Ed Nathan, PhD, Chief Creative Officer

Ed’s passion is uncovering insights driving behavior of anyone involved in a health and wellness interaction—their fears and hopes—and translating those insights into narratives that motivate and reassure. What is an insight? It is the “why” behind a stated “why,” rarely volunteered by a customer but ultimately acknowledged.

One of Ed’s guiding principles is that healthcare professionals are just like everyone else. At the same time, specialists choose their specialties for significant, identifiable emotional reasons. When we understand both the general (human beings with human needs) and the specific (choosing a specialty to support a self-image and heal a wound), we have a meaningful and workable profile.

A second principle is that great ideas come from all of us—one need not have “creative” in one’s title to help inspire our creative offerings.

A third principle is that great creative is not that hard to come by—we’re tripping over great thoughts all the time. The skill is in picking up on them and acknowledging that the best thinking often happens by “accident,” when we’re not trying to “create.”

A fourth principle is that persuading clients to embrace great creative is an important part of our work. We owe them an explanation of the issue we’re solving for, the inspiration behind the idea (an analogue), and the insight that motivates it.

A fifth principle is that insecure people create complexity to mask their lack of understanding and intimidate the people they should be illuminating. Great communicators and creatives connect with their inner child to uncover the truths we hide from ourselves, and express them in simple and intuitive terms.

Interview with Ed

Favorite activity?
Remembering the sports I used to be good at. And crossword puzzles.

A secret that you wouldn’t mind everyone knowing?
As sports editor of my college newspaper, at Wesleyan University, I coined the “Wes” prefixed to the sports teams—as in “Wescrew” for the crew team. Today, the college asks applicants to send in their “Wescheck” with their application.

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Favorite places?
Wellfleet, on the Cape, but only as an adult. The memory of hauling around umbrellas, blankets, and grapes for my children is not a happy one—God forbid a child should go ten minutes without a grape! (As an adult, however, I do need grapes every day, after five, in a liquid formulation.) And Prospect Park in Brooklyn, where I used to take long walks with my stubborn dog every evening.

Are you a collector of anything?
No—for two years I worked in the rare books library of a major university. That was enough.

Four bucket list items:

  • Sell a really good piece of writing
  • Become proficient speaking and hearing a foreign language
  • Save enough to retire
  • Never retire

Indoors or outdoors?
Outdoors. I love the smells of the park and shifts in the weather.

Favorite teachers?
Two bosses, Gavin Scotti and Nick Colucci, although neither knows it. Two men who understand loyalty as well as business.

First industry account?
Redux—a much-abused weight loss medicine. It taught me to see that certain conditions trigger painful denial among both professionals and their patients.

Best present ever?
Anything with a loving inscription.

What movie makes you cry?
Serious stories about parents and children.