Consumers increasingly expect healthcare to be immediate, responsive, and personal. That demands having the agility and adaptability of digital services such as Amazon and Uber, fueled by data and engaged at top speed. Let’s see how health brands are evolving and catching up…
Feliks Zemdegs has a cool-sounding name, perfect for the alter-ego of a Marvel arch-villain—or his actual identity as the world’s fastest Rubik’s Cuber. Born in 1995 and shattering records by age 16, gape at him recently solving the 3x3x3 version in 4.73 seconds. Not stopping there, dig his astonishing 2.31 minute solution of the 7x7x7 cube, a behemoth containing more than 19,501 sexvigintillion permutations—an unfathomably gargantuan number with a name as comic book weird and phonetically apropos as “Feliks Zemdegs”.
Since the eponymous puzzle’s invention by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik in 1974, speed cubers have combined the memorization of a few algorithms with rapid pattern recognition and lightning fast fingers to do the seemingly impossible. Think about it: What object do you own the most of? Your laptop sports ten billion transistors, tops. Now imagine holding a mechanical device in the palm of your hand that contains more than 10^160 physical states—a number greater than if every atom in the universe had a universe of atoms inside it.
Feliks and his cube-obsessed pals haven’t changed the world, but they certainly inspire us, and exemplify what it takes to succeed with speed. Case in point: How do you convert any 1 of 19 500 551 183 731 307 835 329 126 754 019 748 794 904 992 692 043 434 567 152 132 912 323 232 706 135 469 180 065 278 712 755 853 360 682 328 551 719 137 311 299 993 600 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 possible starting conditions into a predetermined end-state in 2 minutes? The clock is ticking, folks, every second counts!
Need for Speed
The need for speed within a complex environment is the onus of today’s marketers, too, communications having become immediate, interactive, global, and personal. With powerful computers in our pockets customizing every experience, and social networks making everyone a content creator and distributor, the competitive market place has transformed into a dynamic ecosystem that changes second-to-second. With possibilities nearly limitless, getting to the singular end-state of market leadership is an increasingly difficult puzzle.
Speed is key, the new Darwinism “survival of the fastest”—Faster to grow, faster to learn, faster to adapt. Google evolved from two guys in a garage to a market cap of $200B faster than Microsoft took to develop Vista OS. Adaptability is equally vital: Consider how Blockbuster died and Netflix thrives, technology and behavior adapting to digital engagement by selecting streaming content over physical media. To survive and thrive, brands must adapt as living organisms do: By reacting in real-time to dynamic conditions.
That makes brands living critters, competing in analogous ecosystems, essentially driven by the market, not by marketers. So brands are finally where they belong, at the center of control. The “adaptive brand” age is here, differentiating the winners from the losers, those born to rapidly transform and evolve from extinct creatures caught in the trap of traditional tactical thinking. Adaptive brands continuously sense and react to their environment, responsively creating insight-driven, personalized experiences for their consumers.
Amazon, Apple, and their breed lead: Focusing on people, platforms, and technologies, they flourish in today’s omnichannel marketing universe. Embodying evolutionary trajectories from digitization and acceleration to confidence-building and experimentation, industry disruption and ultimately societal transformation, they exemplify agile methodologies and data-driven cultures. Complex problems are tackled with incremental approaches, creative flexibility, and continuous adaptability to shifting internal and external environments.
Living Healthcare Brands
If today’s brands are best described as living organisms, then modeling healthcare brands in this organic, adaptive construct is particularly fitting and necessary. The patient-centric digital revolution has shifted audience behaviors to demand nothing less than healthcare as a real-time service—while the superconvergence of life sciences, communications, and technology has creatively destroyed medicine itself. Patients, physicians, and the health system within which they engage demand ever-increasing speed, interactivity, and efficiency.
At the core is a paradigm shift in what healthcare brands are and how they behave—no longer built, but born and living at the speed of life. Such a frantic sense of urgency permeates all stakeholders, from providers to payers to health consumers who seek effective solutions while grappling with ever-shrinking increments of time: Patent life, where delays can cost companies billions; and patient life, the precious end-goal of improving and extending the lives of millions of people in need of innovative and effective treatments.
The speed of life is “exponential”—doubling every cycle. The life sciences provide a model for technological change, too: “Moore’s Law” and its extension “Kruzweil’s Law of Accelerated Returns” reveal that the more advanced the system, the faster it can—and must—progress. Accelerating the power of personalization is key to making all products and services more nimble and adaptive—starting with measuring the unique “digital fingerprint” of each consumer as they continuously interact with content across their many devices.
Better understanding our healthcare audiences empowers marketers in ways once thought inconceivable. By following the “digital exhaust” of consumers, brands can for the first time not only precisely target audiences, but provide personalized content for each interaction. On the back end, increasingly sophisticated and powerful metrics and analytics engines are now able to correlate omnichannel campaign metrics with actual brand lift to calculate the Holy Grail of Marketing: Verifiable and accurate ROI. The trick is connecting all the digital dots.
So how do you go about birthing an adaptive healthcare brand? One that’s collaborative and iterative, measurably more powerful over time? How can you best understand and serve your diverse and demanding customers, who change as quickly and as chaotically as your competition? Forcing sudden “transformation” by tearing everything down then grabbing insights from outside is tempting. Despite the trend, that’s actually a failed state; instead, fostering a culture of experimentation that embraces evolution from within is the proven key.
That means most of your brand infrastructure and tactics are already in place, ready for a fresh infusion of exponential innovation. From AI and machine learning to dynamic personalization and real-time analytics, buzz words are growing up and becoming business practice. Experimental marketing starts with evolving your strategy, one exponential leap at a time. Are you activating the latest tech? Are you listening as closely to your people as your customers and competition? Are you eager to experiment, and willing to sometimes fail?
Adaptive People, Platforms, and Tech
The top 10 tech IPOs are as astonishing in size (and often recklessness) as how quickly their companies got to market dominance: Most in less than 5 years, or one-tenth the time it took a brand like Coca-Cola, which originally sold in 1919 for a scant $25M. Optimizing your healthcare brand potential and patient benefit is all about speed and agility. Exponential growth involves compressing time with smart tech and an adaptive workforce to rapidly evolve your brand in market—not on the sidelines—so you stay ahead of the competition.
But success has less to do with obsessing over competition, and more to do with empowering your employees and optimizing your infrastructure. Adaptive brands know how to use data and tech to understand their people better than their customers. Experience has shown that personalizing each employee’s experience and increasing their emotional engagement, mastery of new skills, and ultimately their entire team’s potential demands a disruptive, data-driven approach to “decoding” human capital and management strategy.
By using technology as a coach similar to how Google, Amazon, and Netflix operate, data as a “sixth sense” to empower decision making like at UPS, and an engineered ecosystem akin to Salesforce.com, the ultimate company resource is created: The “adaptive employee.” Constant change isn’t just an inherent characteristic of the market place, your competition, and your brand, but of your own people—and for many of the same reasons. Each employee has their unique preferences and potential, evolving in real time within their work.
The cumulative learning and continuous management required to grow your brands, coach your people, and adapt to all these evolving conditions more fluidly demand a data-driven commuications strategy. Your brand must assess “Big Data” through a proven platform. Centralizing key functions can help your adaptive people better communicate, orchestrate work, and make better decisions. An effective platform also helps evolve an ad hoc and fragmented communications plan into an exponential “adaptive marketing” strategy.
With immediate access to actionable data and insights, you can target more of the right customers more effectively, determine which elements of your omnichannel mix are working and for whom, and provide the personalized brand experiences today’s consumers demand. Success has become a fast-moving target, and only the swiftest and smartest will survive. Gone are the days of building a traditional brand in a vacuum—only an adaptive brand driven by adaptive people embracing exponential thinking and innovation will win.
Adaptive Brand Leaders and Partners
From clinical research to market access, cutting edge companies embrace agile methodologies and adaptive strategies to help extend both patent and patient life. Intriguing startups already optimizing clinical trials abound, including Acurian Health and Science 37; while 23andMe has come back strong in personalized medicine with FDA consent. In managed care Clover and Oscar use tech to make the consumer experience more intuitive and simple, while Explorys uses the big data guns of IBM Watson to study population health.
Today’s “Quantified Health Grand Prix” features digitally savvy companies large and small racing toward the goal of optimal disease treatment, management, and prevention. Communication and commercialization partners have lagged behind, however, considerable investment in research and development precluding most agencies from making the commitment necessary to successfully evolve adaptive healthcare brands. Does your partner have the people, platforms, and technology that we’ve seen are prerequisites for success?
Exponential Commercialization with Klick Health
Faster to market, faster to learn, faster to adapt—healthcare is moving at the speed of life, and your brand needs the data, insights, and responsiveness to thrive within a highly competitive ecosystem. Has your agency literally written the book on building a data-centric culture of experimentation? Has it developed its own software platform to orchestrate work, collaborate across silos, develop new capabilities, and manage a full spectrum of project types? Does it conduct its own research and has it developed its own medical field?
Healthcare is changing too quickly and the market is too complex for your brand—or its stakeholders and audiences—to be kept waiting. The same culture and legacy of experimentation, digital acceleration, and industry disruption that describe companies like Amazon and SpaceX also apply to Klick Health. We’re a master orchestrator uniquely driven and capable of making it all work together, poised to give your team the speed it needs to succeed.