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L’Oréal appoints Merck Serono’s CEO to board of directors

BY Antoinette Alexander

DARMSTADT, Germany and PARIS — President and CEO of Merck Serono, Belén Garijo, has been appointed an independent director of L’Oréal.

Garijo was appointed to the four-year term during L’Oréal’s 2014 Annual General Meeting held Thursday in Paris.

Garijo is a doctor specializing in clinical pharmacology and internal medicine. She joined Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, in 2011. During her 25-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, she has held diverse senior functions in a number of countries. She worked in research for eight years before moving to commercial functions of increasing responsibility. Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, she worked for six years as a practicing physician.

 

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Study: Mondays may be ‘mini New Year’s’ with regard to healthier behaviors

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN DIEGO — A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzing weekly patterns in health-related Google searches reveals a recurring pattern that could be leveraged to improve public health strategies.

Investigators from San Diego State University, the Santa Fe Institute, Johns Hopkins University and the Monday Campaigns analyzed "healthy" Google searches (searches that included the term healthy and were indeed health-related, e.g., "healthy diet") originating in the United States from 2005 to 2012. They found that on average, searches for health topics were 30% more frequent at the beginning of the week than on days later in the week, with the lowest average number of searches on Saturday.

This pattern was consistent year after year, week after week, using a daily measure to represent the proportion of healthy searches to the total number of searches each day.

"Many illnesses have a weekly clock with spikes early in the week," said SDSU’s John Ayers, lead author of the study. "This research indicates that a similar rhythm exists for positive health behaviors, motivating a new research agenda to understand why this pattern exists and how such a pattern can be utilized to improve the public’s health."

Joanna Cohen, a co-author of the study and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, added, "We could be seeing this effect because of the perception that Monday is a fresh start, akin to a mini New Year’s Day. People tend to indulge in less healthy behaviors on the weekend, so Monday can serve as a ‘health reset’ to get back on track with their health regimens."

"It’s interesting to see such a consistent and similar rhythm emerging from search data," said Benjamin Althouse, study co-author and Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. "These consistent rhythms in healthy searches likely reflect something about our collective mindset, and understanding these rhythms could lead to insights about the nature of health behavior change."

Results showed that search volumes on Monday and Tuesday were 3% greater relative to Wednesday, 15% greater than Thursday, 49% greater than Friday, 80% greater than Saturday and 29% greater than Sunday.

The team also examined whether media exposure could be driving this weekly pattern. Co-author Mark Dredze from Johns Hopkins said, "We tested this hypothesis by monitoring the daily frequency of news stories encouraging healthy lifestyles, but those stories actually peaked on Wednesdays and were statistically independent of healthy searches."

According to the published paper, "understanding circaseptan rhythms around health behaviors can yield critical public health gains. For instance, government-funded health promotion programs spend $76.2 billion annually and their cost-effectiveness can be improved by targeting the population on weekday(s) when more individuals are contemplating health habits."

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Brands can win big by getting to know Millennials

BY Antoinette Alexander

Good news for manufacturers and retailers: Millennials are, in fact, brand loyal. That’s according to a new survey of Millennial consumers from marketing data provider Adroit Digital, which found that 64% of Millennials are more brand-loyal or as brand-loyal as their parents, with 24% considering themselves to be more brand-loyal than their parents.

But there’s a catch.

Retailers and manufacturers are looking to connect and secure the loyalty of this tech-savvy group, which spends $600 billion a year. However, many marketers are still scratching their heads when it comes to how to earn the loyalty of these young adults.

This study is important because it not only finds that Millennials are brand loyal, but also it stresses that it’s time for marketers to move beyond the hard sell. Getting to know this group will require evaluating new ad units, including social, native and video, as well as the associated creative messaging. The reality is that technology is part of this group’s identify. One could say it is part of their DNA.

One of the key findings — but perhaps not so surprising — is that social is quickly moving up the ladder and offering TV advertising some serious competition. When respondents were asked which advertising medium has the most influence over how they view brand value, TV and social came out the winners with 70% and 60%, respectively.

What also is interesting is that, while many Millennials say they are brand loyal, they acknowledge that they follow a different set of criteria compared with their parents. What tops the list? Value and/or price (62%). This is followed by recommended by a friend, brand reputation and, coming in at fourth place, quality. And rounding out the list is exposure through social media (29%) and eco-friendly (28%).

Because of their access to vast amounts of information, these shoppers are highly informed about everything from a brand’s pricing to its business practices. That’s why gaining their trust and admiration is key to loyalty.

Yes, earning the loyalty of Millennials may be difficult — and even harder to keep — but those marketers that succeed no doubt stand to reap the benefits.

According to a separate study by Nielsen on Millennials, they make fewer shopping trips than their older counterparts, but they spend more per trip — $54 per trip versus $46 per trip for Boomers. And their spending exceeds Boomers in drug stores, grocery stores, mass merchandisers, supercenters and warehouse clubs.

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