Tag Archives: Expertise

Why I don’t care what’s next

Innovation, by David Hunt

Firstly, I do care, and perhaps should be less flippant. However, commentating on the next pioneering technology is a really good excuse to ignore our deficiencies with the current tools at our disposal. I’d argue that we already have the technology necessary to build meaningful relationships, and our focus should be on maximising these.

Fully leveraging new technology during its infancy is unlikely. In the gaming world, it typically takes 12-18 months for engineers to fully utilise the power of the hardware offered by the latest generation of console. It’s okay for us to take our time, assuming we are making progress, building expertise and confidence. If we are getting closer to adopting the technology and enhancing the breadth of our communication platform – that’s okay. Progress doesn’t always have to be quick, but it should still be progress. Ask Yahoo, MySpace and Blackberry if they’d have sacrificed being first to be the best.

And, while we’re exploring what we already have, let’s play with what the future holds. I’ve always considered myself to be curious, and therefore quick to try the latest technology. Today, at Havas Lynx, I’m surrounded by millennials. To my astonishment, they are more demanding than me and more impatient than me – no mean feat. They are also much more agile in their take-up of technology. Aligned with experience, it is meaningful innovation beset on making a difference.

Do we need more technology? Or do we need to be better at using it? I’d argue that, if we ensure the latter, the former will bring more value.

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#LXAcademy Awards

At the heart of an agencies success are the people. Heritage, structure and framework are simply the platform. As a business we are committed to attracting, developing, engaging and retaining the very best talent. The #LXAcademy was conceived to build core expertise, and inspire imagination, curiosity & courage, across science, creativity & technology. The #LXAcademy Awards was a celebration of everything we have all achieved in 2014 – it was our finest night.

The submissions were exceptional & really quite humbling. The team behind Care4Today combined insight & innovation, with passion & belief. Their presentation belied their engineering background & claimed the Grand Prix award. The team driving Novartis Dermatology deservedly won Creative use of Technology, as we continued our track record of being digital pioneers at EADV. Combining consumer technology with pharma insight, they quickly & efficiently created a unique point of difference in a competitive environment. Having clocked up 320,000 miles for AstraZeneca and revolutionised their Japanese market, the team of the year was entirely deserved. Not everyone can travel the world & consistently bring energy, ideas & value. One of my personal highlights for 2014 is our partnership with Lundbeck, we share vales & ambition, and I was delighted that our team recorded best online campaign, it demonstrated superb alignment of insight & innovation. It also demonstrated a client-agency relationship working in tandem, towards a shared goal, delivering results. #SKINTOLIVEIN rightly won campaign of the year, described by a Big Pharma CEO as the most progressive digital campaign in their portfolio, there was little more for the judges to add. However it was also impossible to ignore the effort, expertise & collaboration required to make something so unique and of so much value to patients & pharma.

There’s a buzz in the agency & the awards epitomised this. It has also set expectations for 2015, with regards to #LXAcademy, the awards and #LYNXLife, which is scheduled to be launched in January. Our number one priority is our talent, we believe that the rest follow. Our staff retention is at 90%, we receive 120 applicants a week and 50 people have celebrated 5 years with the business. HAVAS LYNX is a great agency with great clients, and the #LXAcademy Awards were a fitting celebration.

None of this would be possible without @carlwalker & Lisa Jones, driving the #LXAcademy, supported by the amazing internal experts and our external thought leaders. And a special thanks for organising the awards to Sam Luk & the LX  Ambassadors.

You can watch some of our inspiring LX Academy thought leadership sessions on our Youtube channel and see photos from the night on facebook and twitter10356266_785876774803420_9066949141867259432_n

One World?

Maximising global efficiencies, by David Hunt

I’m incredibly fortunate to travel the world doing a job that I love. Five years ago it was the likes of Barcelona, Geneva & Milan, as I covered Europe. Today it is both the Northern & Southern Hemispheres, East & West. Typically we deliver academies & build expertise in social media, closed-loop marketing & integrated communications. My first day back to work in 2014 was in Osaka, being simultaneously translated as we discussed transforming field force interactions. (It is a really quite mind-boggling scenario when you stop to think.)

Beyond seeing the sights & sampling the local cuisine the different cultures, inside & outside the office, are fascinating. The insight it provides to shape global campaigns is invaluable.

The pharma industry is obsessed, rightly so, by closed-loop marketing. We believe in the value of personalised stories. At the same time we chase an increasingly global approach to communications. It’s a striking contradiction in policies. It represents an awkward balance of broad & narrow brush. It is also one I agree with, largely. But, I do think it lacks a subtlety. Are we one global community, a single market, the same the world over? Because on the surface, driven by geography, politics, religion we appear incredibly different. A campaign conceived in the US will not work in China. A Japanese campaign would be dismissed in Europe. South America emerged as the victors from Cannes Health Lions, but their ideas would be lost on some.

We certainly don’t need local campaigns and the necessary investment would be foolish. Cultural campaigns, however, would be an interesting concept, aligned through a consistent scientific story, that marries clinical data & patient benefits. Representing efficiencies & relevance, the solution would allow local markets to provide context, relevance & individual customer experiences.

I’ve learnt a huge amount on my travels, the most significant being humility & respect.

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Highlights from a decade of global travel in Digital Healthcare Communications

Global Healthcare Communications, By David Hunt

If you’re flown from Manchester to a far corner of the globe to lead a workshop and build digital expertise, you should be arriving with insight & expertise. You should be offering an opinion that counts, the room should be learning something new, and you must make a difference. In addition, without fail, every experience has also made a difference to me.

I arrived in Japan to develop expertise in digital communication. As lead facilitator it’s my duty to have the best case studies. That being said, it would have been impossible to top the work of Honda. They combined insight, innovation & cause to the benefit of their brand, customers, but ultimately society. On the 7th April 2011 Japan was struck by the tsunami. The devastation was catastrophic. The country desperately struggled to navigate communities & services around the area. In less than 24hrs, Honda had mapped working roads onto Google maps, allowing critical movement across the region. Inspired by this, my goal is to help big pharma demonstrate the same agility & conviction. For further information please watch the case study here.

Only recently I delivered a social academy in Scandinavia. It’s a region I have long admired for it’s innovation & ambition. In many ways the geography of the region implores a digital first approach, however the history & associated diversity, makes the whole endeavour far more complicated. As a region they will win. They will use digital communications, social media and technology to improve outcomes. At the heart of their success will be their culture, it inspires innovation. They are open to ideas, and encourage others. They explore the possibilities & lead with imagination, not rules. I’ve worked with a number of companies in the region, and enjoyed it every time.

We delivered our first true CLM initiative in 2008, I didn’t expect that, in just a few years, it would lead to CLM academies in Shanghai. I only hope the participants took the same value as I did. Being simultaneously translated is a unique experience, made more so with little or no feedback from the room. In the EU or US, the feedback is instant & rewarding – comforting, even easy, perhaps not always genuine. China is different. Every minute counts. The participants WANT knowledge, and it’s utterly inspiring. They’re not looking for occasional insight, but comprehensive detail they will employ religiously.

This Summer saw the inaugural Lions Health. As previously mentioned on this blog, there were a number of highlights. Of equal insight were the results of the awards. The overwhelming victors were from South America. Not only did they collect numerous awards, but there ideas were creatively outstanding & use of digital exceptional. We’re often guilty of assuming that the US or EU are the most technologically advanced. Perhaps our maturity and sophistication or rules & rigour actually stifle innovation & the improvements it can herald. In 2010 the Arab Spring used social media as a catalyst for seismic change. Motive & technology aligned. It re-affirms my belief in the power of morality & innovation. And as always, rewards travel & observation with learnings & insight.

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It’s not about knowing their shoe size. It’s about knowing what makes them tick.

Closed-loop marketing (CLM), by David Hunt
Part I: start, and therefore finish, with insight

My first experience of healthcare marketing, and indeed closed-loop marketing, was in 2004. Even then it was being presented as the ultimate sales tool – the silver bullet for customer engagement. Almost a decade later, the story remains the same. Truly bespoke experiences are as unique in their delivery as they are in their frequency.

I am fortunate enough to have worked on some amazing campaigns, with some amazing people. And with 10 years’ experience, I have come to realise that delivering a true closed-loop experience is not about the technology, it’s not about budget, it’s not even about expertise – it is about absolute commitment to the vision across an entire organisation. You need the full support of senior management, experienced marketers that truly understand their customers and products, an engaged field force looking for a competitive advantage AND a flexible IT infrastructure that is committed to dynamic innovation. It is only with complete dedication that an organisation can deliver a SUSTAINED, tailored experience.

Conversations often begin with technology – a ridiculous and bizarre starting-point. Technology is only the platform. It is the idea that truly counts. First we need to really understand our customers. In face-to-face interactions we each instinctively perceive their interest. We do this based on a reaction, we do not do this because they have spent 12 seconds digesting a piece of information.

Within CLM, we shouldn’t just be looking at page metrics. At best it is inconclusive, at worst it is misleading. Who led the interaction? What was the facial response? What was the real reaction? My wife and I recently had our first child. The use of customer relationship management systems by large superstores is both exceptional and well documented. As a result of our “tells” we received the right offers at the right times. It wasn’t because of a request on our part, it was because of an action observed on theirs. To deliver a true closed-loop marketing experience in healthcare, we need to design and study genuine interactions, interactions with meaning. The late Steve Jobs and his team afforded us a revolutionary piece of kit. It demands engagement, it ensures participation and if done right, it absolutely captures true reactions and true, actionable insights.

So how do we know what makes our customers tick? We typically default to traditional market research, which has both its values and challenges. Research of this nature is set-up to validate a story, it does not convey the nuances of our interactions. I believe in multi-disciplinary teams, and I believe in iterative product design. Led by the brand team, with valued input from the field and true digital creatives, we can create interactions that are worthwhile to the customer and loaded with insight for us. The customer tell. We can create a campaign designed around a conversation to support the field, support the business and, most importantly, to support the customer.

It is not always possible to augment traditional research with robust, integrated workshops and numerous prototypes, but if we want to deliver closed-loop marketing we need to do more than embed the technology, more than talk about the benefits, we need to start, and therefore finish, with insight.

Part II: roadmap to success

Part III: judging the impact