by Ranna Jaraha & Erin Abler

From delivery to creative to data analysis, each department at Razorfish Healthware has its own packed agenda. As we juggle to meet the needs of all our clients, some days it’s hard to feel like we have time to breathe, much less take on another task. But even during those demanding times, when a special project comes along, we’re the first to jump at the opportunity—such was the case with the 2012 Civic Data Challenge.

What exactly did we have to do? Well, the idea seemed fairly simple: take civic health and community attachment data – in addition to public data on health, safety, education and the economy – and transform it into something engaging and informative, such as a visualization or interactive product. As a health and wellness agency focused on creating experiences that change lives, this was right up our alley. Before we knew it, we were diving into sheets and sheets of excel data that would make most heads spin. There was a huge variety and complexity in the data that could be leveraged to tell many different wellness stories.

Counting data analysts, writers, designers, and animators in our ranks – as well as management, illustration, and voiceover talent – we divided work based on individual strengths as well as budding interests. The resulting story – about the connection between arts education and community wellness – grew organically from our research. We showcased our findings through an illustrated video that told the story of how arts education and its connection to community health touch on a variety of civic concerns. You can see it now on Vimeo.

Though we are proud just to have participated, we are even more thrilled to announce that our entry has been selected as one of four winners in the Challenge.

Our win means that our findings will be shared throughout a variety of digital channels. Hopefully our video will function as a catalyst to broader public appreciation of the arts as an important part of a well-rounded citizenry and a brighter future.

We’d like to acknowledge the National Conference on Citizenship and the Knight Foundation, who organized the contest. And of course, a big thanks to everyone at Razorfish Healthware who supported the effort and demonstrated once again that our passion for understanding and sharing insights into what makes for a healthier world isn’t just limited to doing that for our paying clients.

By: Kristin Cardullo, Senior Account Manager

What inspires you? My manager took me a little off guard recently when she asked me that question. It was a simple, yet powerful question; one that shouldn’t only be asked during performance goal setting, but each and every day when you work for a digital agency. Through my journey, I was a little surprised by not only what inspires me, but also what leads to inspiration.

When I went home that night I was doing one of my absolute favorite things – baking cupcakes. While being careful to measure out the perfect amount of ingredients, I reflected on the question I had been asked earlier in the day. My thoughts subconsciously began to mesh with my baking task at hand and led me to arrive at a striking “aha” moment: I realized that delivering creative is a lot like baking a cupcake. When I bake, I put my all into the finished product, and I want nothing more than for everyone to be happy with what I have made. Similarly, as a member of client engagement, I strive to make my clients happy and leave them craving for more after we have presented creative material.

Everyone remembers their favorite meal or dessert. We may not think about it while we are eating it, but a strategic combination of ingredients and timing went into creating that perfect dish, just like ideas and talents that go into a great piece of creative. When baking, there are some key ingredients to every cupcake: eggs, sugar, flour, butter, and baking powder. Change the amount of those core ingredients and you will end up baking a sugar cookie or a muffin.

A great piece of creative is also made up of very specific, very intentional ingredients. It should be inspiring, emotional, memorable, appropriate for the target, and shareable. Adding more of one ingredient can lead to a different approach, and missing an ingredient can sometimes cause us to miss our mark entirely. Just the other day, I saw a commercial for Google Chrome that I would consider THE perfectly baked cupcake of commercials.

It starts out with a guy asking his ex-girlfriend to meet for coffee in an email. He uses features on Google Chrome to put together a story that explains why she should say yes. It starts by showing their awful first date at a rundown taco shack and then moves on to a video of their great second date at an amusement park. As more pictures of the pair captured in various locations are featured, a Spanish blurb surfaces. The girl is prompted to use a program tool to translate the words and finds that they read, “because I miss my travel buddy.” He pins tons of places in their town on a map showing all the places he thinks of her, including the bench where they broke up. He ends his case by showing a picture of his desk at work, followed by a typed confession that he should have spent less time there and more time with her.

When I rewound the commercial and watched it again, I started to think about the wonderful ingredients that made it so special:
• The commercial showcased the product through a story that highlighted key features in memorable ways.
• It pulls at the heart strings; I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I shed a few tears watching it.
• The story spoke to the 20-30 something target audience since it featured things that young adults do, such as travel, work long hours, and post photos and videos of well, everything.
• The commercial showed how the product reach goes beyond the digital space and how it can facilitate the interpersonal relationships of its users.
• Finally, the commercial left a lasting impression that drove me to search the product.

The delivery of this commercial and all the work that probably went into making it is truly a reminder of how impactful our jobs here can be and how a team of different minds and ingredients can create experiences that change lives.

We have a lot of different departments and different minds that make up Razorfish Health. We may not all work in the creative department, but we all participate in the process that inspires good creative.

Take time to notice the creative around you. The best cupcake has the perfect amount of each ingredient and so does great creative. If we all contribute, we can bake the perfect creative cupcake for our clients. What could be more inspiring than that?

By Spring Moore

I recently wrote an article for Media Post titled, “Whether it’s paid or owned, health content is king”. The article focuses on the changing roles content strategists and media planners will play as brands distribute increasing amounts of content across diverse ecosystems.

The key point of the article is the notion that to get the most from your content, and consequently drive customer engagement successfully, brands need to take a holistic approach to publishing their content. Too often, paid content placements (aka media) and owned content placements (aka website or social content) are looked at as different things that fall under the pervue of separate individuals, media planners and content strategists.

This mindset needs to change. A video is no longer just a video; an ad not just an ad; they are each pieces of brand content that need to have synergistic relationships with one another and other pieces of brand content.

Brands and agencies need to put all their content experts in the room together when they plan out their content distribution. Continuing to treat media planning and content strategy as mutually exclusive domains will continue to stunt digital strategies and stifle customer engagement.

So the next time your brand has an increase in its ad budget, or finds itself with a wealth of new content assets – such as videos – the first question you should ask yourself isn’t “how should I spend it” or “where should I post it”, rather, it’s “How can I get the most from my content?” The answer may surprise you.

For more on Content Strategy check out the Razorfish Scatter/Gather blog at

by Andy McKechnie

Communication theory has certainly evolved over the centuries, getting more and more complex as thinking has expanded. In many respects, it started with Aristotle, who said that all communication has three elements: a sender, a message, and a receiver. This, really, is the simplest model of communication that we have, as models developed later in history added in other factors, such as channel and noise. All of these models serve as accurate – and often detailed – portrayals of what happens when we communicate with each other.

While the later models are more accurate and more detailed than Aristotle’s very simple model, the fundamental elements outlined in Aristotle’s model should not be forgotten in today’s promotional communication. Oftentimes, too much emphasis is placed on the message and not the receiver. This is not to say that the message isn’t important, of course, but there needs to be a balance between the three elements in order to achieve successful communication (channel and noise can also have a great impact).

Even the most compelling message falls flat when delivered to the wrong audience. Likewise, a perfectly pinpointed target audience will not care about a message that isn’t appropriate for them.

Wasted Opportunities

In the advertising world, it is commonly accepted that there will almost always be some waste due to imbalance in the three elements of Aristotle’s model. A TV spot on American Idol, for instance, will reach plenty of people, but some of them will be the wrong people. The same goes for a homepage takeover on; millions of the right people will receive the message, but there will also be waste. This is accepted as part of the price paid for the high impact of these placements.

What I fear many advertisers are forgetting is that in addition to finding the right receivers, the message for those receivers needs to be right, as well. Sure, we can spend hours creating different concepts, testing different messages, and using different calls to action to arrive at the one perfect ad that is right for the largest number of people, but it’s almost always not going to be enough. Instead we need to be more purposeful in marrying the message to the individual receiver in a meaningful way.

Sending the right message: Know your target

Here’s an example. Consider a DVD rental/video streaming service that wants to get new customers. In order to entice folks to join, they offer a free trial. They get the word out by buying a lot of digital media and showing everyone the advertisement for the free trial offer. The problem here is that a few million people who receive the free trial offer ads are already registered customers. This mismatch between message and receiver is a great waste. Money down the drain. In the offline world, as I mentioned, this happens and is accepted as part of the cost of doing business. In the digital world, however, this should not be accepted. Why not? Because it doesn’t have to be.

The DVD/streaming video advertiser could use simple ad serving technology at the point of the ad call to determine if the particular receiver is an existing customer or not. For a new customer, serve the free trial offer as planned; however, if someone is already registered and in the fold, send them a message with a different call to action, such as a referral bonus.

This isn’t a new idea – many retail advertisers have been doing it for years, but I’m still amazed at how many big budget advertisers are failing to utilize this simple, uniquely digital tactic. In short, it takes a media buy from targeting a broad demographic, and makes it much a more personalized, one-to-one experience, based on the brand’s data about a specific individual.

Reaching Patients

Let’s not forget why we’re here, however. This is just as applicable in the health care space. A patient is highly unlikely to sign up for an offer related to a drug he/she has never heard of. Likewise, if a patient is already on script, he/she doesn’t need top level information about a basic aspect of the drug. This becomes especially wasteful in the endemic content areas, which carry a premium price tag.

The beauty of digital media buying is that we don’t have to play by the old rules, though it seems many still are. Hopefully more advertisers (and not just those in the pharma space…I’m looking at you, high-profile-DVD-rental/streaming-video company) will get a little more Aristotelian when thinking about the way they are running their digital campaigns and remember that the most successful campaigns never divorce the message from the individual receiver.

By Varsha Eluri, Analyst

Trying to understand the current landscape of social media can be an overwhelming task, let alone coming up with innovative strategies that help you make full use of the potential of the social media space to elevate your own brands. But as social media becomes a bigger and bigger part of our lives, it is important that Healthcare marketers think about what that means for their audience, and ultimately their brands.  Not engaging with the current trends can mean not engaging with your audience and significantly decreasing visibility, interest, and loyalty for your brand.

Making healthcare marketing Pinteresting

One of the latest trends is Pinterest. For those of us who may have been living under a rock (J), Pinterest is a visually driven social network that allows its users to create virtual ‘boards’ where they can ‘pin’ original ideas and content in the form of pictures and videos that pique their interest. The company’s use of the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” has steadily taken it from 418,000 unique visitors in May 2011 to 11.7 million unique visitors in Jan 2012, making it the fastest site in history to cross the 10 million mark (comScore). Pinterest can now proudly claim to be the third most popular media platform after Facebook and Twitter.

With the rapidly decreasing attention spans and wavering loyalties of the current population, the Healthcare industry needs to embrace new mediums to engage their audience. It has been found that nearly 60% of American adults look for their health information online.

And recently, a study from Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US entitled, “Social media likes healthcare: From marketing to social business,” found that one-third of consumers now use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums for health-related matters, including seeking medical information, tracking and sharing symptoms, and broadcasting how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.

Additionally we know that women make approximately 80% of Healthcare decisions for their families (U.S. Department of Labor). Given this, Pinterest has just the right demographic (see below) to be a great resource for Healthcare marketers.

Pinterest infographic

Pinterest By The Numbers

Brands on Pinterest

We are already seeing some Healthcare companies embrace Pinterest and its users in really unique ways.  A very apt example is Kotex, which created a really successful campaign through Pinterest.  Kotex found 50 influential women and analyzed them based on what they were pinning on Pinterest.  They then sent the women a virtual Kotex gift box.  If the recipient pinned the virtual gift, they would receive a real version of it in the mail.  According to the agency, Smoyz, almost 100% of the women posted about the gift on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – creating 2,200 interactions from the 50 virtual gifts sent out.  (5 Interesting Pinterest Marketing Campaigns,

Kotex recognized the value of the Pinterest audience and engaged their social nature to create interest in the Kotex brand.  Healthcare brands need to similarly embrace their audience’s behavior and come up with ways to create campaigns that better resonate with them.  There are a variety of ways in which Healthcare marketers can embrace Pinterest, for example by creating content on Pinterest or by adding the “Pin it” functionality to the information on your website to allow users to add your content to the topics that are interesting to them.

The fact that Pinterest relies on imagery and video is a great way to allow your audience to connect with your brand on an emotional level.  Pinterest also takes advantage of the social nature of women/mothers and allows them to promote your brand through their own boards, as well as demonstrate relationships between your brand and other resources that you might not even have been aware of.

Healthcare marketers are embracing social media more and more, and now they have another network to add to the list: Pinterest.

By Kelli Diveley, Senior Search Manager

Facebook recently put on a big show to announce its new pages and media placements for brands. Brands now have more opportunities to connect with customers on the social network. But how can brand websites, owned social media properties and search work together to engage consumers?

Having the ability to drive consumers to a website and a social presence, such as a Facebook page, can ultimately enhance your search marketing campaign. Giving consumers the ability to choose where they access brand content leads to the best user experience and ultimately ensures all efforts are contributing to the brand’s business objectives.

Social vs. Search in brand relationships

While Google still ranks as the most visited site in the United States, Facebook is second in terms of frequency but first when it comes to time spent on site. According to Nielsen, in November 2011 Americans spent almost 7 hours a month on Facebook, more than three times higher than the amount of time spent on Google or YouTube.

Google, Yahoo and other search engines are the first place people turn to when looking for more information. Facebook on the other hand is a true destination, whose success has been driven by its ability to build a digital community where people go to share links, pictures, and connections with brands for which they have an affinity.

Consumers’ expectations of a brand on Facebook are much different than expectations of a brand’s website. A study published in December 2011 by CMO Council found that 67% of consumers “like” a brand for exclusive offers, 60% are looking to share their experience, and 57% are looking to find other “unique” experiences. In contrast, consumers visit a brand’s website because they believe it is a reliable source for product and service information. A Nielsen and NM Incite study recently found that only 15% of consumers prefer getting product information from a brand’s Facebook page, while 50% prefer to get this information from the brand’s website.

Getting your plan together

Search marketing can play a role in the promotion of a brand’s social presence by promoting a Facebook initiative within the paid search landscape.  Before allocating a portion of a search marketing budget towards promoting a Facebook presence, it is recommended that two preliminary steps are taken.

First, a social listening program should be executed to understand what consumers are saying about the brand and the category to determine the type of content the target audience would be interested in on Facebook.

Secondly, to fully understand the value of a brand presence on Facebook a measurement plan should be put in place to define the value of interactions such as likes, shares and comments. According to a report released by eVoc found that 47% of consumers who have “liked” a brand say this action has had no influence on their intent to purchase.

How to make it work

With a measurement plan and consumer insights from the social listening campaign in place, a strong search strategy to support Facebook efforts can be put into motion. There are two recommended solutions that brands can use to bolster Facebook efforts through paid search.

The first option is to provide a site link directing searchers to “like” the brand on Facebook. Site links are shown on the majority of branded searches and on average between 10-40% of searches for non-branded terms. This is a great way to integrate Facebook alongside other calls to action and it can be funded from existing paid search budgets.

Another option is showing a completely separate ad for Facebook in search results. Below is a mocked up example for Neutrogena, which shows the main ad for and an additional ad promoting their Facebook page in the paid search results on the right. While this strategy would likely result in incremental cost, it would increase a brand’s ownership of the search results page.

Keep your customers’ needs top of mind

An approach that gives the consumers the ability to choose where they access a brand’s content is optimal.  Forgoing a website in favor of a Facebook-only approach may result in a less than optimal experience for a consumer, and an even poorer result for a brand.

This strategy assumes that a majority of a brand’s target audience utilizes Facebook for product or shopping research purposes. Additionally, Facebook does not provide brand marketers the ability to accurately track the effect of third party media, making it difficult to determine if efforts are successful, whereas all actions taken on a brand’s website can be tracked.

It is best to utilize Facebook to augment a consumer’s brand experience, not replace existing channels such as a brand website. While there is a lot of potential upside in executing a successful Facebook strategy, a strategic framework needs to be in place to help ensure all efforts are contributing to the brand’s business objectives. At the end of the day, search’s role within the digital ecosystem is to provide consumers with easy access to the right brand content, whenever and wherever they are looking for it.

iPhone user: “Siri you’re beautiful”

Siri: “You say that to all the virtual assistants”

iPhone user: “Where are you from?”

Siri: “Like it says on the box…I was designed by Apple in California”

iPhone user: “Guess what?”

Siri: “Don’t tell me…you were just elected President of the United States, right?

iPhone user: “What is the meaning of life?”

Siri: “I find it odd that you would ask this of an inanimate object”

As apparent in the above conversations from, the debut of Apple’s iPhone 4S left many iPhone owners speculating about the potential uses for the phone’s new Siri feature. Siri is an intelligent software assistant that allows users to speak with their phone. The software can answer questions, schedule appointments, and write messages. Health policy analyst John S. Wilson wrote about potential uses of Siri for making emergency calls to 911. This article leads to further questions about how Siri might impact healthcare.

Siri understands the meaning behind an iPhone user’s questions by using a natural language interface. In one review, I noticed that Siri appears to use logic to determine symptoms of an illness. In this article, a CNN reviewer jokingly told Siri “I’m going to kill myself,” to which Siri replied, “I found four mental health agencies. Three of them are fairly close to you.”

This playful conversation demonstrates Siri’s capacity to answer healthcare related queries and begs the question of what other health insight the software can offer. Siri must understand that suicidal thoughts are symptoms of a mental health illness and can be treated in a mental health institution. Could Siri be used to suggest or refer owners to other medical treatment centers?

According to, 17% of US mobile users research health information on the phone and 9% track their health using apps. Consumers already use iPhone apps to test their vision, take yoga classes, track their calorie intake, and look up disease information. With Siri, accessing healthcare information and advice will be even easier. Will patients skip a visit to their primary care physicians and go directly to a specialist upon Siri’s recommendation in the future?

Apple, as well as third party app developers, will play a greater role in the type of healthcare mobile users seek. It is interesting that Siri recommended a mental health agency instead of a private-practice psychologist in the CNN review. Recent controversy arose because Siri will not provide iPhone users with a list of abortion clinic locations. However Siri will direct an owner to the nearest pharmacy.

The ability for Siri to selectively offer healthcare information has important implications for healthcare marketers. One blogger noted that Siri does not always recommend a healthcare facility based on closest proximity. Healthcare businesses must ensure that their services are recommended highly through Siri so they are represented in the mobile space. If a pharmacy is not ranked highly on Siri’s “recommended” list, customers will be referred to their competitors. Siri’s search results come from a combination of the Wolfram Alpha answer-engine and the phone’s default search engine. Some strategies that have been suggested to potentially improve a Siri result ranking include:

  • Optimizing mobile content for search engines
  • Ensuring a complete and accurate Google Places Page
  • Ensuring a complete and accurate Yelp profile
  • Getting positive customer reviews and develop multimedia content

Businesses will also need to create apps that utilize Siri to better communicate with their audience once the software is opened to third party developers. Although Siri is a new tool, it is already demonstrating influence in the healthcare decisions of iPhone owners.

How many times have you attended a presentation and suddenly a cryptic, undecipherable slide appears on the screen and the presenter says: “You probably can’t read this but…”?   This is like holding up a blue and a green sweater in front of someone who is color blind and asking: “Which one do you like better?”  It leaves your audience baffled.  And your sweater won’t match your pants.

When presenting to any audience, we should always be mindful of who is part of that audience, what their needs are, and what their level of comprehension of the material presented may be.  And this is especially important when presenting data because graphs and charts are difficult to process when projected on a slide for most audience members.

The first question when presenting data-heavy content should really be whether or not a slide presentation is the best medium to communicate the information.  Remember, slides are like billboards on the highway: Ideally you should be able to get the main message in less than 5 seconds.  Would an Excel report be better, sent ahead of time for review, followed by a discussion?  Possibly.  But there are many cases when it is necessary and appropriate to present data on slides.

There are 3 basic design principles which will help make data slides appropriate for presentations: Simplicity, clarity and meaning.  In order to demonstrate these principles, I will start with a double-axis graph often found on data slides.


Get rid of anything that’s not needed. A good rule of thumb is that there should only be one takeaway per slide so don’t try to cram 5 things into one slide.  In our example, if we get rid of grid lines, line markers and simplify the vertical axis scales, the graph is already easier to read.


If there is any possible way the audience can get confused by the slide, address the issue.  For example on our slide, I added labels to the 2 vertical axes and used colors to clearly indicate which line shows sales and which shows marketing spend.


The last point is crucial: Focus on the meaning of the slide. Why is this slide here? What’s the takeaway?  In our example slide, I added a meaningful title and emphasized which data points are relevant.

Since this may still be a lot to absorb in 5 seconds for your audience, you can quickly build to this slide this way:

Once you’ve presented these slimmed down data slides and gotten your message across, you can always provide more complete graphs to your audience in the form of a handout.

If you need to present a lot of data, keep these simple principles in mind and your audience will thank you for it by shifting their focus from their smartphones to your presentation (and by remaining awake!).  As an agency dedicated to measuring the success of our clients’ online initiatives, this is something we understand very well and strive to bring to every client presentation.

Always keep in mind presentation design guru Nany Duarte’s golden rule: “Never deliver a presentation you wouldn’t want to sit through.”

Category: Presentations  | Tags: , , ,  | 5 Comments

It all begins with the user in mind;

Qual, quant, and 3rd party data in hand,

key insights, through research, we always find

to connect a customer and a brand.

It is all about the user and how

they think and they behave and what they need

to be happier and healthier now.

When they succeed we, as IA’s, succeed.

When users are successful at their task

and engage with a product or a brand

the IA cheers; what more could you ask

then to have a happy user in hand?!

And that is why each IA always strives

to make experiences that change lives.

Going back to the beginning of the commercial web, agencies and consultancies were selling their proprietary content management solutions to clients. Before long commercial enterprise content management systems developed web capabilities while new web content management solutions also surfaced. It was more than a few years before corporations realized the merits of a commercial content management system rather than building their own. Commercial software (or open source) is cheaper, better quality, more feature rich and easier to maintain than home grown solutions. Throughout the last decade, hundreds of content management solutions have populated the marketplace in a dizzying array of prices and capabilities.

It is now 2011 and companies are once again forced to deal with servicing an entirely new class of devices – mobile phones and tablets. Mobile devices and tablets have unique form factors and a wide array of capabilities that open up enormous possibilities in healthcare marketing and in helping patients and healthcare professionals deal with the complex healthcare information they are presented with. Corporate IT departments are scrambling to deal with marketing demands in the mobile and tablet space.

How should mobile and tablet content and capabilities be delivered? That is a complicated question and the answer depends on each individual company, however, there are some best practices that should be followed. First, don’t reinvent the wheel. Leverage existing content management systems where they exist. It is relatively simple to define a new set of templates with most web content management systems that enable the organization to leverage existing content management structures (content types, workflow structures, etc.). The second option is to leverage a mobile specific platform. There are several in the market, such as Augme, however, it is unclear who is going to emerge as the leader in that space. Ultimately, the commercial content management systems will offer mobile specific capabilities in their systems, however, like 15 years ago when the need for web content emerged, the commercial vendors will lag customer needs while they figure out the best way to deliver new capabilities with their individual products. In the meantime, Razorfish Health will continue to help healthcare companies navigate the complex nature of delivering mobile and tablet experiences to their customers.