Archives for Marketing and Branding
The Sunflower, Yellow and Hope: Rebranding to Destigmatize Depression One Lowe’s Mood-lite at a Time
I have been missing quite a bit lately, and figured it was about time I gave a reason for my disappearance. It isn't that I don't love writing about my experience with ADHD -- I do. It's therapeautic and I love talking to all of you and hearing your stories and suggestions. I have been MIA and have not written, quite frankly, because of all of the wonderful things added to my schedule and my ADHD. I embarked on a journey of my dreams in working to create a better world for all, including those with mental health issues, and simply have not found the ability to focus to sit down and reach out. My apologies! I thought first I would fill you in on my progress as it relates so very well to all of us in many ways. I started the nonprofit iFred seven years ago, by default, but it has grown to be a strong passion of mine as I continue to learn the truths about depression and the lack of resources available. I launched a national cause marketing campaign through my for-profit company, the Mood-factory, in Lowe's stores nationwide, where iFred earns $0.25 of each light bulb sold for iFred, the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression. I started a company eight years ago to develop a product line of light bulbs based on how colors affect moods and named them Mood-lites. Researchers have shown that colors have an affect on moods, so I took the theory and applied it to lighting. These lights are NOT meant to treat any depression, but function as an additional way to create a certain mood in a room as you would with colored pillows, art and wall colors.
It is so amazing how organizations are popping up all over the world helping us join forces to tackle mental health diseases. I was privileged enough to speak in Athens, Greece a few years ago about iFred's rebranding depression work, and learned from countries around the world just how important it is we work together to solve our greatest challenges. I've just recently been asked to join their advisory board, and continue to be amazed and impressed by the work of all throughout the world. It was celebrated across the U.S. when we were able to get mental health parity law passed. I don't by any means intend to minimize this work - but do we realize that what we accomplished was to treat the brain in a similar fashion to the heart, liver, and intestines? Should we really have to fight that hard for that? Those that were involved in the legislation understand the intense work, dedication, and challenge this simple piece of legislation involved - and unfortunately the rest of the world is so far behind us in many different ways.
I'm sure just reading that title incited strong reaction in most people. They either love the companies, or hate them. For some reason I think companies working to sell drugs to fix the brain have the worst reputation of all - and to this day I can not figure out why. Let's face it, we can find fault in anything. It is pretty easy to do, and it is usually our first line of defense when we fear something. I think probably all of our biggest fear is the dark side of the brain, and unfortunately until we are all enlightened, we will all have a dark side to varying degrees.
I don't know how to say it any other way; society is overwhelming me. My brain and head has been spinning for weeks trying to get my hands around the problem, but it's so big. As I review the changes in the U.S. economy, technology, and communication, it makes my ADHD spin. I run a for profit company (technically) and manufacture light bulbs. When I attempted to get them manufactured in the U.S., I couldn't find anyone willing to do it. Everything was done in China or Mexico.
This topic has been really bothering me this week, primarily because of the story of the potential book burning in Florida that caused riots and outrage all across the world this past weekend. CNN's behavior, in one way, reminded me of the downfall in my ADHD in that I get fired up about something, get out there talking about it, and don't always think through the consequences of my actions. This impulsivity was really highlighted first with the balloon boy when I was trying to get a story published on depression but couldn't get word in because he was all over the screens. It literally shocked me that there was high drama about the balloon boy event, but it didn't have such catastrophic consequences. This weekend's coverage did.
Art Therapy is becoming widely used and accepted as an alternate form of treatment for depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It can be a truly wonderful modality, yet I often become disturbed when seeing some of the images that people create when they are depressed. There is so much focus on the darkness of depression, as opposed to the brilliance we obtain from such depth of emotion. I found research that helps explain why, and how if we consciously create positive art it can create an even more intense improvement on stress, tension, depression, and the anxiety that often accompanies ADHD. Art therapy is a great tool for those with ADHD, as it allows a person to express feelings, emotions, and energy through the hands and it releases energy. Anytime ADHDers can do something free flowing and unstructured is wonderful, and art is a really fantastic way. I've read a lot about art therapy, but few have touched on the importance of creating something positive with that energy.
You might not first understand how it is possible someone with ADD / ADHD is brilliant. On the outside they may look to be a mess. They might show up late for meetings, lose their keys, forget your name, not catch a detail or jump from one subject to the next without you following. Working with them can be the most frustrating experience at times. Lucky for you, those with ADHD are also the most likely to come up with your next product line, provide a new solution to your customer service issue, think of a new angle on a legal case, introduce innovative laws that address multiple parties, or come up with an exciting PR campaign. The number of ideas people with ADHD have, and provide when their skills are appreciated and utilized, is simply staggering.
I am considered a marketing 'expert', so I've spent a lot of time studying, (re)branding and marketing products and people. When I first started the nonprofit iFred, my idea was to rebrand the disease state (depression) into something that focused on the positive, hopeful, joyous state that could be reached once you recognize and treat depression. It seemed pretty obvious to me that if we portray depression or other mental issues as 'hopeless, depressing, and disturbing,' we are not going to get much positive attention or resources.
If you are not familiar with Dr. Amen, he has done quite extensive work on ADHD / ADD and the brain. He has eight clinics, and an extensive collection of scans that can show how different brains look using SPECT imaging. It is truly fascinating. There are many critics of his work (as with anyone's work) but I believe it is pioneering. The more we are able to capture images in the brain / determine the differences between a healthy brain and an unhealthy brain, the sooner people will understand that there should be no shame associated with different conditions affecting the brain.