Thoughts About Election Day: A Few Words From Our CEO Jeff Pruitt

As Election Day nears, I’ve been reflecting on the state of our country. I believe the tone used in many Presidential, Senate, and Congressional debates, commercials and campaign ads has greatly contributed to the polarization and unrest we’re experiencing today.


I’ve been thinking about what happens after next Tuesday. Well, it is 2020…. and I would not be surprised if we step into Wednesday without a clear Presidential winner, further inflaming unrest.


So, what can we or should we do about? There is one answer to that question: 




It is the only way to ensure your voice is counted and heard. Study the candidates, issues and local propositions and take time off to get to the polls. Then consider shifting your focus back to taking care of yourself. What happens after you’ve bubbled in your choices and cast your ballot is out of your control.   

"What happens after you've bubbled in your choices and cast your ballot is out of your control."

For the good of our country, I hope we see a clear victor, regardless of party. But I am mentally preparing for that to be uncertain, at least for a short time. Whatever happens, I can only action myself towards what serves me and allows me to be at my best. I have been meditating, quieting my mind and limiting my news intake. If I feel compelled to read or listen to news, I try to diversify where I get it from. I am choosing to guard my mind and being selective about what I absorb.


I believe nothing in life is a fixed state. I have faith in our democracy long-term and believe we will find a way out of this heightened polarization.  


One final thing: If nothing else, it is important to remember that we are all Americans. That narrative is not coming across as strong as it should.  As Tallwavers, we have always treated our differences as an asset. We have shown empathy towards each other, embraced new ideas and celebrated all backgrounds. Let us continue to draw on our strengths during this time and support one another unwaveringly.

"If nothing else, it is important to remember that we are all Americans."

Go vote. Continue to breathe. Guard your mind. And stay strong for those around you.





Real People Told Us What They Want From Healthcare in 2021

Despite good intentions, healthcare has been a point of contention for those who work in it and those who receive it far before the pandemic knocked down our doors. Through numerous stakeholder interviews, we’ve seen, heard, and felt this first hand. Practitioners and patients often believe that healthcare no longer lives up to its ideals of putting and serving humans first – which is precisely the kind of business we’re in. 


But the question remains: What do we do and how should it change? There’s no time like the present and zero time to waste. Organizations in every marketplace, especially healthcare, must answer the call to evolve. Despite challenges, we believe the way forward is to return to serving the patient first by rethinking and redesigning experiences that can ultimately help rebuild trust.  All internal and external customer experiences must be evaluated with the organization’s core values in mind or risk being left behind as the new normal (namely Telehealth, concierge medicine and digital therapeutic offerings) stakes its claim.

“The churn and burn business of medicine is doomed to fail us all.”

Where Do We Start?

The answer to this question always lies in the same place: In the hands of the people to whom it impacts the most. 


So to kick-off our solution mapping journey, we asked patients and practitioners to share what pain points of the industry curtail their customer loyalty and experience the most. After just a few hours, we had hundreds of responses from both sides of the aisle, and that’s not all that surprising. Health is a crucial corner of interest for every human being (and every living thing) on this planet.

While some frustrations were unique to the individual, most were ubiquitous. Here is a summary of what we heard:

From the patient perspective: 

  • Patients don’t believe their time or business is valued
  • They consistently feel tricked and lied to for monetary gain
  • They feel judged for their appearance, sexuality, lifestyle, or lack of knowledge 
  • They feel like a means to an end when it comes to monthly quotas – not seen, heard, and appreciated as humans
  • They worry they’re misdiagnosed for time’s sake and ultimately uncared for
  • They feel overwhelmed by complexities involved in navigating health solutions and don’t know who to turn to or trust
  • They feel easily forgotten and largely unimportant 

“I feel like the healthcare system is up to me to figure out solo. For example, if I never went to a doctor again, no one would care. No one would even know.”

From the practitioner’s perspective: 

  • They feel they aren’t given enough time in the day to provide patients with the care they want to give
  • They worry the educational materials they’re provided to share with patients is too general and doesn’t actually deliver the information that’s needed
  • They feel overlooked when important organizational decisions are made that will inevitably impact the their work
  • They don’t believe enough functional and progressive options for patient communication are available
  • They don’t feel they’re given proper tools to enable and empower patients to ask the right questions in tumultuous situations
  • They believe the world quickly and technologically advanced, but the way health is provided is behind

If you look for patterns or trends in the concerns we received, you’ll notice that the challenges patients and practitioners reported circulate around the way their experiences with healthcare made or make them feel. Healthcare patients and practitioners alike are craving more connection, understanding, and transparency, and feel they’re being let down at nearly every turn. 



But does it have to stay that way? Of course it doesn’t. The healthcare industry is just suffering from a bad customer experience problem – and luckily, we can change that.

Also read: Our Unique Approach to Successful Businesses

What To Do Next

We believe that true innovation happens when you solve human needs first, business needs second, and that all experiences (which encompasses every workflow, process, and deliverable!) should be crafted with intention and care. Even though the underpinnings of the healthcare system and healthcare organizations are complex, to a patient, it’s all about their own personal end to end experience. 


By implementing data- and technology-driven processes that enable practitioners to meet patients where they are, you can begin to craft customer experiences internally and externally (remember, your employees are customers, too) that increase overall satisfaction and loyalty, and in turn make positive impacts to your bottom line.

Here are just a few approaches to keep in mind: 

Do Your Research

Execute in-depth market research and interviews to redefine audience personas, pain points, competitors, and growth opportunities in the given industry. Using these qualitative and quantitative insights, come up with strategies to reach your ideal demographic more often and improve retention and engagement throughout the entire patient lifecycle. Pro tip: Look to other industries for innovative ideas and solutions.

Figure Out Where You’re Falling Short

Compile data related to search results and social conversations to identify when, where, how and why your organization is showing up the way it is. Uncovering your audience’s motivations and behaviors – what matters most to them, what they actively search for, how they make key decisions – will help inform new and improved strategies to reach, acquire and engage more of your core and adjacent audiences. Let these learnings not only improve reach, but differentiate your organization’s identity, offerings, and voice. 

Discover the Root Cause

Identify communication and decision-making breakdowns that impact the customer experiences for patients and practitioners alike. Then  explore and implement solutions to mend bridges and fill those efficiency-barrier gaps. 

Strategize New Ways of Operating & What They Would Entail

Reimagine business operations through a streamlined lens exploring options for subscription models, virtual care (also known as telehealth), easy-pay and other technology-driven practices that lend to a more functional customer experience.

Develop & Implement New Products

Based on your previous learnings, develop and implement new telehealth offerings, scheduling apps, and A.I. tools focused on providing general health information, mental health assistance, patient-practitioner connection, and nutrition advice related to managing chronic diseases from a whole-person perspective.

Lean Into Digital Content

Ensure your website is structurally sound through a content and SEO strategy that provides cleaner data results and enables you to grow faster. This strategic planning will build on itself, reducing the need for continued high dollar investments in other channels like paid search. Pro tip: Don’t forget that the words you use and how you use them on your website impacts patient acquisition and retainment, too.

Evaluate Your Digital User Experiences

Evaluate and redesign external customer mobile and web experiences for easy navigation, clear communication, customized patient portals and visual differentiation and identity. Simultaneously, implement new internal data-focused dashboards to cut through bureaucracy and siloes, enable cross-functional collaboration and inform decision-making and provide real-time updates related to monthly, quarterly or yearly goals. 

Find Progressive Ways to Connect Patients & Practitioners 

Use social media and technology to increase transparency via digital events, educational seminars, interactive practitioner profiles, video live streams, 24-hour question portals, and more. 

“I want to see what kind of person you are. What are your hobbies and what makes you unique? I want to know these things so I can decide whether or not I think we are going to jive.”

Also read: How Successful Companies Adapted Their Customer Experiences When COVID Hit

The Bottom Line

Healthcare is innately and uniquely personal to each individual. From the moment each of us are born, we must interact with it in some way. But just because healthcare is organically woven into the fabric of our lives doesn’t render it safe from evolutionary needs. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Now more than ever, healthcare needs to meet humans where they are which means crafting experiences and related processes in transparent, uncomplicated and truly thoughtful ways. Doing this isn’t easy – it requires a lot of work – but the final end product drives more meaningful results for everyone and everything (including the bottom line) involved. 


By choosing the road less traveled to innovate and solve for the root cause, healthcare organizations will set themselves apart and ultimately contribute to enriching the lives of the patients, employees and communities they serve – just as they initially set out to do. 


So, are you ready to get to work? 

Be the change you want to see. Tallwave can help you reimagine the future and holistically transform. Contact us now.



*Stats pulled from a report compiled & published by Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease: Vision For a Healthier Future


How a Powerful Brand Works as Insurance


COVID-19 may be the business disruption on everyone’s mind today. But business disruptions can and have occurred for many reasons, including cataclysmic weather events, terrorist actions, major economic setbacks/recessions and many more. When you think about the past couple of decades, events like these come along once every few years. Whatever the curve balls thrown at your business, there’s always one thing that can help you shake off disruption. And that’s a strong brand.


A powerful brand creates safety, giving customers a sense of consistency and security in times of uncertainty. A strong brand also creates loyalty, allowing businesses to pivot to new products and services when the circumstances warrant it. The best brands are able to do this simply because what their customers are buying is not the product, but the actual brand itself.

Nearly a century’s worth of brand momentum puts the ‘+’ in Disney+.

Since its origins in 1923, The Walt Disney Company has been building powerful emotional connections with multiple generations of consumers. In March 2018, Disney undertook a strategic reorganization and created a Direct-to-Consumer division in anticipation of integrating 21st Century Fox’s assets. One of the first new products to be announced by the division was the OTT streaming service Disney+.


Such was the level of anticipation for the new service, Disney+ was the top trending Google search term in 2019 in the US. The service launched on November 12, 2019 and by the end of the year had already achieved 26.5 million subscribers. By April, Disney+ had reached 50 million paid subscribers, and 60.5 million subscribers as of August 4, 2020 –– less than nine months after its launch. To understand the scale of this accomplishment, consider it took Netflix nearly 10 years to achieve 60 million subscribers.


On first glance you may think, of course, Disney+ would be this successful. But there are countless examples where businesses tried to make a similar jump with brand extensions and fell flat. Colgate Dinner Entrees, Cosmopolitan Yogurt and Harley Davidson After Shave are just a few memorable examples. The reason we believe Disney was able to do it so gracefully was due to their remarkable brand affinity.

Starbucks serves up outstanding experiences and OK coffee.

In 1989, author Ray Oldenburg coined the phrase ‘The Third Place’ in his influential book The Great Good Place. The notion of the third place — with home being the first place and work the second — was enthusiastically embraced by then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz who made sure his fast growing coffee chain offered an attractive and comfortable environment in which to sit, use the wi-fi to surf the web, talk on the phone, get a little work done and drink a coffee or two.


Schultz didn’t exactly blaze the trail of the notion of the third place; arguably the British created the original third place with their public houses or pubs hundreds of years earlier. He didn’t have the best coffee either — Consumer Reports ranked the coffee at Dunkin Donuts both better and cheaper than Starbucks. But what Schultz and his team built was a world-class experience that consumers loved,  embraced and returned to time and again.


As was the case with the Disney example above, it wasn’t about the product, unless you define the product as the entire experience. But it’s this experience that has given the Starbucks brand permission to broaden their offerings from coffee and tea to sandwiches, wraps, salads and other food options and even beer and wine in the evening at some locations that include stages to become live music venues.

Patagonia resonates with its audience through shared values. 

Patagonia, a manufacturer of upscale outdoor clothing, is known for its various environmental sustainability efforts. The company has been known to promote wearing used clothing and in its 2011 Holiday campaign even asked consumers to think twice before buying its products. In spite of what appears to be an anti-marketing effort, the company saw its revenues grow about 30% to $543 million in the following year. In 2019, the company achieved over $1 billion in sales.


Patagonia has built a strong emotional and tribal connection to its customers which not only protects the brand but also allows it to succeed even as it adopts an alternative course to what most manufacturers would consider the established best practice. For example, Patagonia has led an effort to expand the useful life of its products, an effort that is at odds with the planned obsolescence approach of most manufacturers. It seems the company’s environmentally friendly efforts have resonated with the sort of consumer it targets. More of these people are buying Patagonia products as they see the company’s long-lasting wares as a way to demonstrate and express their values.

“Don’t Buy This Jacket.” 

With consumers becoming more frugal during the Great Recession and its aftermath, they were less inclined to buy on impulse and tended to shop more for value. Consumers were becoming more interested in goods that lasted a long time, and Patagonia saw an opportunity there to promote its own long-lasting wares. 


The marketing strategy led to the company’s running an advertisement during the 2011 Thanksgiving season that read “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” The advertisement talked about the cost to the environment of one of the company’s best-selling fleece jackets, asked consumers to reconsider before buying the product, and instead opt for a used Patagonia product. 


What resonates with Patagonia customers is that the company doesn’t just talk the environmental talk. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, an accomplished rock climber, also backs up the company’s talk with its actions. The company donates a portion of its revenue to environmental causes and uses recycled, “Fair Trade” certified, and organic material in its clothing. It also uses solar energy at its company headquarters in Ventura, Calif., and it is one of the founders of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a group of companies that has promised to reduce its environmental footprint.


The company’s message has resonated with the sort of environmentally conscious and upscale consumers that Patagonia sees as its target audience. These sorts of consumers like the idea of buying a product that is made by an environmentally friendly company in an environmentally friendly manner.

World War II was just the beginning of the battle for Jeep, one of America’s most admired brands.

Jeep’s early history and its role during World War II is the stuff of legend. On the battlefield, it was fast, nimble and tough and could handle nearly any terrain. It could ford rivers and traverse lakes. But even as Jeep became hugely popular in the post war period, the brand was held back by a succession of weak corporate owners. From Willys to Kaiser to AMC to Chrysler, each corporate entity that acquired Jeep subsequently failed and some entered into bankruptcy — for reasons that had nothing whatsoever to do with Jeep.


It was the strength of the Jeep brand that ensured it prospered even while a succession of corporate parents did not. It was Jeep that pioneered the development of the enormously popular SUV category which is a large part of what attracted former owner Chrysler and current owner Fiat S.p.A. to acquire the brand.


It speaks to the enormous power and affection that exists for the Jeep brand that it can survive that many missteps and changes in ownership. For 80 years now, Jeep has made its mission to provide “Vehicles enabling life’s extraordinary journeys.” And fulfilling that mission has taken the brand on an extraordinary journey of its own.


Ready to build a strong, resilient brand for your company?


If you’d like to protect your business from business disruptions and stagnation by building a strong brand that resonates with your customers and employees, give Tallwave a call. We’d love to discuss your objectives and show you how we’ve helped other brands prepare for and respond to changing circumstances in their business and marketplace.

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