Amazing Things Are Happening Somewhere.


I’m putting the Future of Work series on pause for a day in order to report a timely example of how brand strategy can help the creative process in advertising and content.

Back when a brand planner for client North Shore-LIJ Health System, now Northwell Health, we had a well-healed competitor in New York City named NY Presbyterian Health System. Their ad agency was a shop called Munn Rabot.  My shop Welch Nehlen Groome was doing great strategic work for North Shore-LIJ and fine creative. Munn Rabot was doing fine strategic work for NY Presby and great creative.

The NY Presbyterian’s brand claim was “Amazing Things Are Happening Here.” North Shore’s was “Setting New Standards in Healthcare.” As ad agents, our jobs were to prove those two claims, through communications, every day. It was a dogfight.

Today, both healthcare systems have grown and thrived but their brand strategies have regressed. Northwell Health is still setting new standards to a degree, recently repurposing BiPAPP machines as ventilators, but ad agency Strawberry Frog is still reinventing the wheel and missing the opportunity. And I’m sure NY Presbyterian, like Mount Sinai, is delving into antibody plasma treatments for the coronavirus but they’re not sharing that or any other “amazing things,” because they are caught in the headlights of this heinous epidemic — and no longer using Munn Rabot.

If Northwell or NY Presbyterian had marketers at the helm ministering to their legacy brand strategies instead of pumping out one-off ads and web pages, they’d be ahead of the curve sharing the amazing/standards consumers expect of them.

(That said, props to all the heroes at all health org. doing the work no one else can do.)