Reading Health’s new Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care is a game-changer.

It is one of the most technologically advanced and sophisticated surgical and outpatient facilities in the region (and in the nation). Scheduled to open 4th qtr. 2016, it is conceived, designed and built to provide the most advanced healthcare possible to transform health outcomes and to provide an unparalleled patient, family and physician experience.

Importantly, it also reflects Reading Health’s focus on delivering “value” to its different audiences. This project literally builds on that value. From initial concept through to design and construction, it truly embodies what it means to provide value in the organization’s mission to advance the health and transform the lives of its communities.

One of Trajectory’s key touchpoints for launch is the new mobile-friendly interactive microsite. The microsite experience conveys the transformative nature of the facility and is designed to offer an exciting and immersive brand experience that is also simple, enjoyable and easy to use. 

You can view Trajectory’s microsite launch press release here.

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It’s a very sad day for me. As it is for millions of people around the world.

The king is no longer with us. But oh how he touched us!

A few years back, we had the incredible good fortune to work with Arnold Palmer Enterprises, and Mr. Palmer.

There’s really nothing more to say or nothing new to say about the man beyond what’s currently being said by anyone who has ever been in his company. Because you felt his genuine connection whether one on one or if you were one of many of the Arnie’s Army throng.

We spent a good amount of time with him in Latrobe and in Bay Hill. And what stands out so vividly is how he treated everyone with the same level of respect. For a man who has stood shoulder to shoulder with Presidents, Kings, Queens, stars of the big screen  – in his eyes, everyone deserved to be treated the same. And you felt it when you were in his presence. When he was with you, he was really with you.

For a man who accomplished lifetimes of achievements, Arnold Palmer the person was just as extraordinary.

This king really will live forever in our hearts.


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boatyIf you’re like me and a little behind the pop culture curve, you may be asking “Who or what the heck is Boaty McBoatface?” It wasn’t until attending Roni Zeiger, M.D.’s entertaining talk at SHSMD 2016 last week that I learned of the delightful story and pondered its relevant implications to healthcare.

I’ll share the back story and two key takeaways for healthcare marketers.

Back Story: Name Our Ship

In March 2016, Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) ran an online “Name Our Ship” campaign for the British government’s new, $300M polar research ship. In what appeared to be a refreshingly non-bureaucratic governmental move, NERC decided to crowdsource for the name. The implied social contract was that NERC would embrace the will of the people and emblazon the winning moniker across the bow of the newly minted vessel.

A Meme was born

Over 7,000 names were submitted to NERC by those looking to make their mark on the high seas. Former BBC presenter, James Hand saw so many amusing names on the list (e.g. Clifford the Big Red Boat & Big Metal Floaty Thingy-Thing) that he decided to throw his own “Boaty McBoatface” into the mix. Much to Mr. Hand’s surprise and later chagrin the name took hold, gaining so much of the popular vote that it crashed NERC’s website.

As CNN reported Boaty McBoatface took on a life of its own. Countless silly riffs followed, including UK train service from Portsmouth to Waterloo temporarily posting “Trainy McTrainface” on its electronic transit sign, and a British zoo pre-empted a similar internet takeover of the naming of a penguin chick, banning “Penguin McPenguinface” just to name a couple.

Boaty McBoatface won in a landslide (124,109 votes). It’s no news that the Brits have a sense of humor. NERC, not so much.

In what The Atlantic sited as a Public Relations Case Study and a cautionary tale about the limits of democracy, NERC was faced with a bit of a dilemma; name a $300M 120-meter, polar research ship Boaty McBoatface or look like stodgy, buzz killers. In the end NERC circumvented the democratic process and chose to name the research vessel RSS David Attenborough, with the consolation of declaring on their web page that “The name Boaty McBoatface will live on as the name of the ship’s high-tech remotely operated sub-sea vehicle.”

Healthcare Lessons from Boaty McBoatface

Despite the “bait” & switch,  NERC’s initially democratic, crowdsourced approach in a governmental setting was certainly ground-breaking.

To paraphrase Roni Zeiger, imagine if NERC actually honored the will of the people? Boaty McBoatface could have engaged and captured the imagination of children of all ages, fueled their enthusiasm and interest in NERC’s mission for generations.  Arguably the identity could have resulted in a greater lifetime brand equity than RSS David Attenborough.

Still, the Boaty McBoatface story provides great inspiration for healthcare marketing. NERC was successful in doing something wildly unexpected, initially garnering very positive attention and activating a diverse audience in a highly-charged, emotionally connected way. The combined elements of surprise and emotion created a fantastic story.

From this, we as healthcare marketers can take away two very powerful lessons and apply them to our trade. Shining examples from Northwell Health & Novant Health follow.

  • Think Different
  • Drive with Emotion


Think Different

One of my favorite sessions at SHSMD is the Sunday Thought Leadership Forum. In this year’s Forum, panel member Jeff Kraut, EVP of Strategy & Analytics at Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare provider, shared the importance moving beyond traditional thinking to propel healthcare into the future.

Northwell Health has made a commitment to lead and break from health system paradigms of the past. The leadership development group at the system made a commitment to LEAN, which has reduced total cost of care and empowered the system to reach higher performance results, including exceeding impressive Sepsis reduction goals of 50%.

The organization has also made a commitment to drive change by creating a culture of strategic thinking and teaching its people the language of strategy. By defining what “Systemness” means they’re empowering the organization to function as an effective system.

Posing the provocative and scary question “What would your hospital look like if it didn’t own a hospital?” the leadership at Northwell Health look to Walmart’s supply chain, Amazon’s consumer experience and the social interaction of Facebook for inspiration.

 A manifestation of the systems different, forward thinking is Northwell Ventures,  the corporate venturing arm of Northwell Health. Northwell Ventures continually searches for ways to turn innovative ideas into marketable businesses. An example includes Setpoint Medical, commercializing bioelectronics to treat patients with debilitating inflammatory disease. Another great example Northwell’s “innovation Contest” and $100,000 investment, this year awarded to a ground-breaking 3D Bioprinting entry, merging 3D printing and tissue engineering to design and produce “bioprinted” implants (e.g. trachea) that use a patient’s own living cells.

The newly rebranded Northwell Health is a terrific example of a health system thriving by thinking and acting differently.

Drive with emotion

One of the more powerful displays of driving with emotion came during Novant Health‘s SHSMD 2016 break-out session highlighting Novant’s expert work of designing for the consumer landscape.

Research revealed emotional connection was a key element driving Novant Health’s consumer preference.

The highpoint of the session was the unveiling of three emotion-driving one-minute commercials.  I witnessed, first-hand seasoned healthcare marketers tear up as they watched these emotionally stirring healthcare videos. Novant Health nailed it here:

Boxing Ring

Roller Coaster


Future of Healthcare Marketing

The future of healthcare marketing lies somewhere between how things have always been done and anything imaginable, bureaucracy and anarchy, somewhere between the RSS David Attenborough and Boaty McBoatface.

One thing is certain, there’s never been a more exciting or interesting time to be in healthcare marketing!

Interested in exploring? Email or call Rick Zaniboni to set up a free consultation at 978-994-8009.

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screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-10-59-43-amThere’s an undeniable shift in the world for healthcare marketers that creates both big stakes and huge urgency. It’s the imperative to improve value for patients. It’s a change that will create big winners and big losers and a change which requires healthcare marketers to improve their healthcare branding to ensure their sustained relevance.

In their New England Journal of Medicine article, Michael E. Porter, Ph.D., and Thomas H. Lee, M.D., define value as the health outcomes achieved for patients relative to the costs of achieving them. They go on to say that it is the only goal that can guide strategy in health care, the only “true north” that can resolve the difficult choices organizations will need to make. Providers that organize themselves to improve outcomes and become more efficient in doing so will be rewarded with patients, professional satisfaction, and financial success. They will prosper even if fee for service reimbursement lingers for years, because better outcomes will attract more patients and greater efficiency will reduce copayments and improve financial margins. Those that fail to focus on value lack the essential foundation for strategy. Whatever their reputation is today, they will become increasingly nonviable and irrelevant.

Layer on top of this the many other pressure points that are impacting the traditional healthcare landscape – new [more consumer-oriented] non-traditional retail and technology competitors, our increasingly proactive ownership of our health and wellness, “digital/mobile consumers” vs. consumers who use digital and mobile, among others. The upshot is that those who fail to capitalize on opportunities to transform their business models (leading with the drive to value) may be left behind. But transforming business models also means transforming brand as the face of an organization’s business strategy. With “brand” (i.e. reputation) being the number one reason in selection of one’s health care.

Given the above, healthcare senior leaders and marketers must step back and ask, what is our brand. Because ensuring your brand is performing up to its full potential (strategically, internally and externally, across the entire patient journey) is the only way to ensure sustained relevance.  Essential questions for health care organizations to ask (based on the overarching goal of delivering value for patients) include:

  • What is our fundamental goal?
  • Is our brand in alignment?
  • What business are we in?
  • Does our brand have a unique value proposition?
  • Based on above, are we best meeting the needs of our customers across their entire journey?
  • Are we aligned and equipped internally to best meet these needs?
  • Which of our brands deliver the strongest strategic and financial value for the organization; now and into the future?
  • Three years from now – what might our delivery system look like? what synergies and partnerships might we create? what other products and services might our brand umbrella?
  • Are we delivering maximum customer value and competitive advantage through our brand engagements? Do our actions speak louder than our words.


There will be winners and losers in the health care revolution. The winners will ride a wave of momentum by delivering greater value. The losers will gradually fade or become a shell of their former self. Where is the strategic direction of your brand taking you?

Interested in learning how your brand can help your organization in its quest to deliver patient value? Email or call Rick Zaniboni to set up a free consultation at 978-994-8009.

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Healthcare marketing is at its best when it’s built on engagements that (beyond words) deliver maximum customer value and competitive advantage. Case in point – as reported here on drugstore by senior editor Michael Johnson, CVS Health’s Project Health is set to deliver $8 million in free health services between September through December 2016.

Since 2006, Project Health has delivered more than $112 million worth of free health care services to nearly 872,000 people, many of whom are uninsured or underinsured.

In brief, the Project:

  • offers many free health risk assessments
  • following screening, CVS Pharmacy helps patients through on-site consultations with nurse practitioners or physician assistants who analyze results and refer patients who require additional medical attention to no-cost or low-cost medical facilities nearby or to their primary care physician
  • CVS pharmacists are also available to conduct 1-on-1 medication reviews and answer any questions patients may have.


In terms of impact, over the past 10 years, high rates of certain treatable conditions among Project Health participants have been identified, including:

  • 53% were found to be overweight or obese;
  • 38% had abnormal blood pressure readings;
  • 26% had abnormal glucose readings; and
  • 37% were found to have abnormal cholesterol levels


Brand value, which grows in proportion to customer value, can no longer be built on messaging alone. CVS’s Project Health is a powerful example of this – as they offer better, easier ways to manage and improve our health.

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Powerful article on written by Catherine Hope, associate creative director at Naked Communications – Brands’ focus on body confidence not enough.

This issue really hits home for Trajectory. Not only because we work exclusively across healthcare and wellness, but given that a few years ago we produced this important non-profit video for Tri Delta’s national “Fat Talk Free Week” program.

But Catherine’s article also speaks about men, who also suffer from unrealistic expectations and inequalities.

Begs the question, just how far should brands go to not only change the conversation, but to take action?

Take a couple minutes to read her article.

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Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 11.45.20 AM

Healthcare re-brandings are major milestone events where everything is shifting: strategically, creatively, internally and externally.

As experts in the rebranding of health systems and hospitals, we’ve worked alongside many leadership and marketing teams on these major initiatives over the past 17 years. Along the way, we’ve seen some mis-steps and missed opportunities. Here are our Trajectory insights about eight of them.

1. Clinging to history. One of the more frequent reasons to rebrand is to maintain the relevance of your health system or hospital. Today, this is in the midst of changing reforms, the drive from volume to value, consolidations and partnerships and a drastically different competitive environment. While it’s beneficial to have a history to look back on and build upon, it’s dangerous to cling to it when so much around you is changing.

2. Relying too heavily on customer perspectives.  There are times when current and prospective customers should weigh in about your intended outcomes. But not all the time. Not if you’re asking your long-standing hospital-based “sick-care customers” their point-of-view about how to express (for instance, in a tagline) your future health-focused vision. Remember that there is a predisposition to choose anything that is more familiar to us. So be careful about letting them steer your ship.

3. Not building a team of brand champions. A rebranding affects the entire organization. As such, there should be a senior cross-functional team of flag-bearers for the initiative outside of the formal leadership hierarchy. Their role should be that of sounding board, facilitator and change leaders. Ideally, they should be able to win CEO approval for their decisions.

4. Neglecting brand architecture. Brand architecture refers to the structure of brands within your health system or hospital. Think of it as a hierarchy, a way of helping employees and customers better understand the relationship among your organization brand, hospitals, facilities, service lines, etc.  As these are the gateway to your brand, it’s important that the architecture, and the names of your offerings, reflect the strategic direction of your rebranding.

5. Not thinking in a series of phases. Done right, a rebranding must pass through deliberate internal phases: launch (where employees here it/feel it), post-launch (where employees learn it/engage in it) and ongoing (where employees live it). A change process is not a one-time, brief display of fireworks, it‘s a long-term process – and you don’t want stakeholders to view the process as merely “surface changes.” This is the one opportunity you have to drive home the changes made, promote buy-in and build participation to your organizational transformation.

6. Internal audiences vs. participants. Our approach to rebranding recognizes employees as important and active participants in change. Not just an audience. Your brand is your business strategy brought to life, and it should inform all aspects of (and people across) your healthcare organization – providing everyone a means to create new and greater shared value.

7. Stopping short of building a brand culture. There’s only one way to ensure that your re-energized brand has the power to unite your stakeholders in creating new and greater value. It requires your brand be center stage and in alignment from the inside out. It requires a brand culture. At Trajectory, we define brand culture as squeezing every bit of meaning, purpose and direction out of your brand to drive the everyday actions of the people who drive your business performance.

8. Not maintaining post-launch momentum. Prior to, and during launch, there’s anticipation,   excitement and expectation. But afterwards, do you tend to return to a back to business as usual mentality?  A rebrand must be looked at as a stepping-stone to creating long-term change within your organization and creating broader impact externally. To achieve this, there needs to be measures, incentives, guidelines and mechanisms for training and feedback – to increase buy-in and to help each individual play their role in delivering on your repositioning and promises. In summary, the rebranding must be operationalized.

Considering a re-brand? Reach out to Rick Zaniboni at 978-994-8009, or via email at

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For every brand, and for every brand marketer, there’s a wellness opportunity.

Because wellness isn’t what we do, it’s who we are. It’s a way of life that now touches everyone and everything, and consumers of both sexes and across all demographics are propelling it forward.

The Global Wellness Institute estimates that the world’s wellness economy exceeds US$3.4 trillion. To put this into perspective, this is three times larger than the global pharmaceutical industry. Market watchers agree that the trajectory of consumer spending in the wellness category will continue to increase in the future.  And the trends all point in this direction.

The beneficiaries of this spend will be the brands that best assist consumers in their quest to live balanced and healthy everyday lifestyles— encompassing physical, mental, emotional and social wellness. We see ample opportunity for brands across all sectors to connect with consumers who integrate wellness goals into their everyday activities.

To learn more, read our e-Book, The Momentum of Wellness: What It Means For Your Brand. And for more information on how we can help your brand tap into the momentum of wellness, contact Trajectory’s Rick Zaniboni. He can be reached at, or via phone at 978-994-8009.


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