SHIFT Communications experts discuss all things healthcare and media.

Healthcare Case Study: Targeted Storytelling is the Stuff of Dreams

By Catherine Allen (@catherineallen) and Kate Binette (@katebinette)

As communications pros, we spend our days brainstorming and searching for the best ways to tell our clients’ stories.  Whether B2B technology or consumer-facing products, we know that creating personal connections with reporters, bloggers and consumers allows us to effectively and honestly demonstrate how the brands we represent can impact their lives.

There are few things more personal than how we sleep.  Yet in the triad of “diet, exercise and sleep,” the latter is too rarely mentioned by health pundits.  Nearly 65 million Americans experience sleep problems every night – that’s nearly 65 million people who aren’t feeling their best and therefore aren’t performing to their peak potential every day.  Enter Zeo.

Zeo Sleep Manager MobileWhen SHIFT was tasked with launching the second iteration of their Sleep Manager product line, a mobile application with an accompanying lightweight, wireless headband that allows users to track and manage their sleep, we were informed that Zeo’s goal was not just to sell products, but to create a “Sleep Revolution.”  (No pressure.)

The best way to do this?  Rouse the citizenry! Make them aware (and riled up) about their sleep problems!

We quickly worked to get the product in the hands of overtired and overworked reporters and bloggers to create “Personal Sleep Epiphanies” across the media spectrum.  Zeo aimed to convince even the skeptical and unaware that sleep has significant implications on their overall health and performance, from the gym to the boardroom to the writers’ bullpen.

In addition to securing posts announcing Zeo’s new product, the team put Sleep Managers in the hands of the media and encouraged them to spend just one week tracking their sleep.  Most were hooked – and shocked at how much Tender Loving Care their sleep needed.  Customized outreach led to us digging deep to find out what made each individual reporter and blogger relate to the importance of sleep.  I am generalizing, but, maybe jocks wanted to perform better on the softball and soccer fields; perhaps mombloggers wanted to find ways to fit in more nap time; perhaps professional writers wanted to make their deadlines without having to over-caffeinate; etc.  Targeted Storytelling helped us push beyond mere product reviews to stir a sleep revolution.

Zeo announced its Sleep Manager Mobile product at the end of September 2011, and by early 2012, the sleep movement was in full effect.  Personal sleep epiphanies in publications like Town & Country and O, The Oprah Magazine and on a little tv show called Good Morning America, as well as customer testimonials on Facebook, Twitter and on the Zeo forum further proved that consumers are finally giving their sleep the love it deserves.

Best of all, sales of Zeo products in the last three months of 2011 equaled the Company’s total sales since its initial launch, and sales in Q4 of 2011 were 10 times more than in Q4 of 2010.

Have I mentioned yet that Zeo didn’t spend a red cent on advertising?  Their success was a direct result of PR, Social Media and ongoing customer relations efforts.

We continue to get great feedback on our approach and on the Zeo products, leading me to think they have a bright future in the exploding Connected Health movement.  Keep your eye on them, folks – and until then, sweet dreams.

DISCLOSURE: SHIFT Communications is Zeo’s agency of record.

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