By Rob Kinslow, Sr. Strategist, Brand Communication, KHJ Brand Activation
It was a recent Saturday afternoon and we were at the Elks Lodge for my twin niece and nephew’s graduation party. It was also my first public outing since having a total hip replacement just six days before, and I was on crutches. Everyone was surprised to see me out and about so soon after major surgery, but I very much wanted to see my kin – and also show that the medical device expert in the family could handle a 7-inch incision and a mere two-plus hours of sawing, drilling and grinding bone under general anesthesia.
I hobbled over to the display table next to the bar to view Aaron and Sarah’s diplomas and various awards, when suddenly there was a man standing next to me who appeared to be just a little older. It was the bartender.
“Hey. I understand you just had a hip replacement,” he said. “I’m having mine done in a couple of weeks. Can I ask you a few questions?”
And so two guys who in an earlier time might have had a friendly argument over Beatles vs. Stones instead entered into a graphic, detailed discussion of modern hip surgery: Where did you have it done? Who was your surgeon? Was it minimally invasive? What kind approach will your guy use, anterior or posterior? Did yours use navigation? Did insurance cover that? Who manufactured your prosthesis? What’s it made of? How big was your incision? Was it worth it?
Meanwhile, my niece and nephew mingled with their high school friends and aunts, uncles and cousins. The teens tended to stand around in circles, talking, and when they weren’t, they were leaning against a wall or sitting, checking their smartphones.
I’m sure none of them was discussing a recent surgical procedure, but I’ll bet their exchanges were just as important to them as our conversation was to us. They are the Millennials, the Gen Yers, and they live in a world where social media is king and opinions matter. We elders sometimes view social media as a temporary phenomenon, but Millenials are merely doing online what the bartender and I were doing in person – consulting, comparing notes, empathizing and offering a point of view. Connecting.
Millennials are social, as humans have always been. But it’s a rare day you’ll find any of them at an Elks lodge, which along with other clubs is simply a very early version of today’s online communities. (Although I should point out that this particular Elks lodge has a Facebook page.) So it behooves us as medical marketers to learn how to engage Millennials, either as potential employees or customers. To speak to them, if not in person, then in a highly personalized way through social media.
How? Find out more by attending next Tuesday’s MassDevice Big 100 East and KHJ’s presentation, “Changing the game, one rule at a time.” You can replace a hip, but there’s no substitute for what you can learn by attending what promises to be a stellar evening.
This is the Brand and Beyond™ blog, a new resource for the medical device industry. Brand and Beyond™ is sponsored by KHJ, headquartered in Boston, MA. KHJ is a strategic brand activation firm that is passionate about helping people see and realize what’s possible for themselves and the world around them.