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Bits ‘n’ Pieces


Consumer-driven health plans on the rise 

Nearly 22 percent of employers say consumer-driven health plans will be the only plan design they will offer to employees next year, according to a National Business Group on Health Survey. That is up from 19 percent in 2013, and three times the percentage in 2009.

Because of their high deductibles, these plans — in which claims are paid using a consumer-controlled account, versus a fixed health insurance benefit — are less expensive that traditional plans; a Kaiser Family Foundation study found the average cost of family coverage through a CDHP was nearly $1,500 less per employee than PPO coverage.



Making demands on consumers

Consumers are used to hearing they are always right, and they expect companies to do whatever it takes to make them happy. But “demand brands” are turning the tables, making painful demands of their customers, according to Demand brands are working to create a more sustainable, more ethical society, and demanding consumers contribute to that goal, even if it means pain to the buyer. These brands are:

  • Demanding action that is good for the environment through reuse, reduction and recycling
  • Creating products or services that demand customers live in a more healthy manner or exhibit good behavior
  • Making demands on behalf of nonprofits
  • Demanding action that is good for others

According to the report, demanding brands do not reward customers for taking positive action. Instead, they demand it as a condition of consumer engagement with the brand.

For example, a Texas grocery store requires consumers to bring their own containers, allowing them to buy as much or as little as they need, reducing waste. A restaurant in Japan fines diners who don’t finish their salmon roe to discourage waste and donates the money to local fishermen. And Concord, Mass., banned the sale of water bottles of less than one liter to encourage people to drink tap water and reduce the number of plastic bottles in the landfill.

However, consumers may be be unwilling to engage with a demand brand unless they believe in the brand’s vision for a better world, so companies that take this tact need be transparent and take real, meaningful action themselves.



3 leadership tips from Twitter’s CEO

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is preparing his company for an IPO, but he recently took time to offer other leaders advice at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in San Francisco.

  • Don’t try to make friends. Costolo says that while you need to care about your employees, you need to make decisions without worrying about what they think of you.
  • There are many ways to succeed as a leader. Too often, leaders try to imitate someone else’s way of leading. Instead, you need to find what works for you.
  • Be transparent. Communicate with your people, and don’t just tell them what they want to hear. They know better, and if you are not transparent, you will lose their trust.