Tag Archives: healthcare marketing

Ideopia Wins Medical Marketing Awards

Ideopia competed with more than 3,000 entrants to win two Gold and two Bronze Medals at the 2014 Aster Awards, which recognize creative accomplishments in medical marketing. And the winners are:

Reliance Medical Products (Mason, OH) — Gold for magazine “Legendary Campaign” for examination chairs

Eyefficient, Inc. (Cleveland Ohio) — Bronze for Eyefficient.com web and mobile sites.

Reichert Technologies (Buffalo, NY) — Gold for “Blink Blog” and email newsletter.

Reichert Technologies — Bronze for magazine “Animal Campaign”

We thank the Asters, the Academy, the Jamaican Bobsled team, and the great clients who work with us as true partners: Steve Juenger, vp of marketing and sales, Haag-Streit USA; and Mark Newkirk in his roles as Director of Global Marketing for Reichert Technologies; and more recently as CEO of Eyefficient, Inc.

See our Aster award winning entries on our WavyBrainy blog.

Learn more at our medical division website, Ideopia Medical Marketing.

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Medical Marketing is Drowning in a Sea of Blue

In college, a friend gave me William Gass’s novel, “On Being Blue.” He made the color sparkle in ways you can only imagine. But it’s safe to say Gass didn’t work in healthcare marketing.

View our medical and healthcare work at Ideopia Medical Marketing.

Now when I see blue, I see red. It’s the color cocaine of our healthcare and medical device industries. Blue is cool and calming, but – please pay attention here – it’s not a brand. Some CMOs claim that their blue is better, because it’s a few shades away from a competitor.

In healthcare marketing, blue is camouflage for brands that don’t want to stick out, or get noticed by consumers. Of course, it makes perfect sense for institutions plagued with tepid claims like “We care more,” “Be Well,” or my favorite, “We’re the Gold Standard.”

Consumers want reasons to like your hospital or institution. And they’re desperate to understand your brand in pragmatic terms: “We have more board certified orthopedic surgeons,” “ We’re the hospital for kids,” or “Our device is the most sensitive on the market.” We care more? I don’t think so.

Unfortunately blue is a symptom of the brand blahs. It’s a safe place for designers and marketers to play, because the nuts and bolts of a competitive position just aren’t there.

Breaking out of blue isn’t easy. Chances are the decision was made decades ago when you were still scrawling with crayons. Can we please address this by adding new colors to your palette to balance big blue?

Try a pinch of pink with blue, electric blue and blue, or blue with a dab of yellow. It’s a small gesture that could yield big results. Look at the sea of blue booths at trade shows, and consumer facing websites, print, TV, email, logos. Use it, and blue hoo, you’ll give your customers a reason to pay attention to your marketing and they’ll remember when the time comes,  “Take my baby to the hospital with the streak of pink!”

Related: 8 Risky Healthcare Marketing Procedures

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Ideopia Earns Healthcare Marketing Awards

Cincinnati, OH (May 3, 2012) — For the second year in a row, the Cincinnati-based creative branding agency Ideopia won honors for its healthcare advertising. The agency earned Gold Aster Awards in two categories: magazine advertising and mobile applications. The Gold Awards place Ideopia among the top 5% nationwide for advertising excellence, according to the Aster Award’s organization.

The winning magazine campaign on behalf of Reliance Medical Products leverages the company’s history of hand crafting its products in America. It calls on doctors to consider the U.S. economy when they make their purchasing decisions. Reliance has manufactured ophthalmic exam chairs and instrument stands in Ohio since 1898, sourcing most of the materials from vendors within 50-miles of its Mason, OH factory. Below the interactive portion of the campaign is also shown.

“Great advertising moves the meter,” said Ideopia’s Creative Director Bill Abramovitz. “Our marketing strategies for Reliance Medical have helped to fuel 21 consecutive years of double-digit growth for that organization.”

For New Jersey-based Topcon Medical Systems, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, Ideopia created a mobile app that qualifies prospects by guiding them through five simple questions. It was designed for use during sales calls and at medical conferences, where the cost of staffing a booth has made it imperative for sales teams to use their time effectively. The Qualifier App works on iPads and is also available through Topcon’s website.

“The app works because it’s good for doctors and for Topcon,” explained Abramovitz. “It lets doctors determine for themselves whether Topcon’s Synergy software is the right next step for their practice. It avoids the relationship misstep of pushing a product to a practice that does not have the infrastructure to get the most benefit from it.”

A panel of judges chose Ideopia’s work from approximately 3,000 entries. Ads were evaluated based on creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal. Ideopia and its ads will be featured in the magazine Marketing Healthcare Today.

About Ideopia
Founded in 1992 Ideopia Advertising and Interactive is an advertising, public relations, web design and social media agency that believes in branding without boundaries. With headquarters in Cincinnati, Ideopia lives in the cloud at www.ideopia.com.

Learn more at our medical division website, Ideopia Medical Marketing.

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How Not to Design Hospital Logos

With urgent care, ambulatory surgical centers, physician group offices, and pharmacy based Little Clinics sprouting up in the burbs, the heat is on hospitals to become more aggressive marketers. So what is the typical first act of marketing aggression? You guessed it, a new logo. After all, what else do we have throw a pile o’ cash at, a new CT Scanner?

So it was surprising to find five different healthcare institutions with the same basic icon. It’s a square cross, where each extension is the same length. This mark was probably very clever — the first time. It bleeds off equity from the Red Cross logo, and gets the religion bit in. But, as emblems of brands, they lack utility, and imagination. Imagine this scenario. You pass out at a mall. The paramedic asks for your hospital choice. And all you can muster through the fog is “the one with the cross.” Playing safe is expensive.

So how do you avoid a similar snafu?

  1. Study the competition.
  2. Study design trends in your category.
  3. Make sure the underlying business and marketing strategies are competitive and clear.
  4. Commit yourself to creating a smart, distinct mark.
  5. Hire a really great branding agency. If you can find one.


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Ideopia wins Gold Asters for Healthcare Marketing

Banning medical images from its ads was a winning strategy for advertising agency Ideopia. The Cincinnati-based advertising and interactive agency took the top prize in three categories in a national competition evaluating healthcare advertising.

The award-winning LENSTAR® ad by Ideopia.

Its campaigns for Mercy Health Partners, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati and medical manufacturer Haag-Streit USA, beat 3,000 submissions to capture gold medals in the Aster Awards.

Agency co-founder Bill Abramovitz says ads have to grab attention to succeed.

“Your strategy could be brilliant, but the way you execute it must break through,” said Abramovitz. “Otherwise your marketing is nothing but very expensive wallpaper.”

He banned doctors from the agency’s campaigns after completing an unscientific survey of hospital billboards. The majority used photos of doctors, patients or medical equipment—regardless of which hospital they were promoting or where they were located.

Ideopia's billboard for Mercy Health Partners

His rules for healthcare marketers are similar to the advice he offers clients from other industries:

• Start with a brand differentiation that is valid today and will hold true in five years.

• Be honest about the validity of your brand—is it true and rooted in the basic values of your organization?

• Ensure that your message is meaningful to your target audience.

• Ask whether you can create a powerful communication based on your brand and marketing strategy.

Web Marketing for Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House Charities website by Ideopia

About Ideopia

Founded in 1992 Ideopia Advertising and Interactive is a spam chucking, cow patty annihilating, branding, public relations, web marketing, web design and social media agency that believes in branding with out boundaries. With headquarters in East Gate, Ideopia lives in the cloud at www.ideopia.com.

Contact: Liz Vogel (office) 513-947-1444, ext. 18, (cell) 631-741-7700, email: [email protected]

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Hospitals: A New Strategy For Survival

The sagging economy coupled with skyrocketing fuel costs and the Healthcare Reform tangle is hitting the healthcare sector hard. The stakes are high. Over the next five years, strategies implemented now could determine whether individual hospitals are marginalized, consolidated, fail, or succeed.

It’s time for marketers and their agencies to bring the heat.

Most hospitals are neither marketing nor customer driven. The result is the commoditization of care and institutions. Patients make healthcare choices by proximity, and what they’ve turned up on the Internet, ranging from Web MD to their Facebook friends. There’s an upside to the educated patient, but not when it supplants the advice of a trained medical professional, or it’s a decision based on the type of price bashing that’s prevalent in everything from dental implants and cosmetic surgery to Lasik procedures for vision. These are serious medical as well as marketing problems.

In this muck, there’s an opportunity to kick hospital marketing to the next level, one that looks beyond the data to understand the needs of patients, families, and yes, doctors. To achieve this we need to revisit a few marketing essentials. While tactical options like social media and mobile apps have exploded in the past few years, strategy has been stuck in the mud.

Sustainable Brand Strategy Saves Money, Increases Impact.

Start with strategy. Worry – and I mean heartburn worry – about the strategy. Your goal is to develop a brand differentiation program that’s valid today and five years from now.

There are many formulations for developing a branding strategy, but the most have these touchstones in common:

• Define the barrier to success with great specificity, e.g. “patients perceive that we don’t have the most modern equipment.” Not a list of barriers. One. And one that can be solved by marketing.
• Describe your target audience with the same details, “females with children, age 25-55, within a 30 mile radius of our hospital.”
• Now the fun part: what do you want to convince them of that will address the marketing problem.” You get one reason. Don’t even think about fudging it, e.g. “we are the most technologically advanced hospital in the tri-state.”
• Why should your target audience believe you? There are always multiple solutions, but you need to pick one and run with it. For instance, “In the past 5 years our hospital has spent $100 million on new technology, more than all our competitors combined.”

The result should be a simple paragraph that anyone on your staff can understand and easily remember. Here’s a quick test to see if your strategy is on track:

1. Is it true, and is it rooted in the basic values of your institution?
2. Is it meaningful to your target audience? Do they really care how much money you spend on equipment? Or do they care about how that equipment can save the life of a loved one?
3. Is it competitive? Are there are other hospitals in your market that could just as easily claim your strategy?
4. Is it preemptive? Is anyone else currently using your strategy?
5. Can you execute? Is it possible to create powerful communication based on this strategy?

Command Attention or Throw Cash in the Commode.

Your strategy could be brilliant, but the way you execute it must break through. Otherwise your marketing is nothing but very expensive wallpaper.
So your next job is to challenge your marketing agency to create its best work ever. Remember, they’ve become risk aversive with your marketing, too. But, if your agency is worth anything, they’ll leap at the opportunity. Give them this charge: 1) Here’s the strategy. 2) Your creative must deliver the strategy. 3) The basic concepts must translate into all media, 4) Knock my socks off.

Have a Conversation, or Become Irrelevant.

Marketing is in transition. The old way is based on telling consumers what the institution wants to say (broadcasting) versus the new path into social and interactive media modeled after conversation.

This isn’t about a matter of placing service line brochures on a website. It’s a sea change in how we think and act as marketers and as a society.

I emphasize this isn’t about social media apps like Foursquare or Twitter, it’s about following the classic communication loop: Listen-Process-Respond. To get someone to listen, grab their attention, the job of creative; give them something worth listening to; pause while they think about it; and listen when they express their feelings and thoughts back. Conventional media, print and broadcast still play a role especially in the attention-getting department. But to close the loop, you’ll need to lead them to social media and the web.

Fakers beware.

Consumers recognize hype and convert it to disbelief and apathy. Weed it out of your marketing like poison ivy. Write copy in plain English. Back up your claims. Demonstrate benefits with data. Read comments on your Facebook page, and respond to them. Monitor social media for negative comments. Publicly admit mistakes and correct them. Insert yourself into the conversation. Listen-Process-Respond.

Own your brand.

Invest in your brand. Own everything that touches it. That means fonts, layout grid, color, texture, and especially photography. When your brand package is so unique it could only be your company, it’s instantly identifiable even if you can’t see the headline or logo.

Money is tight. Your budget will certainly be cut. But with clear strategic direction, powerful creative, and a new outlook on interaction, your hospital brand will flourish on less.

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Giant Inflatable Organs Are Crowd Pleasers

Giant inflatable organs for your next healthcare eventEach year, more Americans die from colon cancer than AIDs or breast cancer. That’s why during March’s Colon Cancer Awareness Month, organizations like Strides for Life travel with a secret weapon: a huge attention-getting, inflatable colon.

Rather than read from a flimsy pamphlet, people tour the enormous colon and get to see what happens inside the body. By taking a light-hearted approach to a serious topic, the inflatable colon has become a marketing tool to promote colon cancer screenings and raise brand awareness.

So, for your next healthcare event, consider a giant organ to draw the crowds. Plus, they’re effective for all ages – especially families. If colons aren’t your style, just wait. There’s much, much more…

Pick an Organ. Any Organ.

Companies like Interactive Exhibits and Medical Inflatables serve up huge “MEGA” hearts, lungs (coming soon) and brains. These interactive, walk-through models help people understand the risks, symptoms and causes of various diseases. And every single exhibit has drawn crowds that promote health education and healthy lifestyles. Check out the company’s YouTube channel to see how a giant heart could spark the buzz at your next healthcare event.

If you’re thinking outside the box, turn human anatomy into a children’s game with these anatomy aprons. Who knows? Maybe adults could use the education too!

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Hospital Marketing: 8 Risks of Playing it Safe

One of the biggest challenges of healthcare and hospital marketing is creating a brand based on a differentiation that’s meaningful to consumers. The usual path is the safe route. Here are some of the biggest offenses:

  1. Envision your hospital as a conglomeration of separate companies, or rogue states, e.g. radiology, oncology, ER, orthopedics, and our favorite, “The Open MRI Toaster.”
  2. Show lots of doctors in your ads. Doctors with their arms folded. Doctors with patients. Doctors with other doctors. Doctors with weird medical devices or doctors in scrubs. All available to you and your competitors on the nearest cheapo stock photo site.
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