they mean New York City. Long Island and Upstate may as well be another country. This may seem counter-intuitive because New York has, and always will be, a melting pot. But that pot only melds actual residents with addresses in the City. Whether it’s technology or real estate, if you are making money in New York, you need to be part of New York – for better or for worse. And for all the good, there is a whole lot of bad as well. The brutal winters, the stifling summers, packed subways, tiny apartments, overpriced everything, there is a familial thread that ties all New Yorkers together. You see this especially in times of crisis. No city has ever rebounded faster or stronger from a tragedy than New York after 9/11. But even during unexceptional times, if you meet a New Yorker on the other side of the world, you connect with them instantaneously. Even if it’s just for a moment, contained in a single look, it’s palpable. New Yorkers are probably the most ethnocentric breed but that’s because New York makes you feel like you are part of something bigger. You are either in or you’re out. New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester, all think they are in but really they are on the outside looking in. To quote Sinatra, “if I can make it there I’ll make it anywhere” and it’s true. But you need to be here. We want you here!

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For this reason, a social community is exactly like New York City. If you’re a brand trying to make money off of social, you need to be here. You need to be neck deep in social communities, forums, blogs and platforms. Companies like Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Starbucks all understand this and sure, they are billion dollar consumer brands with limitless budgets, but E.L. James built a billion dollar reputation through book forums long before 50 Shades of Grey, while Zappos relies on ratings and reviews for their outstanding service because they can’t compete on price. One vertical still hasn’t come to this conclusion however and unsurprisingly, it’s Health that’s late to the party. Health organizations would rather play ostrich with their heads in the sand than listen to, or engage in, the social community – petrified by perceived risk and calcified through process and regulatory. What’s more, the third most prevalent internet behavior behind general search and email, is looking for health information. The first step Health organizations need to take is social listening and many have done just that. But this isn’t nearly enough. It’s not a physical address. It doesn’t get you real estate. In order for Health to take advantage of this channel and monetize it, they need to live here, otherwise they’ll never get it. Like Long Island they are on the outside looking in and things will never change unless they decide to “make it here.”

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A good social agency is like a real estate agent. The first step towards residency is going through a broker. But you’d better select a broker who understands the market. The nuances of a patient population are just like the nuances of SoHo, Murray Hill or TriBeCa. An Uptown broker isn’t going to know all the quintessential intricacies of The Village just like a CPG agency isn’t going to understand all the unique idiosyncrasies of a patient population like MS. So when you do decide to finally make your move, please do two things – make sure you find yourself a good health agency and make sure they specialize in social.