MSKCC

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Be. Prove. Do.

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.

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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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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