What do these entities all have in common?
Unless you looked at the tags for this post, you will probably be surprised to hear that they all have departments dedicated to behavioral science. From the U.K.’s national behavioural insights team, to the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, to our own Behavioral Services team, there are specific groups dedicated to figuring out what makes people tick. As someone who has always been interested in the quirks of human behavior, I am fascinated to see the variety of problems that are being solved with behavioral science research:
- Reducing energy consumption on a national scale
- Helping patients with chronic conditions to have a better healthcare experience
- Convincing people to pay their taxes
- Helping law enforcement agencies to better understand criminals
This is all to say, our task of using behavioral science to take over the world is almost complete. Mwahahahaha!(Read full post)
Happy Mediterranean Diet Month (little did I know this was another distinction for May)! I am celebrating this healthy holiday by marking the fact that the month started off to the heart-healthy news that tobacco farmers are switching crops to chickpeas, and this is happening not just locally but globally.
What sparked this switch from cancer-causing commodity to cultivating this wholesome foodstuff? It’s a one-two wellness-packed punch. A dramatic growth in hummus sales by Americans seeking healthy snacks coupled with simultaneously declining US cigarette sales shifted the agricultural balance.
Strong economic drivers notwithstanding, it’s great news that people are smoking less and developing a taste for this chickpea spread treat for all occasions. Of course, chickpeas are a traditional ingredient in favorite hummus dishes of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. But chickpeas have been grown and loved all over the world for thousands of years. Hummus recipes are a staple of any variation you find of the Mediterranean Diet, touted as one of the healthiest ways to eat.
So, let’s hear it for the humble chickpea or garbanzo or ceci, or whatever you prefer to call it. We long for irresistible rustic recipes, from soups to snacks, that rely on the chickpea. They are part of nearly every cuisine from what seems like all nationalities and ethnicities — Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Indian, Burmese, Italian, Jewish, Philippine, Mexican and more.
It’s hard to find a more versatile food. Hummus is the go-to snack item on any healthy eating tip list. Chickpeas are a vitamin-filled nutritional powerhouse of a food, serving as a healthy meat substitute and praised by heart-healthy cookbooks everywhere. They are legumes and have been called a nearly perfect food because of their many benefits, such as being:
- Low in fat
- High in protein
- High in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium
- Cholesterol free
- Full of beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber
Not to mention they have a delicious, nutty flavor.
Now there’s another reason to celebrate the chickpea. It’s a comforting thought that the that smoky chipotle hummus you’re about to savor is replacing the undeniably ill effects of smoking. It’s a win-win for lungs, cardiovascular systems and healthy eating habits everywhere.(Read full post)
Last week as I drove past the billboard comparing a generous insurance discount to “taking a bath in bacon,” I resisted losing my focus to the slimy, disquieting image conjuring in my mind. Eyes safely back on the road from that somewhat disturbing reverie; I pondered our burgeoning bacon obsession and had to concede that people are passionate about their bacon. It was definitely a clever, well-targeted ad.
As if to confirm my thoughts, seconds later the car radio blared about the delights of a famed triple bacon cheeseburger. Okay, my stomach turned a little queasy at that, but bacon’s addictive qualities cannot be disputed. It is, after all, considered the gateway meat for vegetarians. Another radio spot from a bacon producer touts its superior pork products, while disavowing any connection with the likes of bacon-flavored or scented pretenders such as:
- Lip balm
- Dog treats
- Air fresheners (is fresheners the right word?)
- Beauty products
- Candy (the exception here may be chocolate covered bacon)
That those products exist is testament to the growing juggernaut bacon has on our senses and sense of humor. Unless it’s wrapped in bacon, why bother?
Wake Up and Smell the Bacon
A morning talk show recently featured a bacon-flavored latte. And then there’s the ever-popular maple bacon ice cream and 1,700-calorie peanut butter and bacon milkshakes. There’s even a spread called Baconnaise. You name it, it’s got bacon.
But, I fear something’s shifted since the days of the lighthearted saying “everything’s better with bacon” — except our health, was the underlying irony. Not in Bacon Nation, where what you see is what you get. Somewhere along the line, people got serious about bacon, and one 105-year-old woman claims it’s the secret to a long happy life.
So, I wasn’t surprised recently when my bacon-fanatic friends hadn’t heard (read: selectively ignored) the latest in a series of studies that reiterate what Mom told us about bacon being a “sometimes food.” This study, conducted by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) linking processed meat consumption to early death however, went further. It demonstrated a 13% higher risk of death caused directly from eating too much of the tasty meats we love.
Will this make us trade in our Baconators for baked chicken? Cure our insatiable appetite for cured meats? Shift our bacon-frenzied behavior? Dampen our demand for hot dogs or sausage? Drive us to choose veggie subs over double deli specials?
If my friend’s sincere reply is any gauge, not too soon. “I’d rather die happy.”
Heart disease and type 2 diabetes risk capture our attention for a time. But, as we know, information isn’t enough to change behavior. Our good intentions seem to go fashizzle at the first whiff of that tantalizing sizzle. Moderation? Up in a puff of irresistible hickory-infused smoke.(Read full post)
“By focusing on changing behaviors, we deliver better outcomes and better value for brands.” Taken from www.micromass.com/about.php
What does changing behaviors and delivering better outcomes have to do with Friday Summer Hours? Research shows that when people return from vacation or take time away from work they come back re-energized, more productive, and happier, healthier workers. MicroMass employs AMAZING people who contribute in an individual and unique way to our success. That can take a lot of a person. So we have decided to do something about that.
Starting Friday, May 24th through Friday, August 30th MicroMass will be providing Friday Summer Hours to all employees by closing the office at 3:00. That doesn’t mean our client work will go undone or that our employees will not be accessible…what it means is that we are doing all we can to ensure our employees have a balance between work and FUN (but this work is fun… most of the time).
This is unheard of to some of our new employees who have come from organizations that didn’t offer this nice perk. Tenured employees who have experienced the summer hours in previous years are excited and grateful that MicroMass is keeping the tradition alive!
We promise to continue our focus on changing behaviors to deliver better outcomes….we do our best thinking at the beach.(Read full post)
I recently read report by Accenture Interactive, called “Turbulence for the CMO,” that I found very interesting. The report says that CMOs know they must fully embrace new technology. If not, they will fail. That seems to be clear and not just for marketing, but the study also points out that digital is a marketer’s biggest weakness. That is a tough place to be as digital technology is only going to accelerate.
Let’s break down the report:
CMOs capitalize on five capabilities to improve their company’s performance: offering innovation, customer analytics, digital orientation, customer engagement and marketing operations. Of these digital orientation has the greatest performance gap – ironically when this capability is of upmost importance. While most CMOs recognize that an enterprise digital focus is needed along with the ability to engage customers through digital channels, only 7% say their digital enterprise efforts and only 13% believe their channel engagement performance are leading edge.
Their biggest barriers are inefficient business practices and lack of funding, which results from an unclear digital strategy across the enterprise and tight budgets. Underlying all of this is the explosion of channels in which customers engage. This channel explosion has forced CMOs to turn to a large mix of agencies and alliance partners to help them. In fact, between 45% and 75% of marketing activities are managed by digital agencies, specialized agencies and marketing service providers. What really hurts the CMO is that there is no clear strategic leader among the external partners, forcing CMOs to default to inefficient internal process to create the coos-agency strategy.
So what is a CMO to do? First, fundamentally change the marketing operating model to improve innovation and become more digitally focused. Second, build new skills internally to improve efficiency, agility and responsiveness. Third, align with the right set of partners that work collaboratively to help the CMO make sense of the complexity of the marketplace by “improving their levels of execution and delivery and by providing a broader set of capabilities and deeper integration across the agency ecosystem.” And fourth, take the lead in driving digital orientation throughout the enterprise.
The report ends with a statement: “Digital is the marketing game changer.”
That is something we all should embrace.(Read full post)
Recall the last time you took your ailing body into the doctor’s office. If you’re anything like me, as soon as you walk through those doors you are convinced that when you leave you will be different, better, and will have a name to call this yucky feeling you feel. Your thoughts are calmed when your name is called because you realize you are on the road to recovery.
Most physicians want to get you on the road to recovery, but it is the route they use that can be alarming. There’s this idea of cookbook medicine in which the physician adheres to a strict and logical set of guidelines. For every symptom or buzz word you utter, there is a corresponding test (based upon medical algorithms) to help figure out what you have or don’t have and will ultimately “fix” you. It is understandable that cookbook medicine is used to help standardize medical care and ensure conditions aren’t overlooked, but what if it is overused?
I have this lingering feeling that we are all individuals. While some cases are what they call textbook, formulaic care should never be the only option. Shouldn’t these guidelines “guide” the physician and not substitute for the thousands of hard working hours they have put into their medical education?
This is where the book “When Doctors Don’t Listen” comes into handy. It was written by emergency rooms physicians, Dr. Leana Wen and Dr. Josh Kosowsky, with the purpose of providing a practical guide to avoiding misdiagnosis and unnecessary tests. It encourages patient engagement and reinforces the idea of patient/physician partnership, with both parties actively participating in the healthcare process.
Books like these speak to the heart of our mission here at MicroMass. It emphasizes the fact that patients are people. We each deserve to have care that is personal to our needs, and care that takes into consideration everything that makes us who we are. Each patient deserves to be approached as a person, not a memorized scenario. Despite barriers, if both the patient and doctor put their hand on the steering wheel, they can drive the patient in the right direction, together. The best way to drive down the road of recovery is an “all hands in” approach. So the next time you are awaiting your name to be call in the doctor’s office, don’t forget to take your seat, where you can reach the steering wheel.(Read full post)
On Saturday May 4th, Diabetes Sisters hosted their 3rd annual orange: will Diabetes Awareness Walk. Several folks from MMC joined hundreds of men and women in this walk around downtown Raleigh.
Diabetes Sisters is changing lives – reaching over 30,000 women each year through amazing offerings like the Weekend for Women Conference and local PODS meetups – helping women get the support and education they need to cope and live their lives to the fullest.
MicroMass has partnered with Diabetes Sisters for several years now (including the development of the orange: will campaign), and we are so incredibly proud of Founder, Brandy Barnes, and honored to support an organization that is changing lives for the better.(Read full post)
It’s springtime!! Well, it certainly is if the amount of pollen in the air is any indication. I love spring because it feels like a time for renewal, time for all of us to wake up (literally and figuratively) from winter and get moving. Out with the old and in with the new!
While the term “spring cleaning” is defined as the act or process of doing a thorough cleaning of a place, what about looking at “spring cleaning” through a health lens? While you’re cleaning those carpets and organizing that garage, you can do duel duty by “spring cleaning” your health (and the health of your family) as well!
Cooking Light has some good tips for spring cleaning your diet! What a great time to revamp those recipes with an abundance of in-season fruits and veggies and stepping away from processed foods and empty calories!! Let’s be honest, is there anything better than home grown tomatoes and basil from the garden (yours or your neighbors) paired with mozzarella and drizzled with a little olive oil?
What about being environmentally conscious about your cleaning process? Reader’s Digest has 12 tips for health-friendly spring cleaning including non-toxic alternatives to traditional heavy-duty cleaning.
Since you’re taking care of your body and your house, why not also do a little spring cleaning of some other parts of your life as well.
At the end of the day, you know yourself the best, certainly more than any article does. Consider the emergence of spring as an opportunity to take an inventory of the things you think about your health, fitness, body, mind and soul. However “spring cleaning” translates to you, we here at MicroMass Communications wish you a safe and healthy spring season!(Read full post)
In the 80’s, it was desktop publishing.
In the 90’s, it became more web-based.
In the last decade, there’s been a layer of social networking to help us share and collaborate.
Now, we have THE CREATIVE CLOUD.
Back in 1992, I worked with a photographer from Asheville, John Warner. He was beta testing a program called Adobe Photoshop. We wondered if this will ever catch on. And boy did it ever catch on. Now Adobe is introducing THE CREATIVE CLOUD. Watch this video and learn how things have changed for Adobe. No more DVDs. Pull right from the cloud straight to your hard drive.
Create. Publish. Share. (All seamlessly.)
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/cs6-creative-cloud-feature-tour-for-video/-introducing-adobe-creative-cloud/(Read full post)
“If you’re looking for a job, try another agency. If you’re looking for a place where passion rules and the unexpected is expected—we’re it. You in?”
This is what you see when you land on our website via the “jobs” link but is it something that we really embrace as MicroMass-ers? Aside from our beautiful faces and our blurb that tells you a little bit about each us, we are individuals that have chosen to belong to a larger group with a unified purpose. WE want to matter because our work matters. As a whole we are focused on patient outcomes and understanding why people do what they do so that we can assist in facilitating change.
I have been in human resources for over 20 years……ouch…… while Kim is still in her 20’s and has recently joined the MicroMass family. When we were asked to contribute to this blog, the question we asked ourselves is “what insights can we share”. So, Kim and I decided to share what makes us different as an employer but from an employee perspective.
MicroMass has evolved over the years and our culture along with it. Everyone that is here matters, every day. Sure there are good days and bad days but overall this is a great place to be. We have fought very hard to establish our own “rules of engagement” and “best practices” to ensure that employees are valued and that each contribution is acknowledged. This begins the moment you walk in our door to interview.
We don’t want people that just want a job. We want people that want to be a part of something amazing. Sure, the paycheck is great, but there has to be more. Kim transitioned away from an established career to change industries because she wanted to be a part of something. She wanted her work to matter and it does. Kim is our Agency Coordinator and the first face you see when you come off the elevator. In asking for feedback after her interview, Kim told me she wanted to be here. You can ask her yourself, and she will tell you that the atmosphere is inviting, you feel comfortable as soon as you walk in and everyone is welcoming.
Back to the original question, “Is it a job or career”…..it is a career that you pursue with passion knowing that what you do matters. Period.(Read full post)