Archive for June, 2010

The Chief Media Officer Is Joining The Executive Suite

June 17, 2010

There is a new player in the C-Suite: the Chief Media Officer.
Why? Because to be successful, there needs to be a unified corporate responsiveness and consistency in the media (communications).
Certainly media is an industry, but media is increasingly become an important part of most industries: from apparel to medicine, to convey as well as receive information.
For an analogy think of technology: yes, it is an industry; in addition, most companies have a CIO and/or CTO to manage their technology.
Media encompasses the various modes of communication, the message conveyed through differing means and with various parties.
Channels of communication continue to grow and include: in person, print (newspapers, magazines, signage, books, brochures, etc.), radio, television, computer, telephone, PDA, etc.
The message maybe a short 140 characters or a longer, complex outpouring for information, help, education, entertainment, etc.
Means include written, auditory, visual, as well as smell, touch and/or taste.
Parties communicated with include: customers (consumers and buyers), employees, suppliers, competitors, partners, shareholders, authorities, etc.
Let’s look at media usage in apparel; it is primarily about image, but also about communication with the various parties they are involved with.
Companies leverage advertisements (print — newspapers, magazines, billboards; and online) to get their products in front of customers.
They participate in Fashion Week (mostly visual, but also auditory –music the models strut to, and of course the write-ups — in the newspapers and online) with run-way shows to appeal to buyers (retail and consumer – whom may tweet during the show about the fashions, as well as what is going on — who is attending, wearing what, etc.) and to pick-up favorable press.
To produce the orders that come in, apparel companies will stay in touch with suppliers, partners, and customs authorities (if product is brought-in from off-shore) mostly online.
Sometimes, famous customers are snapped wearing a product and this will be passed along electronically as well as perhaps show up in the New York Post or Town and Country.
The apparel company’s results for the year will be shared in an annual report (printed and electronic) with shareholders, which industry analysts and competitors will read with interest.
In medicine, think Johnson & Johnson for example, while maintaining an image of quality and reliability is important, media is used for information, education and to help.
Remember the Tylenol tampering? J&J responsiveness to consumers by supplying information, coordinating with vendors by pulling the product from the shelves, and working with suppliers to develop tamper-proof packaging saved the company.
While this happened in 1980’s, pre-wide spread online usage, using the media (telephone help lines, television, radio, and print) well was critical to J&J heralded success in managing the crisis.
Going forward, a Chief Media Officer responsibility might include Media, Marketing, Advertising, PR, Communications, Customer Service, and other areas.
Recognizing the growing importance of media to long-term profitability, companies are raising its visibility in the executive suite.
As a result, companies of all sizes will be hiring Chief Media Officers to manage their marketing messages and communications through multiple means to all concerned parties.

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The First Casualty Of Healthcare Reform And HSAs

June 5, 2010

One of the first casualties of healthcare reform is a small Virginia insurance company dedicated to providing Health Savings Account insurance.
The uncertainties raised by the massive and often unclear bill are raising concerns throughout the healthcare industry.
A recent sit-down between Health And Human Services Secretary Sebelius and healthcare insurance executives did little to ease this uncertainty.
What is necessary over the next few months is a gradual identification and clarification of key elements of the bill that will enable the industry to begin planning for the future.
At the same time, our company, Information Strategies, Inc., recent survey of healthcare insurance purchasers found a significant number of individuals frightened and unnerved by the prospect of change.
Of course, change always brings uncertainty but the lack of information and clarification is driving a heightened sense of insecurity.
For HSAs, which are on track to reach 15 million by January 31, 2011, the “clarifications” pose a risk.
Our experience with the Obama administration clearly shows a marked antipathy towards HSAs. How the rules come down will greatly affect HSAs and the coming congressional elections will profoundly affect their future.
We always point to this startling statistic when measuring HSAs against other health insurance offerings. Whereas four out of five HSA users would recommend them to family and friends, only 56% of users of other traditional plans (PPOs, HMOs) would recommend them.
With key battle ground states like Ohio, Texas, Indiana, California and Florida having strong commitments to HSAs, perhaps there is hope that they will survive relatively unscathed.