Bridging the Gap Between Doctor & Patient

Physicians – on average – spend 15-20 minutes with a patient for a typical office visit[1]. While 15-20 minutes may be sufficient for a general health checkup, for people dealing with a chronic condition (or multiple conditions) this time can seem limited.

Now imagine that you, yourself, are sitting in your doctor’s office and you have just been diagnosed with a chronic condition. The doctor was running 5 minutes late, and after some introductions and the information about your diagnosis, you now have 10 minutes left of your appointment. What is your doctor telling you about your condition – which, until 5 minutes ago, you may have never heard about? What do you want to know?

BuzzBack has been hard at work developing a methodology that gives us both the patient and physician perspectives on these issues, highlighting specific areas where there are gaps that may be able to be addressed by other stakeholders (e.g., pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, etc.).

For instance, our research found that when talking to COPD patients, while PCPs and Pulmonologists tend to focus a lot on treatment options, symptoms, and the origin of the condition when diagnosing a patient, there is less of a focus on overall health, which patients indicate being the top thing that they wish their HCP had spoken about when they had been diagnosed.

comm gaps word cloud


Check back here for more information about our upcoming webinar, where we’ll be presenting our research findings on Patient-Physician Communication Gaps. 


Doctor Patient Communication Gaps

Why The Research Plan Needs to be Globalized

Did you know that there are 50 different Eskimo words for ‘snow‘? Or that those who live in northern Scandinavia and Russia who speak Saami, have about 1,000 different ways to say ‘reindeer’? This information is definitely interesting, but why does it matter? Well, it might matter if you’re thinking of taking a product or service to market anytime soon. Ok, maybe only if your product is a reindeer-mounted snow shovel. But seriously, knowing there are so many variations in these languages, makes you wonder about all the other many languages and possible communication problems that may arise. Of course, you might not be thinking of the global market just yet, but you should be. Our world is becoming increasingly global and increasingly instant, which brings new communication challenges. Today’s products and brands need to be prepared early on to compete on a global level. Being able to communicate according to each market’s values, understanding cultural sensitivities, and knowing how your product or service compares with top local brands in that space should all be top of mind.

One way to do that is through research, which can be a crucial tool for understanding more about your consumer and creating more effective communications. However, there are many common pitfalls when it comes to reviewing open-ended questions. That’s when having a great research team and a skilled supplier in place can mean a world of difference. When it comes to global studies, we partner closely with Lionbridge because language is such an important component of the insights we deliver and Lionbridge ensures we provide top quality translation. In fact, our very own Carol Fitzgerald and Paula Shannon from Lionbridge are in Nashville at the SiriusDecision Summit today to talk about this very subject.

However, it’s important to note that the meaning of a word is not just important on a global scale. While in one language there may be more than one word used to convey a certain idea, there are also countless ways to interpret that word’s meaning. A company may think such a word means one thing, but in reality from a consumer’s point of view, it could mean something very different. Understanding what your brand stands for among your consumers – what you stand for, what the essence is – is of utmost importance when going to market. That’s why from time to time we conduct our own global exploratory studies to help our clients glean more insights on marketing terms that may be helpful in their own communication and positioning platforms. This year, BuzzBack conducted a study exploring the word ‘premium’, which aimed to understand what consumer language represents – verbally, visually and emotionally in the US, UK, China and Brazil. To request the white paper, contact us below, or to learn more about our ‘premium’ study, click here.

There’s a Bug in My Soup…On Purpose

When the U.N. declared back in 2013 that we humans should eat more bugs, it was an idea that many couldn’t stomach. This suggestion was made as part of the UN’s larger and quite serious focus on global environmental issues and potential food shortages. And no matter how queasy the notion might make someone, edible insects are rich in protein and sourcing them has low environmental impact. In many parts of the world, bug eating is not some foodie trend, but a way of life. Deep friend insects can be bought from Thai street vendors as easily as a hot dog from a food cart in Manhattan.

National Public Radio recently profiled a Thai entrepreneur looking to bring this favorite street food to the grocery and minimart snack aisle. To woo the uninitiated bug eater, he is relying on familiar chip and crisps flavors like barbecue and cheese, while on-pack messaging promotes the health benefits of the treat inside. Are bug products on their way to becoming the subject of MR explorations of the future? Will BuzzBack soon be leading eCollage studies to determine the best positioning for mealworm larva puffs or cricket breakfast flakes (Try them with milk!). And how would we tackle the concept generation sessions on potential flavors?

It makes one wonder – is the ick factor culturally ingrained? Earlier this year we released a report that explored global attitudes around the idea of Healthy – which included snacking. No one in Russia, Brazil or the U.S. named a single insect to their list of sought after healthy snacks.

That would suggest that Americans probably aren’t quite ready to view bugs tossed in their salad as a welcome addition – this still ranks up there as a legitimate reason to complain to the waiter.  However, American consumers have been enjoying a bug-based additive already – and most are probably not even aware that they are. Chochineal, carmine or carminic acid is a colorant made from crushed South American insects that give many processed foods their red color.

But bugs by choice? It’s going to take some marketing brilliance and powerful positioning to make that idea palatable. And maybe it will be the Millennials who will lead the way on insect cuisine. Our most recent study of their attitudes and behavior when it comes to food & nutrition found them to be more adventurous and willing to try new things. But to be fair, we didn’t specifically ask them if those new things had antennae or ectoskeletons.

To learn more about our Healthy Report or get more information about Millennials & Nutrition, click here.

Flu Vaccine: Hype or Hope?

When I walk around New York in the winter time, it feels like I run across a drugstore on every other block with a large ad in the window for flu vaccinations. The ads offer a quick, walk-in vaccination covered by most health insurance policies, which sounds like a pretty good deal.

Not everyone is persuaded by those ads, however. In our upcoming BuzzPoll infographic on flu vaccination, more than half of respondents (54%) have no set plans to get a flu vaccine this year, with the primary reason for non-vaccination being skepticism over how effective flu vaccines are. Unfortunately, some of that doubt is particularly warranted this flu season, as the CDC has reported that flu vaccines are only 23% effective this year, compared to a typical flu prevention rate of 60-65%. The main influenza A (H3N2) strain circulating this year has mutated enough that about 68% of those viruses are genetically different from the flu viruses used in this year’s vaccines.

Still, even a less effective vaccine offers some level of protection, especially considering that the flu vaccine protects against several different strains of flu. So a flu shot now could also protect you from some of the different strains that emerge throughout the flu season. Half of our BuzzPoll respondents who do plan to get vaccinated this season cite doctor recommendation as a reason, and the CDC recommends annual vaccination for everyone 6 months and up (with only a few rare exceptions).

So if you’re among the more than half of Americans who haven’t been vaccinated yet, maybe you’ll want to take a second look the next time you pass by an ad for the flu vaccine. As for me? Walking by all those drugstores drove the message home – I got my flu shot a few days ago.

For more information on our flu vaccination findings, get in touch with us below.

Millennials + Sustainability

These days, it seems like everyone’s jumped onto the ‘going green’ bandwagon. Fast fashion retailer H&M is offering its customers a coupon for 15% off their next purchase every time they bring in a bag of used clothing to any store. In Sweden, McDonald’s launched a campaign in which you receive a free burger or cheeseburger for every 10 empty beer cans you bring in; 40 cans gets you a Big Mac. In further promotion of the campaign, McDonald’s has even installed billboards that double as trash bags for those walking by to easily pull off and fill with all their cans. What do these campaigns and earth-friendly initiatives have in common? They’re all aimed at Millennials.

Having recently become the largest generation group in the country, Millennials are the ones shopping at fast fashion stores and they used to be McDonald’s key customer base, until recently. This month, McDonald’s reported their biggest decline since 2003 and also found that diners between the ages of 19 to 21 have gone down by 12.9% since the start of 2011. The fast food chain has admitted that its latest campaign was an attempt to reach out to the Millennial generation, specifically the young music festival attendees in Sweden.

But, the question remains: are these efforts to appeal to the Millennial generation through green initiatives working? Millennials may say that they place a high value on issues such as social responsibility and sustainability, but are they actually following through on that? Or maybe it’s the campaigns that need to change – are companies able to effectively communicate their green initiatives to their Millennial consumers? When it comes to these topics, what are their perceptions? When it comes down to making a purchase, do they really care about companies being committed to sustainability?

We will be exploring several of these questions in our upcoming webinar in which we do a deep dive comparing Millennial, Boomer and Gen X perceptions on the word Sustainability. If your brand is tackling the challenge of increasing the connection consumers have with sustainability, check out our latest webinar.

Are You Suffering From Ad Blindness?

Here at BuzzBack, we recently sent out a piece about messaging, titled “Is Your Messaging Getting Lost?” We talked about how we as consumers are exposed to thousands of messages every day, yet many of them seem invisible, unable to penetrate and become memorable. Having walked through Times Square this morning, I can attest to this fact. While I was “exposed to” some of the most expensive outdoor advertising in the world, I literally could not recall a single ad that I “saw.” Now my wife will tell you that I suffer from male pattern blindness , but the problem is larger than that. It’s a case of being exposed to so much that I can’t focus on one single ad.

The same problem can happen in store, in publications, or wherever marketers are trying to break through. An Online Media Daily article from last year stated that 60% of people are unable to recall the last display ad they saw, proving that the majority of consumers aren’t paying attention to those ads you worked so hard to make. So, what’s the solution?  When it comes down to finding a cure for ad blindness, there’s no easy answer. We’re unlikely to ever see fewer ads, so marketers must instead work to get the most out of their ads. The same article also found that only 2.8% of respondents thought that the ads they saw met their needs in either being able to respond to a question or provide more information, so maybe part of the solution lies in providing consumers with the answers they’re seeking to find.

What do you think? Does the cure for ad blindness lie in providing more information in ads? In creating an attention-grabbing ad that goes viral? Or maybe a little bit of both?

Like a Girl

As we noted in a previous post back in January, advertisements powered by feminism that expose gender inequalities underlying our everyday culture were on the rise in 2013, and definitely continue to have a significant effect on the industry and consumers in 2014. The most recent campaign currently receiving a lot of  attention is Lauren Greenfield’s “Like a Girl,” for Proctor & Gamble’s popular brand Always. At the start of the video, several men and women, as well as a young boy, demonstrate what they believe it means to run, throw and fight ‘like a girl,’ quickly revealing harmful cultural stereotypes. These actions are then juxtaposed against clips of tween girls who completed each task with immense passion, strength and self-assurance. The ad’s point? The idea that women and young girls are weak, foolish, and incapable is something taught by our culture and far from the reality of our world. While aiming to critique destructive gender stereotypes, the ad also prompts viewers to think of how these stereotypes negatively affect girls’ conceptualization of themselves and of their potential, especially during their pre-teen/teenage years as statistics show that self-esteem plummets in many girls during adolescence.

Although this advertisement was only released a couple weeks ago, a multitude of reposts, news articles and viewer reactions has helped it to quickly go viral. However, as I surveyed different pieces highlighting the ad, it was interesting to read the wide array of opinions being expressed; the most thought provoking being those commenting on the ad’s undeniable purpose to also increase sales. It is true that in today’s competitive world, many companies are using Corporate Social Responsibility as a differentiator, and with CSR making up as much as 40% of a company’s reputation (according to a 2011 Reputation Institute Pulse Survey), it’s clear to see why. By making that emotional connection with the consumer and showing them that they share the same values, consumers are attracted to the brand and are more likely to remain loyal customers. With this in mind, some wonder if the marketing intent diminishes the feminist message. While advertising cannot be separated from its intentions to promote consumer products, in my opinion, “Like a Girl” is much more than just a sales pitch. Through genius story-telling and emotional appeal, it is a brief snapshot of one of the many gender inequalities girls are faced with. Most importantly the video is a launching pad for people to have productive conversations about how we can make positive changes in our world that empower emerging generations of women.

Emotional Associations For The Emerging Conscious Consumer

Have you heard of Made To Matter? It’s an exclusive line of products that Target started placing in their end caps and throughout their regular aisles this spring. There are 17 brands participating in the program. Half of them will be introducing line extensions and the other half are new products. The brands participating in the program include: Annie’s Homegrown, Burt’s Bees, Chobani, Clif Bar & Company, Ella’s Kitchen, EVOL, Horizon Organic, Hyland’s, Kashi, Method, Plum Organics, Seventh Generation, SheaMoisture, Target’s Simply Balanced, Vita Coco, Yes To and Zarbee’s Naturals.

Target’s website states, “Now more than ever, Target guests are on the lookout for natural, organic and sustainable products that are better for them and their families.” At BuzzBack, we couldn’t agree more. For the past few years we’ve chosen different marketing terms to better understand consumers’ associations across the globe. Our three most recent terms have been Natural, Healthy and Sustainability.

Our findings show that brand messaging shouldn’t rely soley on fuctional product benefits and that companies who play in the global market need to understand the different nuances across cultures. In our Healthy study we suggest that linking functional benefits to the emotional associations of a healthy lifestyle can more deeply connect with consumers.

For example, an area that we found interesting was how respondents associate Healthy across age/life stages, from babies, children, teens, young adults to mature adults. Moving from the youngest to the oldest age groups, US, UK, and German responders revealed a gradual shift from nurturing/emotional associations to nutrition, wellness, and being physically healthy. When looking at associations for the same stages among Brazilians however, the focus is on nutrition and emotional connections for the younger groups, and then later shifting to a combination of nutrition, education (or work) and fitness in later life stages.

In Germany and Russia, the focus is on emotional connections for the younger age groups and shifts to associations with nutrition, fitness, and balance for the older age groups (young/mature adults). For China we see strong associations with physical health throughout all age stages, with emphasis on physical strength and fitness being more evident for the later stages in life.

To request a copy of the findings from Natural, Healthy and/or Sustainability, click here.


Taking the Long View: Millennials Won’t Be Broke Forever

Have you seen that great ad by Miller High Life that captures the reality of cash-strapped Millennial consumers? As one of those Millennials just starting out and trying to establish a life on my own while balancing student debt – I really could relate!  Miller Beer did a great job of capturing the angst of what it’s like going from being a broke college student to a broke Millennial.  Mainly, the reality of life after college doesn’t necessarily live up to the hype.  This clever campaign highlights the opportunity for brands to connect meaningfully with my cohort – both today and into the long term.

As newly launched “real” adults, Millennials are making purchase decisions to fill refrigerators, prepare meals, clean bathrooms, do laundry completely on their own for the first time, etc.  Our recent study on student debt shows that Millennials feel under tremendous pressure to manage their financial obligations and daily expenses, citing food, clothing, travel and entertainment as the top areas they cut back on to save money.  Brands in these categories need to focus on messaging that either positions them as a good value or a necessity that can’t be cut.

More importantly, brands need to connect on an emotional level so that as these consumers mature and become more affluent, the brand continues to be relevant.  Miller’s “we get you” approach is an effective one, as would be tug-on-the-heartstrings messaging that connect brands with former family life and home, hearkening to simpler times when Mom took care of (and paid for) everything.

For more information on our Impact of Student Debt survey, click here.

HoneyMaid’s Gamble on Love

I, like many other consumers, was touched and impressed by HoneyMaid’s recent viral Love video in response to backlash for its original Wholesome campaign. But of course, as a market researcher, it got me thinking about it all on a professional level, and I have to say, it took my admiration for the brand to another level. The question that came to my mind was “Does an ad always have to be liked by the masses in order to be successful or is it enough to just draw attention to the brand?” Ads that are polarizing are not new. And it takes certain guts for a brand to know on some level that they might tick some people off.

A campaign of this size and scope was probably tested, under typical Go/No Go metrics. So often, we’re asked to field message concepts to find the majority winner. And I would believe that HoneyMaid’s Wholesome concept probably didn’t bowl everyone over. But, in this case, someone at HoneyMaid made the call that the brand didn’t need the absolute majority in order to move forward. What a bold decision when we all know that the prevailing direction is to move forward with the highest number. But how often does one challenge this customary approach as the right course? Sometimes the brand is ready to take the messaging plunge, when the traditional research shows that not all of the consumer base is on board. When is it ok to test the boundaries, and alienate some consumers in order to create even deeper bonds with others?

For Honeymaid, the when was now, and the gamble paid off. And that’s the lesson for us in this by-the-numbers game we’ve chosen as a profession – the surface doesn’t always tell the story. That’s why it’s critical to get into the deeper, unconscious and nonverbalized emotions to understand the visceral – because that’s where the deeper consumer/brand connections happen. In Honeymaid’s case, the visceral was expressed so clearly in the flood of social media interaction from both sides of the controversy. And, in the end, more love was evoked by the brand’s portrayal of wholesome than not.