How did EOS enter an oversaturated personal care market and become the lip balm of choice for the millennial generation?

Here’s the story of the company’s rapid trajectory on fastcompany.com –The Untold Story of How Lip Balm Upstart EOS Outdid Chapstick.

First came Chapstick. 50+ years ago. In a stick, with a list of active ingredients on the package. In flavors original, cherry or mint. Then just seven years ago, EOS arrived. It’s pastel-colored orbs of lip balm began to pop up everywhere. On drug store shelves, in the hands of beauty editors and in the makeup bags of celebs like Miley Cyrus and Christina Aquilera.

Fast Forward
“Fast” being a very accurate take on EOS (short for Evolution of Smooth). Because it’s now a $250 million company and the second best-selling lip balm in the country, after Burt’s Bees. And given that EOS’s sweet spot is natural and organic, the future looks bright.

In a rare interview, the co-founders told Fast Company about their business strategy. Here are some of the highlights, bucketed based on the characteristics that we at Trajectory believe drive brand momentum:

People-centric. With in-depth research, they found that while lip balm was overwhelmingly used by women as part of their beauty regime, they didn’t find applying it fun or enjoyable. They solved this by designing everyday products that also deliver moments of delight that elevate these daily routines.

Differentiation. Which started by rethinking the tube: since the majority of products on the market were indistinguishable from their 100-year old predecessors.

Symbolism. EOS created its own emotional shorthand by engaging all five senses, from soft round packaging that felt good in the hands, to the colors of the orbs, to the smells, to the way the flavors tasted, and even to the clicking sound the sphere makes when it closes.


Emotional Pull. Throughout it all, they wanted to focus on creating an emotional connection with the user (in this case, millennial women 25-35), rather than being simply another commodity. They picked the tagline, “The lip balm that makes you smile.”

Authenticity. EOS became experts at influencer marketing, which they believed was a smart way to reach their demographic. They contacted beauty bloggers who reviewed the product and talked about it on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. They worked with millennial celebrities to get the word through product placements and endorsements. EOS appeared in Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears music videos, was a headline sponsor for Demi Lovato’s world tour, and Taylor Swift became its Asian spokesperson.

Tribe. EOS has also worked to build a large social media presence. It now has more than 1.8 million followers on Instagram and nearly 7 million followers on Facebook. A photograph of a new EOS flavor can get over 40,000 likes.

Dynamism. For all this success, the company works hard at innovation. It comes up with new collections regularly, so that there is a constant stream of new products on shelves. EOS is also creating shaving creams and hand lotions, and plans to enter new categories in the future. It also partners with other major players, like collaborating with Keds to produce an EOS shoe that came with a matching lip balm.

EOS created a surprise effect in a category that probably didn’t expect such a brand to shake things up. This unexpectedness, in terms of both the stretch itself and the product design and features, created a “wow” factor that continues to propel the brand and business forward.




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We’re big believers in that to challenge what’s possible, you need to see in new ways. For Trajectory, that usually means getting outside our immediate healthcare and wellness categories.

So with that, here’s some outside category inspiration for hospital marketers compliments of L2 – Why Starbuck’s, Sephora and Harry’s Loyalty Programs Stand Out.  All three are great examples of how brands are leveraging digital to drive business.  And as hospital marketing takes on many of the characteristics of traditional consumer marketing, these examples are quite relevant.

For Starbuck’s, the constant growth of their members (+ million in Q2 2016 alone) lies in their ability to deliver targeted offers using purchase behavior.


For Harry’s (truth be told I’m a big fan and a customer), it’s about investing heavily in targeting and retargeting display advertising, altering ad copy, content and landing page at each stage of the purchase funnel depending on consumer behavior history.


For Sephora, selling in skin care and cosmetic categories in which personalized recommendations are particularly important, they make relevant recommendations leveraging purchase and browsing history and adapting their content to maximize effectiveness.


You can view the full article here.  And here’s to eyes wide open.

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Clean beauty. It’s a segment whose trajectory is on the rise. And there’s no sign of it slowing – as more educated and discerning consumers integrate natural, clean products across multiple categories into their daily lives.

According to Be Pure Beauty, clean beauty means that there are no harmful toxic ingredients in the products we are using every day. Here’s a list from The Glamorganic Goddess of The Dirty 30 | A List of Bad-Ass Beauty Ingredients To Avoid.

There are a couple really special companies, among others, who we like a lot in the clean beauty space. Given our firm’s health and wellness focus, we’re always on the lookout for what’s new and happening when it comes to brands that help us to live healthier and better lives.

One is Beauty Counter, online retailer and creator of safer and effective skin care and cosmetics products. Their “Never List” is made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that they never use as ingredients in their products. 

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-11-55-39-am screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-12-47-42-pm


The other is Credo Beauty, a retailer with locations (at least today) in San Francisco and New York. They sell a comprehensive collection of safe, effective beauty products that are totally clean, super good and absolutely beautiful.  Here’s a slice of their well-told and well-delivered story here:




What we really appreciate about these two companies is their playbook (no, we haven’t seen their strategy and marketing plans). But we can step back and observe the beliefs and characteristics that make-up our Trajectory M-Factors playbook for building and sustaining momentum.

It’s based on our experience and exploratory research of brands across multiple industries. And we put it to work for every Trajectory client. Both Beauty Counter and Credo Beauty execute really well against six of our M-Factors:

Know-How. They demonstrate their expertise and provide our System 2 “thinking” brains with credible proof that they know what they’re doing. Beauty Counter leads with its provocatively-served up Never List. Credo Beauty shares its list of Dirty Ingredients to Ditch.

Differentiated. Beyond a meaningful point of difference, they both have the courage to focus on this point of difference. For Credo Beauty, this starts with its name. How could it possibly stray?

Authenticity. They live their values and practice what they preach. Here, Beautycounter Goes To Washington.  And Credo donates 1% of every purchase to The Lipstick Angels.

Dynamism. They’re both leading change. Asserting their relevance. And continuing to surprise and delight. Credo, given that their brand represents a philosophy that transcends product segments, has extended to clean Well Being, Accessories and Scents & Gifts.

Emotional Pull. They both connect with our System 1 intuitive brains and create an instinctive attraction that goes beyond rational reasons for making a purchase. Case in point, Beautycounter’s new We All Deserve Better video. And Credo Beauty’s Totally Clean, Super Good, Absolutely Beautiful credo.


Tribe-Building.  Both of these brands are fostering and facilitating communities of like-minded “clean beauty and clean living” individuals. This is particularly important in the wellness category, given that the “we” factor influences so much behavior. Beauty Counter invites shoppers to PLAY A PART, Join the Band of Beauty Member Program, attend Socials & Events. And Credo has an active blog, social presence and Credo Affiliate Program.

Clean is on the rise. And it will float all boats. Today.

But it takes brand momentum to build a sustainable business.

Want to talk about? Reach out to Rick Zaniboni, VP.


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What’s the trajectory of your healthcare branding?

Trajectory is a function of direction plus momentum. Direction is based on charting your future course. Momentum is based on today’s reality.

For health systems and hospitals, today’s reality might look okay. Momentum tracking measures like inquiries, acquisition, retention and referrals might be on the rise, or at least holding steady. At least today.

But your future trajectory might reveal another picture. In this rapidly changing healthcare environment – where consumers are now at the center of the healthcare ecosystem and where healthcare is taking the form of ongoing conversations between people and their extended network – the future is where you’ll thrive or where your relevancy will wane.

And charting the course and getting out in front must include consideration of your healthcare branding.

Making sure that all facets of your brand are in sync and working together…

Reflecting your business direction.

Maximizing limited resources.

Strategically and creatively.

Internally and externally.

Functionally and emotionally.

Across the entire brand journey.

In a way that is uniquely yours.

Because it only works if it all works together – your ideas, images, words and actions.

What’s your future trajectory?

If it’s not clear, we might be able to help.

Reach out to Rick Zaniboni.



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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 need to improve value for patients. It’s a change that will create big winners and big losers and a change which requires reexamining healthcare branding to ensure 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-first consumers, 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 healthcare branding 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 marketers must step back and ask, what is our brand. Because ensuring your brand is performing up to its full potential (strategically and executionally, 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?
  • What business are we in?
  • Is our brand in alignment?
  • 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.

What is the path of your healthcare branding?  Email or call Rick Zaniboni at 978-994-8009 to set up a free consultation.

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