Tag Archives: Social media

The GENERAL Election 2015

Building Brands, by David Hunt

Our politicians should be expert at the governance and stewardship of the United Kingdom. I’d prefer that they excel at economic strategy rather than twitter, that they can protect the long-term future of the NHS rather than operate periscope, that they drive education standards before using Instagram. I entirely understand their use of agencies to build their brand and develop meaningful relationships across society. I don’t want marketeers in government, I want politicians.

But my God, their agencies should be sacked.

I’m not frustrated by a lack of innovation, but by the lack of appreciation for relevance and authenticity in the social world. This election has been marketed from the 1990s, but without the passion. Society today demands real interaction, authenticity and empathy. Inevitably there will be countless communication experts advising our politicians, but rather than helping them to build relationships, they’re dismissing them.

The so-called TV debates, have been nothing of the sort. A debate; a formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting. The country has simply been subjected to a series of sound bites that have little or no reference to the points or questions made either side. When Tony Blair was campaigning in 1997, society was largely restricted to traditional media. Budget ensured exposure and the message manufactured the image. Voters were limited by physical proximity, their discussions taking place in their location. Today we can be nationally dismayed, frustrated and lost. If politicians won’t participate in a debate, then today we can conduct one without them. The fact that they have remained oblivious to the need to be relevant and genuine demonstrates either ignorance or arrogance, but is most certainly costly. Like many others, I don’t need perfection, I don’t even need to agree with all of the policies, but I would like to participate in a democracy. In 2015, true engagement beats stone slabs every day.

“The Community is King” should be more pertinent than ever in an election. Our horizons are broader when searching for answers, our community is larger when arguing our case. Technology has ensured we no longer have to tolerate a “politician’s answer”, and that an irrelevant leader can become an irrelevance. Stage management is understandable as there is a lot at stake, but not to the point that the show should be cancelled. For the Prime Minister to ask for the country’s endorsement to tackle world leaders on critical affairs, but be unwilling to debate local opposition in a public setting, is a critical oxymoron. As a business leader, I believe David Cameron has done a good job leading the economic recovery, however his decisions to build a relationship with the majority is fundamentally flawed.

More than ever before, the United Kingdom has the opportunity to be a community, debate national politics and shape our future together. It’s just a crying shame that no one told the politicians.

Election

Conduct

The importance of manners, by David Hunt

Speak when spoken to, remember your please & thank-yous, and listen to others – all important lessons I’m determined to teach my son, Hudson. They are essential to being a well-rounded member of society and equally essential in Pharma’s pursuit of social media acceptance.

We talk A LOT about governance, rules of engagement and process. For me this is the method and  internal mechanics, it’s of our concern and not our customers. Of far more importance to me is our product, their experience, which is determined by our behaviour & conduct. There’s little point in engaging in social if it does not help the community, and complement our commercial objectives. If we compromise our personality, we compromise our campaign.

Typically our behaviour is weighed down by bureaucracy; it is uptight, awkward & unresponsive. It lacks critical speed & authenticity. It can feel like a conversation with a committee, most likely because it is. Newspaper Editors the world over take responsibility for their publications. It allows them to publish breaking news, competing with their rivals, meeting the needs of their customers. The consensus is that Pharma cannot be so frivolous, the risks are too great. True, if we are publishing product related information, not true if we are engaging with a community relating to disease awareness. Of course there will be points when we can’t comment, but these should not compromise the many meaningful interactions we can have.

Of course governance cannot be underestimated, but it should be guidelines & not a rule book. It should inspire, not suffocate our interactions. And it must be built on a brand personality & values, a global tone for all markets & platforms.

By trusting intelligent individuals to take responsibility, thus replacing response by committee with a more human approach to social media, we too can become a well-rounded member of society.

Classroom

Ideas

Creativity, More Important Than Ever by David Hunt

You can have a strong brand & commitment to fulfil it. You can have the necessary culture to respond in a real fashion. You can have a relevant, quality, dynamic content strategy. And most importantly, you can share a genuine ambition with your community. But you can still, and most likely will, fail in social media.

In a world that besieges individuals with content, news & entertainment across all manner of devices & channels, standing-out from the crowd is more important than ever. Pharma has spent so long wrestling with social, that when we finally do arrive, we expect that they will come. The world has not been waiting. The world is oblivious to our fraught self-interrogation. That is not to say, we can’t add significant value to our respective communities, it is just that we need to earn the right to be socially significant. Turning-up, standing on the periphery, is not enough.

In my opinion, you need an idea that grabs attention and acts as a catalyst for your social campaign. It requires insight into the community, imagination to be unique, the potential to be valuable & engaging, but it also requires appreciation of social dynamics. It is not an advert, but it is creative. It is an idea that drives participation & interaction, from incremental approval & shares, to endorsement & actions. It takes great talent, with great ideas to unlock the great social opportunity.

In South America we have seen the Colombian League Against Cancer “Cancer Tweets” campaign demonstrating the creative opportunity social media represents.

Great ideas that leverage the social opportunity are still the exception in healthcare. I’m excited to work with clients and colleagues with the imagination and bravery to seize the initiative and make a difference.

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Good Cause

Doing Good, While Making Money

Social Success, by David Hunt

I talk about this a lot, but make no apologies for the frequency. I’m proud to work in Pharma, and see it as an opportunity to use insight, imagination & innovation to make a difference. I didn’t choose to work in healthcare, I simply liked ideas. In all honesty, as a bullish graduate I would have preferred Nike over Pfizer, but the world changes, and so do we. Today I choose to have a significant impact on society, over a cool one.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, says: The business benefits from ethical practices are not soft ones about reputation or image. They are hard measures of growth and margin improvement. Wherever you look, it’s a no-brainer.

I agree 100%. Havas Lynx aims to help patients, their families and HCPs to improve outcomes, whilst also driving the commercial success of our clients. We call it #HelpfulChange, and whilst it sounds improbable and unrealistic, it has been the central strategy behind our success. It aligns with the increasing trend for Pharma companies to out behave the competition & benefit through their enhanced brand equity. Unfortunately the more conservative in our industry wait for others to fail & win by default. Doing nothing, but doing nothing wrong, they would argue. These people fear their brand, and lack the courage their power affords them to improve society. Those that embrace this power, those that choose to make a difference, and show courage in their actions, will succeed in today & tomorrow’s social world – they’ll have a brand with meaning.

Johnson & Johnson have invested in Care4Today, through Janssen Healthcare Innovations. Like many others, they believe innovation can improve outcomes. However, unlike the majority, they have invested significant time & resource to bring forward that day. They will both make a difference, and secure a competitive advantage.

AstraZeneca invested in a critical testing infrastructure for non-small cell lung cancer. Monthly tests increased from 18 to 452 over the course of the campaign. Patients were more accurately diagnosed, treatments more accurately prescribed.

Novartis support Skin To Live In and, despite the regulatory challenges, aspire for it to be the most progressive campaign in healthcare communications, supporting the community & building brand equity – a fair trade.

These are just a few examples from our portfolio, beyond Havas Lynx there are numerous other superb cases of brands doing good and making money. It is the future of our industry, one that will be shaped by passion & courage.

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Content is King, so they say…

Participate in something greater, by David Hunt

“Content is King” is a great expression; catchy, weighty, easy. It’s also misleading, absent of substance, and wrong on many levels. As of January 2014, the Internet has 861,379,0001 websites, or if you prefer Google has indexed 200 Terabytes of data2 which is just 0.004% of the total Internet. Either way, there is no shortage of content. There is however an appetite for relevant, topical, bespoke content delivered as part of an expert brand strategy – the social world requires brain not brawn.

Content is a form of advertisement, albeit positioned as a more sophisticated strategy. The objective remains to elicit an emotion that drives an action. However, despite this universal truth, the world has changed. It is more connected, more social, and ultimately more judgemental. It is no longer enough to tell stories; we need to craft a collaborative narrative. Being instant lacks longevity and durability. Producing content without emotion and relevance dilutes and devalues brands. Today, more than ever, the market requires insight, imagination and innovation. Our Havas colleagues in Australia produced what I consider to be the best social campaign in healthcare: The world’s most powerful arm.

Great agencies are more, not less, critical to the brand building process. So too is a genuine brand. We can no longer manufacture our image, we can no longer limit the format of our customer interactions, we are exposed, open, and unintentionally honest. A strong authentic brand personality is essential. It must represent the values of a business and be aligned to the personality of their customers. Fonts, colours and high-gloss photographs, pale-away versus behaviour and conduct. Social success today relies more than ever on the principles of brand development.

The scale of the Internet is infinite, standing out from the crowd is harder than ever, unless of course you join the crowd. Become more than just an isolated part. Participate in something greater. Unite your community through a shared ambition. Do more. Social success is inextricably linked to the power of the collective to make a difference; it requires more than a content production line.

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  1. http://www.techmadeeasy.co.uk/2014/01/18/many-websites-january-2014/
  2. http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2014/07/22/do-you-know-how-big-the-internet-really-is-infographic.aspx


Build it & they will come

Social Media, by David Hunt

Of course they will come. We’ve sweated blood, sweat & tears to establish our social media governance. We’ve aligned all our internal stakeholders, agreed our polices & opened the doors!! We’re big pharma & they’ll be delighted to talk to us!!

To launch a social campaign requires effort, ambition & conviction. Ironically, the internal campaign required to launch a social media initiative can consume the energy necessary to drive external engagement. In essence, the internal customers can take precedent over external. The product of this dilemma is often, “Where are the interactions? Where is the engagement? Where is the community?” It’s not enough to simply open your doors, you need to build an engaging presence.

Content is King, or so we are told. However, without context & relevance we are simply pushing messages via a new platform. We all see & publish countless updates that are neither liked, retweeted, repinned or shared. And they should, they’re good. However, they’re most likely not relevant to the viewer, or the viewer is not relevant to us. To overcome this, content strategy has to be more agile. It should respond to search & community trends and the evolving interests of peers – to be relevant we must be current. Beyond this, distribution should use expert community management & intuition vs. a pre-determined timeline – to be relevant timing is critical.

There are those in society who talk solely about themselves, their agenda, their opinions. They are typically tiresome & isolated, with a hint of arrogance & belief in their own self-importance. I have a community of family, friends & peers. I’m happy to respond, engage & participate in their stories – we have genuine, balanced relationships. Pharma HAS to work harder in being a member of the community. A social endeavour must have a framework to participate & build an engaging presence – to be interesting we must be interested.trapeze

Sadly not everyone likes me. Like everyone there are those whose company I enjoy, those I don’t. Online is no different. In pharma communications we need to work harder to find peers with whom we can form mutually beneficial relationships. With limited time & effort we could identify 100 new & valuable online acquaintances. We can see their bio, online footprint, sentiment & areas of interest. As we build our presence we can, we can build these relationships. Taking time to listen, engage & discuss – to deliver ROI we need to be social. 

The Pharma Obligation to Social Media

Social media debate, by David Hunt

The patient population is at our finger tips. Technology has provided a broader platform to witness their frustrations, build lasting relationships and work collaboratively to improve outcomes. The pharma industry invests billions in the development of new treatments; they are bold, courageous and imaginative in the pursuit of scientific excellence. Yet, with a few exceptions, remain anxious, nervous and paralysed in social media. The changing environment demands industry innovation and outcome based funding. If science will be at the heart of that drive, social must be the catalyst.

Fear of a brand name?
We invest millions in building a brand, yet remain terrified of its mention in public. Of course, we cannot publicly announce our treatment and associated scientific benefits, and yes we have an obligation to ensure it is not miss-represented either positively or negatively. But are we really at fault if a member of public chooses to discusses our brand in a fair, valid and experienced manner? We live in a free world, and an increasingly global community, we must engage if we have valuable information & insight. Do we not have a moral obligation to respond with valuable insight? Why would we leave Wikipedia with data we know to be inaccurate, when it’s widely considered to be the first point of reference? The vast majority of the general public are wholly unqualified to comment on disease, symptoms, side effects or treatments, but do so with the vigor of a grand-parent championing chicken soup. We have the knowledge, rigor and expertise to harness valuable patient experiences, real-life events and dialogue to support broader society.

But what if we came across an adverse event?
What if we don’t? We all have an obligation to report adverse events. Beyond the rules there is a moral obligation. Many months ago I witnessed a psychiatric nurse discussing how, with appropriate permissions, they monitored patients on twitter – AMAZING! If the NHS can find the time & resource to use social media in such a smart fashion, then big pharma must follow suit.

We’ll be accused of #badpharma and dishonesty!
That is true whether you participate or not. I’d advocate participating and whilst you would never directly challenge an individual, voicing your position to a broadly smart community can only be more positive.

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The approval process takes too long.
Social media is not just publishing content. It’s about listening. It’s an opportunity to hear from patients. It’s about understanding challenges & frustrations and working to address them. That alone is worth embracing the social world. It isn’t a fad, it’s been around since society – the playing field just got bigger.

 

As I often discuss, I’m proud to work in pharma. We make a difference, and we improve outcomes. Scientists & their amazing work will be at the heart of that success, but with the necessary courage communications experts can be the key.