Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Working on N-of-8® story development again...feels good

Two clients have engaged us to apply our N-of-8 story development tool in the second half of this year.

I love this kind of work.

What’s more, it may be the most valuable creative exercise I’ve ever used in my entire career.

We’ll be documenting the whole process (except the confidential stuff, of course) and sharing it over time. Plus, I’ve just started working on a book about N-of-8.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer event for Employee Well Being

Last Friday, we had a “personalized” company summer event.

Instead of the usual group outing or picnic, I offered employees a half day off to enjoy a summer outing of THEIR choice. Maybe a ball game, the zoo, sitting at a sidewalk cafe, getting an early start to a weekend trip, whatever.

One of our newest team members, Melissa, publishes a weekly internal newsletter, and I wanted to share her article on the day:

Judging by all the positive responses received, it sounds like the first ever Stinson Summer Event ended up being very much appreciated by everyone! Wayne summed it up with, “What a great way to help recharge the batteries in the middle of the year!”

Stinson employees took full advantage of the beautiful day.

“Last Friday, my wife joined me by taking a half day off work and we wanted to enjoy the nice weather. We packed a cooler, took the dog to the lake shore where we enjoyed a picnic and played with our dog at the Montrose dog beach.” -Greg

“Personally, I went home and took a nap. Felt great!” - Chris

Several people also took the opportunity to see the new Batman flick, The Dark Knight.

“I checked out the Dark Knight at the IMAX theatre with a friend - which I never get to do! I was also able to pick up my son early. It was the perfect way to get ready for a BBQ that evening.” -Michelle

Others got to enjoy time with friends. Melanie and Brandy had lunch at the new neighborhood bar, The Pony.

Not only did the 1/2-day off give all of us here at Stinson a time to catch up with friends and family, errands and sleep, but also it contributed to our overall wellbeing – which makes for happier employees and more productive work! As Brian Blank said, “The half day was very beneficial to my being a well-rounded, relaxed employee.”

Everyone enjoyed their day off in several different ways, but we all did agree on one thing: that we should do it again!

Of course, we’ll continue our other team-building and group occasions, but this was a customized experience that folks appreciated.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cubs – a brand still trying to move Forward. Fast.

We went to the Cubs games at Wrigley this afternoon. Great day. Great game. Great malt cup. And great anticipation that this is the “next year” we’ve been waiting for since 1908. Plus, I’d really like to win it all before Mark Cuban buys the team and claims all the credit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just finalized a collaboration for a great upcoming program.

We’re developing a webinar that Medical Marketing & Media will host, sponsored by our client ReachMD XM Channel 157.

The title of the webinar is “Overcoming The 6 Challenges of CME:
How To Use Innovative Media in Today’s Healthcare Education Environment.”

It promises to be a lively interactive panel discussion during which we’ll weigh the relevant issues confronting CME planners and sponsors. Our panel of experts will help participants understand how they can apply best practice learning principles, as well as new media options, to achieve measurable results.

One exciting component – we’ll offer registrants subscriptions to ReachMD and we’ll select 5 winners to receive a Plug N Play XM Radio.

If you’d like to learn how to maximize the value of education grants, engage busy medical professionals, and meet your med-ed objectives, drop me an email and I’ll make sure you get an invitation to participate.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Mellencamp “Brand” Experience

Midwest rocker John Mellencamp rolled into Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island Tuesday night. He songs emoted what the Sun-Times described as “redemption, reflection and the open wounds of love.”

Here’s my review of the evening with the Mellencamp brand on full display. I’m applying the ForwardFast model to frame my thoughts:

• Likeability – He came right out with “Pink Houses,” “Paper on Fire” and an intense rendering of “I’m Not Running Anymore.” The audience connected because we could relate to old favorites, heard again in a new time and context.

• Logo – the black jeans, the t-shirt, the sepia rural back curtain, and of course, the hair (a little grayer, but I can relate).

• Quality Product – The new album, “Life, Death, Love and Freedom,” debuted on Billboard Album Chart at #7. Its roots-like sound is from album producer T-Bone Burnett (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and the year’s best album from Robert Plant and Alison Krauss). The album follows up last year's “Freedom's Road” which sold an equal amount of copies in the first week and also debuted in the top 10. This is Mellencamp's second consecutive album, and 9th total, to go Top 10. His career includes 19 albums that have charted!

• Associations – Before performing “The Authority Song,” he spoke to his controversial activities. Politics, smoking, cussing, and “that truck TV commercial”. Add FarmAid to the list, and you’ve got some pretty strong brand associations.

• Attitude – the rebel is still there, but now a bit wiser and tempered by time. He dusted off “Minutes to Memories” from 1985, telling the crowd he was 34 when he wrote the song. “I thought I was getting older at the time,” he said. “It now has a whole different meaning to me.”

One reviewer noted that, with a measured nuance, he sang about how life sweeps away the dreams we have planned. Such is the beauty of rock evolution, the review says, you can stare at an old song like a relic on a shelf (Mick Jagger and “Satisfaction”) or you can view the song as a prism of varied reflection (the way Bob Dylan rearranges his hits).

• Quality Experience – Everyone clapped, danced, and sang every word of “Crumblin’ Down” and “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” The band has its own standout in violinist Miriam Sturm. Then during the middle of a driving “Jack and Diane,” Mellencamp asked the crowd to take out their cell phones and call a friend to listen in. He even took a phone to say hello to an unsuspecting friend at home. Nice twist on the old lighter-flame-in-the-air.

Overall, this was one of the best brands of concert I’ve seen – and my friends know I see a lot of shows. Check it out below.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Health Implications of Stock Market Fears

What goes on inside your head when your portfolio implodes?

That’s the provocative opening question asked by writer Jason Zweig in his Wall Street Journal article this weekend entitled “How to Control Your Fears -- In a Fearsome Market.”

As a brand communicator in the health and science field, I was intrigued by the connection Mr. Zwieg makes between how your cells react in the amygdale (brain’s “fear center”) when an attack dog snarls at you, a spider drops down your shirt or the Dow Jones Industrial Average takes a dive.

Imagine that merely reading the words "market crash" in this sentence can instantaneously jack up your pulse and your blood pressure, the output of your sweat glands and the tension in your muscles. Stress hormones will flood your bloodstream. Your eyes will widen and your nostrils flare, making you hypersensitive to any further danger. All this occurs automatically, involuntarily and unconsciously. You can't be an intelligent investor if, without even knowing it, you are thinking with the panic button in your brain.

The article offers four ways you can control your fears.

1. Reappraise.

2. Step outside yourself.

3. Control your cues.

4. Track your feelings..

Read more specifics at

Monday, July 14, 2008

N-of-8 marathon

Jenny and I will be spending Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in Victoria, BC – to run the Royal Victoria Marathon on Sunday October 12.

It’s appropriate as I’m working on my new book N-of-8 that this will be my 8th marathon.

Runner’s World magazine says the Royal Victoria Marathon is one of the top 10 destination marathons in North America with about 10,000 runners taking part in the marathon, half-marathon, 8K road race, and kids fun run.

I’m looking forward to the scenic features along the route: BC legislative buildings, Royal London Wax Museum, Ogden Point, Olympic Mountain Range, statue of Terry Fox at Mile ‘O’, Beacon Hill Park, Victoria Golf Course, and Oak Bay Village.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Health science business travelers to hear Sky Radio interview on moving brands forward fast.

I was recently interviewed again by Sky Radio Network for an in-flight radio segment to be broadcast on US Airways during September and October.

The broadcast with Dennis Michael of Sky Radio will showcase ForwardFast, my first book (and one of the first books of its kind), which presents the principles of brand innovation for health, science, and technology products.

If you’re driven to accelerate the adoption of new medical treatments, then this book will show you how to move with urgency to learn fast. track fast, think fast, respond fast, and create fast, then ForwardFast will help you become more creatively prepared and focused to reach the scientists, medical researchers, physicians, nurses, clinics, and the millions of patients who use your brands.

Other topics covered include:
• putting brand innovation to work with the 6 steps of the ForwardFast model;
• defining both a quality offering and a quality experience; and
• understanding what positive brand associations you can create

The ForwardFast audio program will reach an estimated in-flight audience of 3.34 million travelers on 20,000 worldwide flights during September and October. US Airways flies to 241 destinations in 30 countries.

US Airways was chosen because it is the dominant carrier in the Eastern pharma corridor from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and Delaware stretching down to North Carolina. We’re excited about reaching health science marketing, communications, public relations, and clinical development executives who use SkyRadio to stay up-to-date even while traveling.

To also hear the interview on the web, visit "Branding Interview Powered by Sky Radio" on the STINSON home page at www.StinsonBrandInnovation.com

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Living by the Golden Dozen: Insights from Tom Hopkins

Here's the best way I've ever found to pull the best performance out of myself. It's an extremely simple method. I didn’t say easy – I said simple.

Here’s an excerpt from the best-selling book, "How to Master the Art of Selling," by Tom Hopkins.

Tom is an authority on the subject of selling. He is the author of 12 books and he firmly believes that everyone can benefit from utilizing his techniques, concepts, and ideas

“First, hang copies of these twelve words where you'll see them at work, in your car, and at your home base:

I Must Do The Most Productive Thing Possible At Every Given Moment.

Now comes the important part:

Dedicate yourself to living that declaration.

It doesn't change anything to look at those words once in a while and think, "That's what I'm going to start doing just as soon as I can get myself together." If you really want to achieve, start living by those dozen words now.

Doing so requires only four steps. Imagine, only four steps to all the success you want; nothing could be simpler, could it? But let's get one thing clear at this point: Doing the most productive thing possible means just that -- the most productive thing. Not "make work." Not "look busy." Not "get by." Not "put off." But doing the most productive thing possible at that given moment, no matter how distasteful, hard, or worrisome the thing might be.

This often means tying into a knotty problem, facing up to an unpleasant task, or heading into a likely rejection. It means shooting for the top when you know you should, but are afraid to. It means preparing when you need to prepare and doing when you need to do. That's why I say it isn't easy, and why so few people follow it. It is simple, though. Anyone can do it -- you just have to want to. Here's how.

Consciously repeat these four steps minute by minute until they become second nature:

1. Tell yourself, "I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment."
2. Decide what the most productive thing is.
3. Do it.
4. When you've pushed as far forward as you can right now, go back to Step 1 and start over.

But don't become a fanatic. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do at a given moment is to sit down with your favorite person and spend an hour watching the sun go down.

Sometimes the most productive thing possible will be exercising, sleeping, or taking a well-deserved vacation. And, very often, the most productive thing you can do this minute will be the last thing you want to do right now. The edge between winners and losers cuts sharpest at this precise point.

We live moment by moment, not year by year. Do the most productive thing you can think of with each and every moment as you live it, and your future is assured. Do that all day every working day, and your progress will soon astound everyone who knows you. More importantly, you'll be astounded, delighted -- and justifiably proud of yourself.

Within minutes after you dedicate yourself to this plan and put it to work, you'll notice a difference. Within hours after you make this plan yours and start doing the most productive thing possible with every given moment, you'll project a new aura of confidence and capability.

Within days, people near you will sense the difference and start upgrading their opinions about your abilities and prospects. Within weeks, you'll be reaping substantial rewards from your new willingness to pay the price of success. Within months, you'll be living on a higher level than you now believe you can achieve in so short a time.

Once you've tasted what living by this credo can do for your life, you'll find yourself quickly shaking off every temporary lapse of determination. After every slip, you'll immediately review your reasons for wanting success. You'll re-affirm your dedication to doing what you know you must do to achieve that success. Then you'll push your engines back up to maximum thrust again by putting that moment, that hour, and the rest of that day to the most productive use possible.

No secret, no skill, and no method can be as valuable to you as the firm and constant application of The Golden Twelve. No lucky break, no inherited advantage, and no found opportunity can for very long balance your failure to consistently do the most productive thing possible with every given moment.

Since it creates a dramatic effect after only a few days, imagine what the total cumulative result will be after you have lived by this credo for several years. I know what will happen.

The Golden Twelve can revolutionize your life. It can send your accomplishments, happiness, and career soaring. It will do all these things if you'll apply it moment after moment, hour after hour, and day after day. How do I know it will?

Because that's what The Golden Twelve did -- and is doing -- for me.”

Read more at http://www.tomhopkins.com/

Monday, July 07, 2008


Hello readers:

We’re working on a really fun and exciting brand initiative for P&G and ReachMD XM157.

It’s a medical radio show that focuses on a new probiotic called Align® – and it’s based on a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

I’m writing to share it with you because you can help us make this a successful campaign. In the next week, you can listen to the show on satellite radio XM Channel 157 or online at www.reachmd.com/aligngi. You might even tell your physicians and friends to listen.

At the end of the show, you can call 888-55-ALIGN to receive free samples of the Align® brand.

If you are a healthcare professional, you will receive your free samples directly.
If you are a consumer-patient, you will receive a $10 coupon for product and instructions on how to receive samples.

We're looking forward to great response to this program and your support would be greatly appreciated.