Commentary

Health Lions Day One Reflection

Hermes, Gucci, Louis Vuitton. The anticipation builds as I get closer to the Palace. The sun is beating down, the boulevard is pulsing  and the crowd is building. Everyone is looking at the signs flapping in the wind --"Lions Health" Yes, Healthcare is now here. In Cannes. Taking its place next to Microsoft, ATT, Spotify and more.  An earned right. But what to expect? 

The first session of the first day set the stage. 

Jim Stengel, the ex CMO of P&G (a fun fact, he, along with his team from P&G, was the first client ever to attend Cannes), declared he spent years trying to bring purpose to toilet paper, stain sticks, diapers and more.  "Who, he asked , can bring more purpose to their work then those in Health? " Who, he asked, can provide information that can educate, inform, heal and help? . While inspiring, he also challenged the category. Are we there? 

Along with purpose are we bringing zeal? Do we need new standards? What is great? 

The space today is predictable and expected. Much like packaged good was. 

But big brand ideas are no different in this category. They are grounded in universal truths (and wearing the MRM//McCann Badge, I nodded emphatically being from the "Truth Well Told "Agency). And these truths need to be told through storytelling. And who has more important stories to tell then our patients, doctors, caregivers and more?

Yes we have regulatory  and legal issues. But push, be bold. 

"Be bold" a theme not only put forth by Jim Stengel, but implored by the next several sessions. 

A patient panel comprised of Diem Brown , Founder of MedGift and a 2 time Ovarian Cancer survivor,Renee Nicolas, Director of Corporate Communications at Livestrong and a Breast Cancer Survivor begged the audience to engage the new "VIP. " (very informed patient") 
Though they challenged the term "engaged patient". Of course, they ARE engaged. They are searching for relevant information. Not the information PUSHED to them, but the real, authentic information they need to get well. It is time to hit "GO".  Be social. Get social. It is the most effective, real time way to reach patients. Diem told the story of being at the hospital needing to drink barium. And could not get it down. She tweeted for advice .Within seconds, 1,000 people tweeted back experience and options. She held up her phone and asked the nurse for this other flavor available. Why she asked did she not know that information beforehand? 

Many in the audience from "Business" challenged the Social opportunity given all the issues. A healthy debate ensued, though clearly, all agreed, the time is now to be BOLD. 

We learned of ways others are being bold. Like, Sanofi's "Connected Nurses program" connecting 14 million nurses around the globe, over 130 countries and 4 organizations to spread the word. Of health, and wellness, and options, and outcomes. To those in need. Who have no other way to learn. Who share ideas, and motivate actions to ensure positive outcomes to all corners of the world.

Or like He Toykin Saraki, who is working to improve the health of woman and children around the globe. Her work in her own country of Nigeria is remarkable. Bringing education to a country who is marked with the highest level of maternal deaths in childbearing. Her work with the UN Secretary General's Every Woman Every Child Initiative with McCann Health  has created kits for expectant mothers to bring to the hospital. A kit, with contents, that are shocking.  A clamp for the umbilical cord. Disinfectant. A plastic mat for the delivery table. Not the new outfit to bring the baby home. Not the car seat. The raw, basic necessities that most take for granted. 

As I sat, listened and absorbed, I was proud to be part of this community. And I reminded myself of the words I speak at each presentation, of our mission at MRM//McCann in this space,   " to develop ideas that unite, science, technology and creativity to improve the human condition" 
I vowed to come back and inspire and remind our dedicated, talented team of the importance of the work we do. And the appreciation the patients, nurses, caregivers, physicians have when we get bold, push and do it right. 

As the day ends, it is time to reflect, connect with colleagues and of course, enjoy a glass of chilled rose.

Marcy Q. Samet is EVP-Global Chief Growth Officer of MRM//McCann



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