It's Not Brain Surgery: Connect With The World By Connecting With Those Around You

When was the last time you got into the brain of a researcher, or let one get into yours?

I had a chance to experience both of these things last week, and the result was an enriching, engaging experience It also got me thinking about ways health marketers can discover new avenues to extend their organization's brand.

First, a little background. Along with a few colleagues, I had the opportunity to visit a “brain bank” affiliated with a hospital client of ours. It was truly amazing.

We saw refrigerators that stored more than 8,000 brains donated for research. We saw where and how they are sliced up, dyed and inspected. We were permitted to hold a specimen (a picture of this experience I posted to Facebook as quickly as the available technology would allow).
I’ll never forget it. Of course, I can’t really say that with absolute certainty. Not after our host showed us slide after slide of examples of how the brain can damaged by a host of diseases and conditions over time.

Many of those magnified slides showed different dyes adhering to different proteins to reveal which condition affected a patient’s brain. The images were stunning, even beautiful. While watching this gallery of colorful research, I thought about Pinterest and what an amazing pinboard this collection of images could create.



That was just one of many epiphanies I had during our two-hour tour. Upon hearing the researchers mention in passing the amount of content and potential content they were sitting on (Powerpoint presentations, videos, images, white papers, infographics), we ended up in something of a verbal tennis match. For every disclosure they provided us about their research on Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and how the brain works, we were able to counter with options and tools for growing their online audience in strategic, meaningful ways.

Upon later reflection, and after hearing a few people yell “Ewwww, gross!” about some of what we learned, saw and touched, I started thinking about how many times this type of exchange could be replicated at pharma companies, hospitals and other institutions. 

Sometimes, marketers -- bogged down in analytics, strategic goals, branding strategies and press releases -- can lose sight of the amazing knowledge around them. I strongly recommend those who have research departments visit them on occasion and actively engage with both high-level and lower-level staff. 

Every day, marketing and media messaging is becoming more of an “all hands on deck” situation. Therefore, it makes sense for marketers to shake as many of those hands as possible in an effort to ensure that those voices have a place in your social marketing efforts.

You might find that such encounters help inspire future scientists, or extend the mission of your brand to audiences previously not on your radar.

As the researchers we visited with can attest to, you never know what you find until you take the time to dissect it and put it under the microscope. 

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