Why Start a Hydration Clinic in Chicago?


How you feeling lately? Sick? Achy? Do you have the flu? If not, chances are you're either a carrier or you're about to get it. It's a nasty time of year, and that's part of why it was so clever that Revive Hydration Clinic launched in the midst of flu season.

It opened for business on Dec. 15 at 222 W. Ontario St, and is intended for, as Director of Strategy and Finance Daniel Grampa says, "the person who wants to work 80-hour work weeks as a consultant or in commercial real estate and they're entertaining clients at night and that inevitably may lead to poor sleep, poor nutrition, but they don't want to jeopardize their Sunday morning yoga session." 

They also happen to treat hangovers, and that's what a lot of the media stories about the new business have zeroed on. The gist is this: Hangovers is just one of a couple different things Revive treats -- but it's a big part of his business.

I saw this as an interesting opportunity to talk to a new business when its message may be slightly clouded as its being dispersed to the public -- so I gave Grampa a call.

Some media stories about your new business may have, to put it diplomatically, not captured what you guys are all about. Do you think that's fair to say?

Daniel Grampa: Yeah, that's fair to say. It's natural for them to paint us in a maybe more narrower light, as a hangover clinic. We'll take the press. Good press, bad press, it drives awareness. But we are very cognizant and are concerned with developing the right brand image for ourselves. To that end it's really not about hangovers, it's actually less than 40 percent of our business. The majority of our business has been cold and flu and people who basically have a very active, demanding lifestyle. It's the person with a demanding profession, the person who goes out on the dining and nightlife scene, but they're also health and wellness conscious. That's been the bulk of our business.

What do you do, especially when you're so brand new, when there's a huge deviation from what your intended message is in the media?

Daniel Grampa: We mention that, yeah, while we do treat hangovers, we let them know that we don't support overindulgence in alcohol consumption. Binge drinking. We remind them that it's about the cumulative effects dehydration that we treat here. That can be a number of illnesses that are caused by or result in dehydration. So, we remind them that this is a bigger story. It's really about hydration. It's really about health and wellness. It's really about reclaiming your day. People nowadays, with technology and access to email and information, they're enabled to run a nonstop lifestyle where they're always working, they're always communicating and socializing with their friends, they're always active and as a result you kind of fall behind in your own wellness.

What's your plan to assure your brand is being perceived as you want it to?

Daniel Grampa: I think we just need to a little bit better job of communicating effectively with the press and the media outlets when we do give them the interviews and when we get on the phone with them and when they visit the clinic. But more importantly, in terms of reaching the masses and that story there, we just need to be focusing on who we are. A lot of our partnerships that we're going to be developing over the coming weeks are going to be partnerships with fitness clubs, yoga studios, cross fit clubs, the running groups in the city and people who train together. And we're going to be at events with those similar people. For instance, I have a meeting today with a yoga instructor who came in for treatment. She wants to do some events with us. She'd like for us to come to their studio, she'd like to come here and host a yoga event, where we demonstrate what we're doing and talk about the benefits of it and how it fits into their lifestyle. We can take it from an awareness thing and take it a couple steps further down that order of operations and educate people and allow them to experience it. So, after the yoga session, if they like, we can provide a treatment and give them a sense of what it's really like to visit the Revive Hydration Clinic, how will they feel when they have the treatment and how they will feel after they have the treatment. So, it's stuff like that and it's really about aligning ourselves with the right partners and the right people to continue to drive some of the word of mouth within some of these different communities.

Why is it important to send a consistent message through all your channels? I feel like it's something we all know but it's never articulated.

Daniel Grampa: Sure. We're a new category, so to speak. Everybody knows what a bar is, everybody knows what a pizza place is. It doesn't require a lot of education, and the message as a result is not something that's as delicate. It's really about consistency in the keywords that you're using. It's about staying with that same message that you're talking about. Even when it gets spun away from what you want it to be, you can still focus on bringing it back. When it becomes the hangover clinic message you say, "Well, we treat much more than hangovers. We're actually a hydration clinic." You bring them back to that keyword: hydration clinic. You don't want to make people think, "Oh, so you don't treat hangovers there?" "Well, no, yes we do. But we're much more than that." You try to bring people back to your keywords. There's your consistency.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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