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My brand briefs are filled with heart-warming, heart wrenching twists of a phrase. They are meant to engage the Amygdala. Trust me, they work when it comes to selling brand strategy (one claim, three proof planks.) But unless you are Bob Dylan no consumer is going to remember your poetic brand claim and proof array. They may remember a song from an ad. They may remember a tagline plastered everywhere locked up with your logo. But for lasting impact and indelible brand strategy, choose deeds over words. Deeds and evidence.
The New York Yankees are a premier sports franchise because of their 27 world championships. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is “the best cancer care anywhere” (words) because its physicians have more experience treating cancer (deeds).
When companies bring their brands to me for help positioning, I look for deeds, evidence and proof. That’s the ore that precedes the jewelry.
Tags: amygdala, Bob Dylan, brand, Brand Planning, brand planning tips, Brand Strategy, deeds versus words, Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, ny yankees, one claim three proof planks, whats the idea, whatstheidea
I hate to pick on Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and its ad and web agency. MSKCC does such important work.
It’s a brand with some of the greatest promise in all of brand-dom. Healing. And had the organization not developed a great brand promise “More Science. Less Fear,” I’d have probably let them go about their business. But I can’t.
The thing about brand strategy is, you find a claim, then you have to prove it every day. With every ounce of marketing being. With every marketing dollar.
Above is a screen grab of the current home page. Where’s the science? Where?
“Specializing in you” is the most over-used service headline in the history of headlines.
Granted, the “more science” claim is not present on the home page, but it’s their claim none-the-less.
Tags: Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, memorial sloan kettering cancer center brand, memorial sloan kettering cancer center brand strategy, MSKCC, whats the idea, whatstheidea
I was watching a TV ad last night for a local hospital and groaned to the wifus as the fifth obligatory shot of a doctor group hit the screen. You’ve seen it before — the blue scrubs, four or five smiling heads. (Proper smiling is harder than surgery for some.) The only things that set this spot apart from the hundreds of other interchangeable hospital spots was the fact that each doc/nurse held a card containing a smiley face. And each smiley face was on what I thought was an outline of the state of NC. My wide told me it was a smiley face on a heart outline. A Valentines heart.
She thought it cute. Me not some much.
What was the muscle memory of the ad, which I think was created for Pardee Hospital? If the cards they held were hearts, I’m assuming they have a cardiology practice. Otherwise, the only take-away was they have a lot of white people working there, and 12.3% black. And they can all stand up. The copy way gobbledy, the visuals deafening in their silence, no idea and, frankly, no heart. “We’re Here” advertising at is worst.
The state of the advertising art in healthcare continues to be at an all-time low. Search What’s The Idea? posts for comments about Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to see that even the best practitioners are lagging. Pity.
Tags: Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, pardee hospital, pardee hospital advertising, state of healthcare advertising, we're here advertising, whats the idea, whatstheidea, wifus
If you say it be it. If you say it prove it. If you say it do it. Branding words to live by.
Every brand needs a claim or promise. The power and relevance of the promise is why companies invest in a brand strategist. Sadly, many brand promises are simple ad taglines. The one that comes immediately to mind is Northwell Health’s “Go North.” It was developed, I believe, by JWT, NY as a smile at the end of each TV Ad. Luckily, Northwell CMO Ramon Soto, hasn’t used the line on signage, called a logo lock-up. Monigle, the Northwell re-brand agency, probably counseled so. They know the difference between a brand strategy and tagline.
Go North is not a promise. It’s not much of anything except perhaps a dose of name-onics, a term initially coined by NY ad shop Jordan Case McGrath (I think). Go North-Northwell, get it?
You can’t be north. You can’t prove north. And you certainly can’t do north.
I rant here today because I saw another Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center ad over the weekend whose advertising tagline is actually a brand idea. And a good one. “More Science. Less Fear.” As good as MSKCC is at cancer, they are not good at brand strategy. The ad, a wonderful cure story testimonial, attempted to “prove” its more science claim with the words “groundbreaking treatment.” No explanation. As if potential cancer patient aren’t patient enough to read about a real treatment.
Be. Prove. Do.
Tags: be proof do, Jordan case mcgrath, jwt, jwt new York, Logo lock up, Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, monigle, MSKCC, Northwell health, northwell health tagline, ramon soto
I don’t like picking on Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s advertising. It’s not like they have better things to do than treat cancer. But strategy it’s my job.
I was reading online and a big pop up ad from Memorial overtook the screens. “The future of cancer care” was the type on the screen. It dissolved to a second screen which read “Now available on Long Island,” closing with logo and tagline “More Science. Less fear.” More science, by the way, is a genius brand strategy. But here’s the rub. And it’s a rub for the MSKCC brand managers and agency Pereira O’Dell. Prove it. Don’t waste your breath, pixels and budget on a claim. If you are trying to give patients and families hope, give them proof. Where the science at? Where the more science at?
We are smart consumers. We can take it. Start talking science.
This digital ad is from the “We’re here” school. This is our name, we are on Long Island, buy from us.
Shallow. More homework. Less fear.
Tags: all claim no proof, claim and proof, Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, Pereira O'Dell, whats the idea, whatstheidea
The foundation of the What’s The Idea? brand strategy framework is “claim and proof.” Say what you are good at and what consumers want, then prove it every day. Get the claim and proof right and you won’t have to reinvent the marketing wheel every year.
I don’t mean to pick on Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center whose claim “More Science (actual claim), Less Fear (marketing benefit)” is terrific, but they provide a good example of my dumbing down the proof point. In a print ad that ran this weekend, MSKCC supported its claim with their history of breaking new ground in immunotherapy. But then they dropped the ball in providing proof of how it works. Perhaps they thought we weren’t smart enough to read longer copy. (“People don’t read copy,” I’ve heard more than once.) I am aware of a home improvement company who cautions field reps to “keep it simple.” “Don’t give consumers too much to think about, you may talk them out of an appointment.”
Whether MSKCC or a home remodeler, it’s important to find proof that allows consumers to believe you. To trust you. To remember you. Good proof (read yesterday’s post for an example) is the fastest way to sales conviction.
Tags: claim and proof, dumbing down the proof, home remodeling, Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, more science less fear, MSKCC, Sales conviction, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is one of the greatest healthcare organizations in the world. Perhaps the greatest. As a result, it has also become a powerful, powerful brand. It is exactly what it is…and lives up to the brand claim “the best cancer care anywhere.” Its words spread through stories and proof. Patients and caregivers syphon proof off their experiences and share. (Branding revolves around “claim” and “proof.”)
A couple of years ago MSKCC appointed new advertising agency Pereira O’Dell. I complimented the shop and client on the new brand strategy claim “More Science. Less Fear.” Having worked in healthcare branding for a long time, studying the claim and proof arrays of the top area hospital systems (disclosure: I penned one of those strategies), I rubbed my hands together in anticipation of some good work to follow.
This past week I was listening to an MSKCC radio spot and was disappointed to hear talk about serving the “mind, body and soul” of patients. This type of copy is what you’d expect from a religious-based group or a second tier hospital. From a system that can’t differentiate based on the science. This ad hurt MSKCC in two ways. It didn’t deliver on the brand promise, wasting money, time and resources, but more importantly it dumbed down the sanctity of the brand, making MSKCC peddlers of healthcare marko-babble like many others.
If anyone can educate the populace about the science of cancer care, using real proof, it’s Memorial.
This isn’t that hard. Find your claim and prove it every day.
Tags: claim and proof, claim and proof array, find your claim and prove it every day, marko-babble, memorial sloan kettering brand strategy., Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, more science less fear, MSKCC brand strategy, Pereira O'Dell, sloan kettering
The new brand strategy for Memorial Sloan Kettering is “More Science. Less Fear.” I’ve written before that more science would be a fine claim (with less fear a good support plank), but my problem with the MSKCC advertising is it rarely uses proof to support its claim. They rarely do ads that show or explain “more science.” As with most marketers they make the claim, sing the claim, storify the claim, but don’t prove it. Wasted Benjamins.
This weekend’s MSKCC ad started out like it was going to provide proof. “When Suzanne wanted a baby after cervical cancer, science delivered” was the ad headline. A tremor of excitement. Then I read the copy. Suzanne received chemo, radiation and surgery prior to having eggs preserved for surrogate gestation. Everything worked out well thankfully and it was a great story. But MORE science? I don’t think so.
Mount Sinai had an ad this weekend in which it explained how a bionic exoskeleton strapped to the leg of a trauma patient allowed him to walk again. There’s an example of more science.
Claim and proof. Peace.
Tags: memorial sloan kettering brand, memorial sloan kettering brand strategy., Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, more science less fear, mount sinai advertising, MSKCC, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Here’s a branding fundamental. If you make a claim, invest in proving it. With all deference to the new school of marketing and advertising storytellers, marketing isn’t a story. It’s selling. Preselling. And post selling.
Stories as inputs fuel the claim. Stories may actually deliver the proof, but if consumers remember the story and not the claim you’re off track.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is a genius organization. While I sell strategies that redistribute marketing wealth, they save lives. MSKCC’s ad agency Pereira O’Dell helped find a brilliant, real, and differentiated branding idea “More Science. Less Fear.” Great claim. But I read a print ad by MSKCC this weekend and it contained no proof of claim. So I went to the website set to see the promised video story. The URL ended in /more science. I found the story I was after on Danny. It was a :30 video – no science. Undeterred, I followed another link provided at the end of the short video for a longer form Danny story. Lots of fireman, beautiful film. No science.
MSKCC deals with more science in one day than Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. They got the claim right but seem afraid of the proof. Come on ya’ll!
Tags: Lawrence Livermore national Laboratories, Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, MSKCC, Pereira O'Dell, proof and claim, storytelling in marketing, whats the idea, whatstheidea
The new advertising for Memorial Sloan Kettering has great potential yet under-delivers. The idea or promise is “More Science. Less Fear.” MSKCC the CC stands for Cancer Center) is known for its best-in-class cancer outcomes. If ever you have a chance to speak with someone who has been treated there, you know that they understand the science. Intimately. So the promise (brand idea) is dead on. But if you read or listen to ads on the radio you get no science. You get generalities. “We treat every cancer patient differently.” We us a team of specialist.” Flah flah. I was doing ads like that as a kid.
I’m not sure where the breakdown is. MSKCC has the proof. They have the science to educate consumers – they just don’t seem to use it. Perhaps they believe we’re not all science majors and won’t be able to process the info. Not so. The narrative doesn’t have to be in chemistry 401 language.
Branding and advertising is all about claim and proof. MSKCC has the claim…it’s the proof they’re having difficulty with. Proof of more science, should be the easiest part of the equation.
It will get better. There are smart people at the helm. Peace.
Tags: claim and proof, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Memorial sloan kettering cancer center, more science less fear, MSKCC, whats the idea, whatstheidea