Branding Healthcare Conferences

Lessons Learned from @JohnnyCupcakes at #SHSMD18

This week we’ve been enjoying the SHSMD 2018 Annual Conference that’s organized by AHA. It’s been a great place to meet and learn from marketing and communication experts at some of the best hospitals, health systems, and medical practices. It’s really amazing some of the challenges these organizations face and how these marketing professionals use creativity to confront their challenges.

This made the opening keynote for the event extremely fitting since the keynote speaker is one of the most creative people I’ve ever seen. The keynote speaker was Johnny Cupcakes and was sponsored by Revive Health. While the name might be confusing, that was kind of his point. Johnny is his real name, but Cupcakes is not his last name and he doesn’t sell cupcakes. He sells t-shirts (and now a bunch of other apparel as well). Thus the beginning of his story of creativity.

I won’t share all of Johnny Cupcakes story here since I’m sure you can find it online. However, he did share a number of great insights that were extremely helpful for marketers to consider. Here’s a quick summary of some of the key insights he shared:

Such a fantastic message for all of us to consider. Work is so much better when you’re doing something that makes you happy.

This is a great super power. Do you have that super power? Do you realize that it’s a super power that you can develop?

As Tom Mitchell replied to this tweet, this has never been more true than now. I think most people underestimate the power of gratitude.

This was one of my favorite slides, but I need some more quiet time to consider it. However, I love the idea that creativity can solve all sorts of challenges in your business.

This tweet needs the edit button (come on Twitter!), but it was a great insight. He learned this lesson from a Simpson campaign where they made money, but they didn’t get the chance to cross pollinate their communities. I love this concept.

This reminded me of Pharrell Williams who likes to say “The Same is Lame.” There’s something about strange that attracts attention. I think this is a lesson that many healthcare organizations would have to think about for a while and be brave to try.

I’ve often said that content is good. Engagement is better. An experience is unforgettable.

You know this kind of person at work. They bring a problem and then talk about all the other problems that relate to it. Then there are the people that see a problem and think of solutions to deal with those problems. Totally different experience.

If you’re feeling a bit stagnant in your job, try some experiments. Possibly some experiments that scare you. That will create growth.

As you can see, he offered some great insights for those of us in healthcare marketing and communications. What do you think of the ideas above? Do some of them resonate for you? Do you disagree with any of them? Do you have experiences with some of them? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter using the #HITMC hashtag.

About the author


John Lynn

John Lynn is the Editor and Founder of the nationally renowned blog network The Healthcare Scene network currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 7000 articles. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. Plus, Healthcare Scene recently added Health IT focused career resources and to the network.
John also co-founded two companies: and Plus, John is the Founder of 10 other blogs including the Pure TV Network and Vegas Startups. John’s 25+ blogs have published over 15,000 blog posts, garnered over 30 million views and had over 122,000 comments. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

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The Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC) is an extension of the HITMC conference that is the first of its kind event that brings together marketing and PR professionals from throughout the health care community. We strive to provide amazing marketing and PR related content that helps HealthIT companies and healthcare organizations  stand out amidst all the noise of the industry. If you’re looking to market to hospital executives, doctors, practice managers, patients, or other healthcare professionals, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the HITMC community!