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posted by Teresa Coles Sep 22,2010 @ 12:33PM

Social media in healthcare: people + planning before posting

Putting up a Facebook page does not constitute a social media strategy for a healthcare organization. Social media is but one part of an overall inbound marketing program that can help pull people to your healthcare brand, and it uses the power of community and conversation to do so. Authentic healthcare brands understand this dynamic and take the time to consider what motivates people—those inside your organization and the consumers you serve—to interact within this space. Combine this audience insight with proper policy planning, and the odds of a successful social media strategy will increase exponentially.

Consider these planning steps and resources before you start creating social media channels for your healthcare organization:

1. Listen to what people are already saying about you. There are a number of tools available you can use to monitor conversations about your brand and healthcare as a whole. They range from the basics such as Google Alert and Twitter searches to more comprehensive platforms such as Trackur, SocialMention and Addictomatic. By listening to the people around you first, you can gain insights that can help you develop relevant strategies for content development.

2. See who's doing it right out there. We're a big fan of Ed Bennet, a web strategist at the University of Maryland Medical System. Ed understands that social media is no longer a marketing luxury, but the new standard in responsible communications—and he doesn't shy away from telling you that. Check out his Found in Cache, a social media resource for healthcare professionals. In addition to some inspiring case studies, you'll find a list of social media policies developed by a number of hospitals and other healthcare related groups.

3. Develop a social media policy that acknowledges the power of employees as brand advocates. We love this post from Bill Weider, CandidCIO, whose willingness to put a draft of his healthcare organization's social media policy right there on his blog—and ask for feedback on it—epitomizes the spirit of open source collaboration among professionals. Secondly, we applaud his acknowledgement of employees as the strongest online influencers a healthcare brand can have.

4. Address and protect patient confidentiality and routing of clinical questions. The University of Texas: M.D. Anderson Cancer Center does a nice job of specifying social media protocols as it relates to patient confidentiality, and provides instructions for appropriate routing of clinical questions. Mayo Clinic also provides easy-to-understand guidelines to employees on appropriate participation in blogs and other social media channels. Posting the guidelines within the blog, for all to see, is reflective of Mayo's open attitude toward social media and appeals to the employees' sense of goodwill toward patients.

5. Develop a strategy for interdepartmental collaboration and engagement. Don't develop your social media policy, marketing strategy, or workflow plan in a silo. While the marketing department should lead and manage this endeavor, it's important to remember that social media is of, for, and by the people. That includes other people in your healthcare organization. Take the time to engage these influencers from the beginning, and you'll reap the benefits in the end.

posted by Teresa Coles Sep 20,2010 @ 08:45AM

Lessons from my CreateAthon closet

So I pulled out a pair of 13-year-old jeans and wore them to work on Thursday. Nothing special about them, other than the fact that they’re the ones I wore to the very first CreateAthon in 1998.

I explained to the team assembled for Riggs CreateAthon this year that I had worn them for the first five years or so of CreateAthon. Then I replaced them with newer cuts and darker washes that seemed to make for a more pulled together 24-hour ensemble.

This year, I felt an overwhelming need to pull those jeans out of the drawer, and I didn’t really know why. Now that CreateAthon 2010 is over, the significance of those Express bellbottoms as a metaphor for CreateAthon is abundantly clear.

  1. They’re worn, but you can’t wear them out. I’ve had the privilege of traveling the CreateAthon road with many of the same people year after year. Their spirit is indefatigable, and it lifts me higher every year.
  2. They are a humble lot. CreateAthon starts with understanding that the world is not about you; rather, an understanding that you have a part to play in it.
  3. They are persistently unassuming. I’m reminded of the grace of so many people I’ve seen hunkered down at their computers at 4:00 in the morning, quietly going about the business of making miracles.
  4. They go with everything. No matter what your particular skill set or area of expertise, everyone—and every task—has equal value during CreateAthon.
  5. They are timeless. CreateAthon is all about seeing what can happen when you push yourself to give beyond your comfort zone, then see those gifts come back to you in the way of rich, new relationships and experiences. It happens time and again, no matter how many years you’ve done CreateAthon.

My thanks to all who have put their hearts and minds in the same place for 24 hours to let the power of creativity empower good. And to my old jeans for reminding me that humble endeavors are those that have the most long-lasting value.

posted by Guests Sep 16,2010 @ 08:21PM

It's After Midnight.

The morning is gone. And so are the planning meetings. Decisions are being made. We are drinking coffee and bringing things to life while you’re dreaming.

When they first hear about CreateAthon, the first comment people often have is how hard it must be to work all night. It’s really not. There are so many ideas to bring to life, 24 hours is barely enough time to make it all happen. But your body generally frowns upon 48 hours of wakefulness. So we’ll stick with what works.

Speaking of, I have work to do. Lots and lots of work to do.

By Guest Blogger Julie Smith, The Adams Group

posted by Guests Sep 16,2010 @ 05:08PM

CreateAthon. The Halfway Mark

- Keely Saye

posted by Cathy Monetti Sep 16,2010 @ 08:48AM

It’s CreateAthon. Game On!

At 8:00 this morning, some 30 (or so) dedicated and talented folks gathered at the Riggs Partners World Headquarters in the WECO building in West Columbia. For the next 24 hours, these brave souls will develop branding, advertising, public relations, inbound marketing, web, you-name-it, for 10 South Carolina nonprofits. Fueled by junk food and caffeine (well, except for Dean, and we've got odds on that one), we'll hit it hard until 8 tomorrow morning, when we will share our work with formal presentations to each of our nonprofit clients.

Julie Smith Turner greeted me this morning with the perfect hello: "It's CreateAthon, the best day of the year." And she's right.

We invite you to take this journey with us as we chronicle it here, on Facebook and via Peyton Rowe's blog.

Good things are happening.

posted by Chris Underwood Sep 15,2010 @ 01:59PM

CreateAthon: Act 1

Here's a closer look at the 10 nonprofits we selected as beneficiaries of this year's CreateAthon. It's an amazing mix of organizations doing great work out in the world, from substance abuse rehabilitation and watershed protection to extracurricular programs and community-wide healthy living initiatives.

With less than 24 hours to go before CreateAthon starts, now's the time we begin to question how we'll ever do it all. Can we really affect change for these organizations in one day? Only time —and a willing spirit—will tell.

posted by Cathy Monetti Sep 14,2010 @ 01:34PM

Thoughts on CreateAthon, from a Veteran

The following post first appeared on the fantastic design blog Graphicology on September 19th of last year. Superstar art director (and keeper of the Graphicology blog) Jason Smith was an integral part of the CreateAthon team last year, and his reflections on the event moved us to tears (quite literally). With his blessings—and in anticipation of CreateAthon '10 this Thursday/Friday, we are reposting it here, in its entirety.

268. What I Learned At CreateAthon '09.

Last Thursday at 8am began my first foray into CreateAthon. I had been threatening for years to be involved in some way, and I finally made good on that—learning quite a bit along the way.

First, you should know what CreateAthon is. CreateAthon is (from the site)"...a 24-hour, work-around the clock creative blitz during which local advertising agencies generate advertising services for local nonprofits that have little or no marketing budget. Since the program’s expansion from a single market to a national effort in 2002, 73 agencies have joined the CreateAthon network, holding CreateAthon events in their cities. This effort has benefited over 1,000 nonprofit organizations with 2,248 projects valued at more than $10 million."

So yeah, it's like anything that is followed by -athon. You do it, nonstop until the job is done only instead of money we're raising ideas that can live long past the event. You drop everything for 24 hours and focus on a problem or two that can be helped with a little design, writing, some creative thinking, strategy, multimedia or whatever you can give. Time being the key gift. And you give that gift to a select group of nonprofits. The nonprofits that we were assigned had to go through a thorough application process and be approved before the event.

CreateAthon was started 12 years ago by Riggs Partners, a much cooler than you can imagine group out of Columbia, SC. I've known Cathy Monetti, Teresa Coles and Kevin Smith for several years now and finally got down there to participate. I wasn't sure what to expect. I have turned around a project or two in less than a day during my career, but nothing like this. We were going to go from creative brief discussion at 8am to concept to execution to presentation to driving home without much sleep all in 24 hours. Yikes! But I couldn't resist being included and knew that because of the time limit on the process that much would be learned. And what thing learned isn't even more powerful when shared?

What I learned during CreateAthon '09.

1. The effect of ego. Immediately upon walking into Riggs early on Thursday morning, you knew there were no egos. Everyone was an equal part in the process and was equally respected. We were all coming together for a cause and that spirit was palpable. That had largely to do with the founders at Riggs, but let's just say everyone there were the nice people with which you would like to work. This was a good thing come 4am when you might otherwise freak out. This absence of ego was refreshing.

17 people. Zero Egos? Yep. (With me in the back as usual.)

2. What is your title / responsibility again? Every team had a strategic AE, an art director, a writer and one senior person person from Riggs to make sure everything was okay, but to be honest I could hardly tell who was resonsible for what. If you want a model of integration or collaboration or whatever fancy word is being thrown about these days, this was it. The AE took strategic thoughts form the art director. The art director took design input from the AE, the writer helped choose a strategic plan, the student on our team killed an idea (wisely) and was as free to speak his/her mind as one of the Riggs partners. This and the ego thing above went a long way to make this an enjoyable effort. I think replicating this spirit on a normal project, consistently over time, with regular employees would make the creative/strategic product better for sure. Not to mention the effect on morale.

3. Time constraints can be your friend. The impossible was done, going from brief to presentation in under a day, but there is a hidden lesson to be learned and that is the fact that a lack of time forces one to trust their creative instincts more. We had to think about it (concept), ask someone for his or her feedback, and then decide. (This was one of the taglines for the day, written down and everything.) There simply was no time for waffling or indecision. The clock was at once our friend and enemy. I could be wrong, but I believe Milton Glaser is quoted somewhere as saying that the more parameters he is given, the better his work becomes. I think Glaser would like CreateAthon.

I just need to: 1. think about it. 2. Talk about it. 3. Decide.

4. Insight versus problem reiteration. Raise your hand if you've ever been given a strategic brief that simply reiterated an obvious problem, and gave you nothing new with which to work. Ok, put it down. You would have loved the briefs we were given during CreateAthon. They were simple. Clear. Concise. And most importantly provided a strategic platform that helped focus the creative work. As a matter of fact, most of the briefs were every bit as creative as the final work. Working from these documents was a joy and saved a lot of that valuable factor we mentioned in lesson #3. I believe Katy, Kevin, and Teresa were responsible for all the briefs and they were great.

Katy presenting her brief and organizing our effort.

5. Sharing. This is slightly different than mere collaboration. Around midnight on Friday morning, we took some time (time that maybe—technically—could have been wrongly argued to be better spent actually working,) and got around a table to present our progress to all the teams. Seeing all the work from the other teams gave us a chance to applaud the good, nudge things that might need a little change, prepare for our final presentations a mere 8 hours later, but overall be encouraging to those laboring on other projects. It was inspiring to see what everyone else was creating and to show off what we were up to. This was as close to a creative community as I have witnessed. Sharing your work in process and being open and sensitive (the good sensitive, not the bad) to the reaction it garners is more than beneficial. It's also fun. Below, George, a photographer mind you, presents some of his copy and a design from Ryon - who by the way can really make typography sing like it's supposed to.

Our Third Quarter Progress Presentation.

6. Trust. Because there was no time we had to rely on each other. When someone gave you negative feedback on something, you really had no choice but to trust it. And by you - I mean me. There was a point on our project when I was very close to nailing a design but something wasn't quite right. What I was hearing was negative feedback, or at least constructive criticism, and they were right. Trusting people that I had not known very well (at least this intimately or creatively) in something as important as I consider design was not difficult in this environment. I took the feedback. Made a change. And the creative was better for it. You can try to be as collaborative as possible, but if you don't trust the people around you it's impossible.

7. How to use down time. Normally, if I am working on a project and get a little burnt or tired of working on it, I'd walk away from it. Go for a walk. Hit the gym. Grab a coffee or whatever. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing. But I also learned that maybe the best thing to do when stuck on something is to go help someone else. This was surprisingly an effective means of recharging my own efforts. I am not sure just how helpful I was to the other teams, but there were a couple of times I tried to give my two cents and help solve a problem that wasn't mine. When I came back to my own little hole, it was much easier to dig myself out of it. And I should have done this even more. Imagine if everyone at your agency or studio did this regularly.

Me trying to payback all the mojo by helping Lauren before her presentation.

8. Fun. This might seem like a little thing, but there is a difference that can be seen in the work when people that are having fun produce it. I believe the entire team had fun on every project and that's why you should get your agency and or studio to join next year. It's never too early. You'll have a blast, especially if you can replicate the environment and spirit present inside Riggs headquarters last Thursday/Friday.

Cathy being cheerful even at an ungodly hour.

Also, don't forget to bring a few toiletries as you do not want to look and smell like I did come 8 o'clock presentation time. (More proof that the Riggs folks are nice, they never mentioned it. Ha.) Try to work with people who are not as photogenic as our group, because you end up looking like the homeless person in the crowd. (I'm not offering photographic proof of this, just take my word for it.) And for goodness sakes get some sleep built up beforehand unlike me. You'll need it.

Thanks everyone for letting me play a part this year. I'll be back for sure.

The entire gang post -athon.

posted by Kevin Smith Sep 13,2010 @ 11:37AM

A wondrous time of year

It's time for our 13th annual pro bono all-nighter for nonprofits, CreateAthon. I love it because we're exposed to all manner of new and sometimes atypical problems that marketing can help solve. This week, we're busy finalizing strategy for this year's nine new 24-hour clients.

The volume and concentration of these worthwhile organizations clearly illuminates one thing. Messaging is fragmented. Message fragmentation is pervasive among those seeking our counsel, paid and pro bono alike.

The current business climate demands, and richly rewards, focus. This is not a new phenomenon. Al Reis penned his book Focus: the future of your company depends on it more than 10 years ago. Yet due to the current economic atmosphere, companies seem more determined than ever to be all things to all people.

Back in June, I wrote about GM's newfound sense of focus and its resulting return to profitability. Some months later, I continue to follow GM CMO Joel Ewanick's combination of unrelenting focus and highly distilled common sense.

Joel recently sat down with Advertising Age for an interview. That Chevrolet needs to do some storytelling about the legendary designs influencing new models is a breath of fresh air. In addition to this focus, Ewanick has the common sense to understand the wrong turns Chevy took. On Americana, for example: "The nice thing about Chevrolet is that people know it's an American brand. We don't need to remind them of the obvious."

Economic free fall is behind us at last. We're going to be in a sideways economy for a long time. Let's embrace this new reality with the conviction to stand for something rather than for everything. I know it's hard, and it seems risky. Then again, if GM is more agile than your hospital, bank, or restaurant — it's time for a leap of faith.

posted by Teresa Coles Sep 13,2010 @ 09:59AM

New Crop of CreateAthon Clients

You’d think it would be easy by now. But it still gives us heartache when we’re forced to choose from among the many CreateAthon™ applications we receive. Nevertheless, we’re happy to announce the 10 nonprofit organizations that will be beneficiaries of free creative marketing services during our 13th annual CreateAthon on Thursday, September 16th.

Organizations selected this year include:
· Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg
· Gills Creek Watershed
· Girls on the Run
· Healing Species
· March of Dimes
· Ladies Armed with Knowledge
· Partners for Active Living
· Recovery Works
· ScienceSouth

With less than one week to go before the big event, we’re in full CAT mode. We’ve met with each of these organizations, developed briefs, assembled the teams, and held our official preview party. Now if we could just get that snack list filled up. Any volunteers?

posted by Cathy Monetti Sep 09,2010 @ 11:56AM

You Gotta Love It When Someone Smart As David C. Baker Validates Your Year-Old Business Model.

You also gotta love Julie Turner for asking the question! Check out David Baker and ReCourses. We love.




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