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posted by Teresa Coles Jun 22,2010 @ 02:07PM

What’s NXT in health care?

Just ask our friends at NXT, a non-profit research collaborative dedicated to advancing innovation in the delivery of patient care. We’re working with them to develop a brand and audience engagement strategy that will allow them to facilitate some of the most exciting research initiatives we’ve come across in a long time.

For example, NXT has already successfully led two research projects sponsored by the Department of Defense: an architectural study in collaboration with the Clemson University Architecture + Healthcare program on the Patient Room of the Future, as well as an Electronic Medical Record interoperability program. Today, they’re working with MIT scientists on the development of health management tools within the hospital room that make it easier to manage multiple physician specialists, communicate with off-site family members, and access all medical records. At the same time, they’re working with Clemson architecture students on the Provider Room on the Future, exploring new layouts in room design, materials, workflow and communications within the exam room setting.

While these in-hospital communications tools and facility design projects are integral to health care today, people like Tom Jennings and Salley Whitman will tell you that real health care innovation will ultimately happen within the home: in designing tools that will directly link patients to their healthcare providers in real-time. They’re on a mission to bring together other health care planners, product development experts, facility designers, nurses, IT professionals and behavioral scientists from all over the world to make sure this kind of out-there thinking happens right here. Right now.

posted by Cathy Monetti Jun 21,2010 @ 11:59AM

Our Favorite Facebook Status Update, of Late

posted by Kevin Smith Jun 14,2010 @ 06:25AM

Three Lessons to Learn from GM

The fact that we might be able to learn a thing or two from GM is proof that even dreadfully dire situations can be salvaged. Sure, $50 billion in government loans helped a little, but a retooled marketing strategy has hastily pulled the company out of the ditch during this not-so-sound phase of modest economic recovery. Here's what I've learned:

1. Step back, assess and edit.

Or in GM's case, truncate. Through its family of brands, GM had something to offer everyone. The problem was, cars like Saturn and Pontiac found themselves in a very crowded middle market. GM cut back to the core, pruning underperforming products and refocusing where they knew they could succeed.

2. Focus on your product.

GM had a stable of products that had not been updated in more than a half dozen years. Yes, they're still making the Impala. New design sells. It was time to reinvent and revive the old as well as introduce some new.

3. Speak plainly.

Break Through. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit. Art and Science. Mark of Leadership.

Cadillac alone has had all four of these taglines, and all in about as many years. The above lines were developed when the Cadillac line didn't leave marketers anything tangible to promote. In the absence of performance, awards or technical innovations, GM's agencies gravitated to emotional fluff the cars themselves could support. New leadership favors a more direct, rational approach. GM is in the process of shifting the discussion to one about, well, cars.

The new economy consumer is a mix of cautious, rational and skeptical. He demands proof of product excellence and the justification needed to part with his dollar. It's nice to see GM begin to meet his standard.

posted by Cathy Monetti Jun 07,2010 @ 12:50PM

5 *Rules* for Social Media Engagement

The other day, I promised a strategic partner I'd write a post about the most important lessons we've learned in this Wild West world of digital and social media.

Let me say: I've never been a fan of "rules" in marketing (other than to give us a really good baseline from which we can divert). I mean, when every brand in the category is doing it one way, isn't it our job to find another vastly more interesting alternative?

Well, of course. Just ask one of my style icons Andy Spade, who always does things in a most unexpected and delicious way.

But still I promised the post. So here it is.

Wild West Bill

Rule #1 Accept that it is the Wild West out there.

We get requests every day for case studies to validate the recommendations we are making to our clients/prospective clients. I'm a big fan of the case study; there's usually a really interesting story arc and beautiful creative presentation. But in this crazy new world of social media, the only way to have a real impact is to do something that is so custom, so true to the heart of your brand, it has never been done before. You have to blaze a new trail.

Rule #2 Think cross-platform.

Someone told me years ago: You know you've learned a foreign language when you catch yourself thinking in that language. That's just what you have to do with all the emerging communication channels out there. Don't start with a traditional media campaign and then try to figure a way to tack some Facebooking and Twittering on to the end of it. Instead, start with a big idea. Then find interesting ways to deploy it seamlessly across traditional and nontraditional media.

Rule #3 Develop the strategy first.

Seriously. Start the old-fashioned way, by determining not only what you are going to do, but why you are doing it, and with whom. Get clear on your objectives.

Rule #4 Be interesting.

Ever been to a cocktail party and gotten cornered by a "talker"? (Thank you, Tim Burke.) It's painful, and all you want is escape. That's how prospects feel when the only topic of conversation you have with them is YOU. Instead, initiate conversations on topics they find interesting and engaging.

Rule #5 Understand the difference between interruption and engagement.

Way back in October of 2009, Alex Bogusky wrote a post I'm getting out of this business again. The entire post is worth a read, but I've pulled the section that spoke so loudly to me:

“The market forces created by the rapid demise of mass media and traditional media models have made the real business we’re in clearer than ever. We’re in the business of . . .creating new ideas . . . so compelling and entertaining that the consumer searches them out. . . . Brilliance will be more powerful than ever, and yet everything from above average on down will become invisible. Produce ordinary ideas and nobody will ever see them.”

It's daunting. It's also true. And I guess that makes it the most important *rule* of all.

posted by Apprentices Jun 03,2010 @ 02:09PM

What’s making poor college students pay up (and it doesn’t involve a keg)

I knew very little about my college major (advertising) when I first chose it freshman year. It was my professors who taught me the trade, helped me improve and opened my eyes to the opportunities stretched out before me. They encouraged me, critiqued me and congratulated me when I finally succeeded. My professors were my bridge from youth to adulthood, from student to professional.

The professors I’m referring to are those from the University of South Carolina. But if I had attended Virginia Commonwealth University (and if I had been a design student) I would be speaking of Peyton Rowe.

I’ve only met Peyton once, but once is all it takes. She has a huge, friendly, enthusiastic personality. There’s no other word for it – she is beloved by her students. Not only is she open and fun-loving, but she also took Riggs Partners’ CreateAthon and adapted it into a student event called CreateAthon onCampus. She provided a way for her students to do real work for real clients. And trust me – to a student, that is a huge deal. (I’m not even a student anymore, and I still feel like a celebrity when I see something in public that I created.)

This summer, Peyton is switching roles. She is going to be the student, attending a summer intensive hosted by the School of Visual Arts in New York City. The course is called IMPACT: Design for Social Change, so Peyton will be learning new ideas and methods to implement with CreateAthon onCampus. On the downside, the total cost of her adventure will be roughly $10,000.

Students, this is your opportunity to say “thanks.”

Here at Riggs Partners, we’ve started a fundraiser to help Peyton pay tuition and living expenses. We have created a Facebook page called “Send Peyton Away,” a place for her students to gather and show support. On the page, we ask for a $10 donation (although some donors have generously given more). I know how tough it is being a poor college student; it wasn’t that long ago for me. But I think everyone has $10 to spare, especially for that one person who helps you reach your goals and chase your dreams.

What has Peyton done for you? Let her know how much it meant:

- Sammy Rutkowski




By the numbers

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