Memorial sloan kettering cancer center

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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.

Peace.

 

 

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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.

Peace.

 

 

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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.”)

MSKCC more scienceA 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.

Peace.

 

 

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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.    

 

 

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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!

Peace.     

 

 

 

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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.

 

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