Viral Video: Music, Memory and a PR Lesson from the Assisted Living Industry

music and memory As we write this, several million people (and counting) have already seen the compelling and compassionate video on YouTube.

The larger story here is that this is also a case example and healthcare marketing and public relations lesson for a range of healthcare providers. Watch the video and let us know what you think.

A quick synopsis: This “viral video” is a clip from a documentary titled, Alive Inside. A 90-year old man responds remarkably to the therapeutic benefits of hearing music from a personalized list of songs of his youth. Bringing music to the elderly and infirm (via digital music technology) and thereby improving their quality of life is the mission of the non-profit Music & Memory organization. [Watch one of their clips here and see for yourself why it’s so compelling.]

The popular success of this video can be attributed to the engaging content, the well-told and transformative story, and the ability of the viewer to relate to someone they know and care about. There is no assurance that any given video will “go viral” and connect with thousands of viewers. But meaningful and compassionate content like this is primed for success. If this was a program at your hospital or long-term care facility, your own promotional efforts could easily attract the interest of reporters and editors in the local media.

In many ways, the public relations story here transcends the long-term care and assisted living industry. View it as a case study in medical marketing and public relations that can serve as a useful idea for a wide range of healthcare caregivers and facilities. And it is an inspiration for anyone who may want to launch his or her own program.

The setting for this video is a skilled nursing home, but it could be a story line for a hospital, hospice environment, rehabilitation center and many other facilities. For example, Music & Memory references programs for patients dealing with multiple sclerosis, cancer, nursing home depression, pain management, Alzheimer’s isolation, paralysis, rehabilitation, loneliness and others.

The Music & Memory website proves numerous resources and the considerable back-story about their work. They raise public awareness about the benefits of keeping engaged with a “rich personalized music environment regardless of physical, cognitive, or social condition.”

Online resources include videos for nursing home professionals, caregiver perspectives, information for friends and family, training sessions, and channels for the public to make monetary donations or give new or used iPod devices.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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