This is the image of Cincinnati to the outside world. Medium-sized midwestern city somewhere near the middle to the bottom of healthiest cities. Being someone who grew up in Manhattan, went to school in Chicago and DC and whos parents are Dutch, I certainly had that image when I first got to Cincinnati. Why does it matter for the employer that I work for (P&G) and others? Two reasons: (1) Health of employees is about productivity more so than costs; (2) recruiting/retention. Cincinnati is home to 10 Fortune 500 companies who recruit nationally and internationally. We’re competing with other vibrant cities globally for top talent.
Cincinnati home to Great Assets
Many companies doing their own individual “thing” for employee health and wellness – and often the same thing. E.g. Kroger does a health fair, a fitness challenge and P&G, Macys, others do pretty much the same thing. What have been missing is two things: (1) A rallying cry to bring us together; (2) Leadership to harness our resources. Go Vibrant has served that purpose.
Similar to other cities, our physical infrastructure is such that it puts up barriers to healthy living. You need to be highly motivated to bike to work, find a route to walk/run over lunch, find healthy foods at festivals.
Go Vibrant will have no 5K races – we have enough of those. What we need more of is greater participation in the events that we have.
Go Vibrant is not a unique model to Cincinnati – it is something that can be leveraged; even the name; nationally to other cities. John Rice – the Vice Chair at GE – called go Vibrant a “cultural movement”. Let’s explore ways to drive this model nationally. Cincinnati is not unique in its health challenges. Obesity in particular is an epidemic across the country – this is a model that could work elsewhere.
Capturing Hidden Value in Local Assets - Mark Jeffreys, Procter & Gamble, founder of goVibrant
a new model for partnership
CEOs for Cities National Convention
48 out of 50 Healthiest Cities (MSN)
12 out of 50 MSAs (Forbes)
“Taken Our Bad Habits & Made Them Worse”…
Cincinnati Style Chili, Graeter’s Ice Cream, Goetta
Cincinnati Is Not Known For Being A Healthy City
But Cincinnati Has Great Assets to Help Address It
Home to 10 Fortune 500 company headquarters
Strong University System
World renown medical/hospital community
Vibrant Arts Community
in country for % volunteering (Forbes)
One of highest ratios of park acres/person in country
But Our Approach Has Been
go Vibrant is in response to that
What is go vibrant?
• A not-for-profit private-civic partnership
with 40+ organizations to develop and
execute wellness initiatives across
• Vision: Make Cincinnati consistently
ranked a top 10 healthiest city by 2020
• Purpose: Make healthy living easier
• Private Sector:
• Procter & Gamble, GE Aviation, Macys, Kroger, US Bank, Convergys,
Western & Southern Financial Group, Duke Energy, Fifth Third,
Corporex/Five Seasons, Enquirer Media, US Bank, Humana, Cincinnati
• Civic Organizations:
• United Way, YMCA, Queen City Bikes, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber,
Downtown Residents Council, 3CDC, YWCA, Downtown Cincinnati Inc,
Cincinnati Arts Association, Artworks, Council on Aging of Southwestern
Ohio, Cincinnati Runners Club, Do Downtown Restaurant Group, Metro,
UC Health, UC Neuroscience Institute, American Heart Association,
American Diabetes Association, American Lung Association, American
Cancer Association, Northern KY Chamber of Commerce, Center for
Closing the Health Gap, Junior League, Nutrition Council,
• Media partners:
• WCPO-TV (ABC affiliate); Cumulus Radio (Warm 98 & Frequency 94.1);
Enquirer Media, 700WLW AM will also promote.
• Landor (design partner); Bridge (digital partner); Julie Isphording,
Olympian, author/ motivational speaker; Dhani Jones, Cincinnati Bengal
Linebacker, & John Pepper, former CEO P&G< are also strong supporters.
Grounded In Reality that Healthy
Living is Not the Easier Choice
Biking or Walking Places is Not Easy
Bike lanes are few and far between & not connected
Few walking paths in core
Healthy Foods Not Always Easy to Find
For Our Target That’s A Problem
Our target is:
• ‘Ready & willing, but something gets in the
• Motivated to live a healthier life, but something
(work, family, etc) gets in the way.
• Key insights:
• Want a ‘buddy’ to help them along the way
• Need environment that supports their choices
including (1) physical environment that makes
healthy living the default choice and (2) culture of
wellness that supports their choices.
Our target is not:
• The couch potato
• The fitness/health nut
Key Strategic Platforms
1. Leverage assets across community in concert against common
• Employ resources from private sector – intellectual firepower,
financial, ‘buying power’
• Harness resources from civic community – intellectual firepower,
creativity, energy, etc.
2. Drive visible changes to the physical environment
• Walking paths
• Healthy eating sections at major festivals – Taste of
• More healthy eating promotions at restaurants
• Bike paths/bike racks
• Transform physical environment at employers to enable healthy
3. Drive ‘culture of wellness’ – make healthy living just something
you do. Identify-based, not fear-based
• Community wide health initiatives e.g. 10 Better in 10
• Health pledges – motivate by tapping into identity
• Healthy Monday launch
What go vibrant is not
• Duplication of efforts already
• Pushing one company’s
products or services
Anatomy of the Model
• Simple, inspiring vision
• Simple vision becomes rallying cry for everyone to get behind.
• Inspires others to donate services e.g. media PSAs, design
• Ask BIG of resources
• Think creatively of resources that could leverage e.g. P&G branded
entertainment, P&G corporate partnership with Facebook, etc.
• Enroll key stakeholders before going public & not be about one
• “Want everyone to write in their annual report how they helped
• Rotate meetings to different partner locations.
• Have a few thought leader advocates and leverage for
credibility and insight
• With go Vibrant it has been John Pepper (former P&G CEO), Rob
Reifsnyder (CEO United Way).
Key Tactics – First 6 Months
• Opening Ceremony & Health Check – June 21st
• Employees/residents got health measurements and talked with health
counselors on Fountain Square – city center. Installed bike racks on
square that day. Leveraged Cincinnati Bengal Dhani Jones to be guest
speaker. Combined kickoff with United Way – tied into their National
Day of Volunteering
• Artworks Bike Racks partnership –
• go Vibrant is amplifying an initiative by Artworks to develop & put in
place artistic bike racks throughout city; objective: 15 in first year.
• ’10 Better in 10’ Wellness Challenge – started in August
• Individuals formed teams to take on a ’10 challenge’ – anything from losing
10 pounds, adding 10 minutes of walking/day, learning 10 new healthy
recipes all over a 10 week period.
• Teams named their team something fun and register on website – names
included Smooth Operators from Cincinnati Bell, Chicks in Charge, the Traffic
Lites from Cincinnati Traffic Dept
• Teams that registered on web site eligible to be voted on by people of
Cincinnati. Prize is appearance on WCPO-TV (ABC) and tickets (and
airfare/hotel) to the Ellen Show in LA.
Rounding Out the First Year
• Strategy: Visible signs of change
• Walking Paths – downtown
• Phase I: paper;
• Phase II: ‘bread crumb trail’ – physical markers
• Phase III: walking clubs
• go Vibrant healthy eating section (1-2K feet) at
Taste of Cincinnati – a first
• Artworks bike racks installation – create buzz
• Strategy: Create ‘culture of wellness’
• Launch Healthy Mondays in Cincinnati