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Six Ways with Social Media
Here are six steps that can help balance risks and the wrath of regulatory.

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Six Ways with Social Media

  1. 1. Six ways with social media Insights on healthcare branding March 2009
  2. 2. 2. Establish a relationship with a patient Last year all of the healthcare publications discusses health policy and Big Pharma as it opinion leader. – online and offline - were buzzing about relates to MS. “I’ve received emails from the social media and its potential impact on our Today’s patient population is completely communications department of isolated industry. Pharma spent nearly $1.2 billion different than those of years past. They are pharma companies who are developing MS to market online in 2008, a figure that is involved, well educated, and not afraid to treatments. But the purpose is often just to expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2011, question the advice of their physicians. In distribute a press release and not actually to according to digital tracking firm eMarketer. its 2008 report, How America Searches: develop a mutual relationship… Yet there is still much confusion about how Health & Wellness, iCrossing found that Talk with us, not at us. Engage with to integrate new forms of communication, 59% of patients turn to the Web as their first participants. Patients will not bite.” All particularly digital and mobile, into a brand source of health information. Physicians pharmaceutical companies have advisory marketing plan. If 2008 was about creating rank second at 55% and traditional media boards of physician opinion leaders; now is awareness that social media exists, then like television and print trail in the distance the time to create ones with patients, too. 2009 should be about exploring how to attracting only 20%. As a result, patients meaningfully engage. And engage in a way have begun to forge relationships with one that makes the team feel comfortable. another online, discussing medications, 3. Support a social network in your therapies, symptoms and more. This has category. There still appears to be much reluctance led to the rise of a new type of expert: the about social media because of regulatory Over the past few years, patient-led Patient Opinion Leader. These are non- considerations. I am usually the first to discussions about every disease imaginable medical professionals who inspire trust say there are ways around it, but to be fair have moved from Yahoo Groups and and act as guides for other patients. They ours is an industry that is highly regulated listservs to full-blown social networks. As write blogs, voice their opinions in patient and there are potential pitfalls. So rather already mentioned, patients are connecting communities, post videos on YouTube, than suggest ideas or programs that some with each other online, often disclosing and create FaceBook pages devoted to could perceive as too risky, we will focus on personal medical histories and detailing their cause. six steps you can reasonably take without their treatments. Patient-focused networks incurring the wrath of regulatory. One such POL is Kerri Morrone Sparling of exist in a number of places: large general Six Until Me, a popular diabetes blog that social networks like FaceBook, Ning attracts 50,000 visitors per month. Readers and MySpace; general health sites like 1. Start tracking your brand online. often ask Kerri for advice and opinions, and HealthCentral, WebMD, RevolutionHealth; At a minimum, all marketers should be while she is careful to point out that she is and specialty platforms like CureTogether, monitoring how their brands live online. not a medical professional, her followers PatientsLikeMe, Inspire. With nearly universal adoption of the appreciate her candor and accumulated How can you get involved? You need Internet among physicians and 72 million wisdom as someone who has lived with the not start from scratch and create a new U.S. adults visiting a health site in 2008 disease for twenty-two years. Kerri believes forum – go where your audience already (comScore), there is an astounding amount her audience would welcome a dialogue congregates. Alexandra Carmichael, of unfiltered discussion and information with a pharmaceutical company as long president and co-founder of CureTogether, flow taking place among patients, as it is done in a way that is honest and a site that enables people to anonymously caregivers, and physicians online. respectful. “Earning the trust of your user compare symptoms, treatments and health base is crucial to the growth of the industry. Dialogue is happening all over the Internet data, believes there are many opportunities If Big Pharma wants to really touch the – on wikis, health-related social networks, for collaboration where all parties benefit. lives of patients, they need to show us that general social networks like FaceBook, “Pharma companies can send us inclusion they care, that my health, and the health blogs, videos, message boards and drug criteria for clinical trials they need filled. of my fellow diabetics, is something their rating sites. Do you have a solid grasp of They can also send us surveys about adverse company holds in the highest regard.” the social media landscape where your side effects, drug efficacy, and company Fellow blogger Lisa Emrich, a musician who product or the therapeutic category is perception for specific populations of lives with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid being discussed? If you don’t, then you are patients.” arthritis, agrees. Lisa’s blog Brass and Ivory missing out on a golden opportunity to listen in and learn from your customers. Do you have a solid grasp of the social The findings can help marketers monitor general perceptions, provide a quick read on media landscape where your product an unfolding situation, uncover issues that had not been considered, or even confirm or the therapeutic category is being primary market research. discussed? If you don’t, then you are No one has time to pore over all of the sites, and some companies prohibit such visits, so missing out on a golden opportunity to it makes the most sense to select an outside listen in and learn from your customers. service that will aggregate the information in which you are most interested. Many research companies now offer robust sentiment tracking or blogmining services. Work with your branding or advertising agency to help select the one that best meets your goals. Six ways with social media – 2
  3. 3. 6. Go mobile. A great example of a company that to create Better Blogcast, which offers partnered with a thriving patient network industry a novel way to access the blogging Mobile applications that focus on health is LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson company, community in a completely transparent and wellness for consumers and medical and manufacturer of the OneTouch Glucose way. Using an unrestricted grant model, tools for professionals are exploding. Meter. Lifescan learned about TuDiabetes, a Better Blogcast invites top bloggers to write Well over half of all physicians own an social network for those living with diabetes about specific topics. The posts are shared iPhone, Blackberry, or other brand of PDA founded by Manny Hernandez in 2007, at an across all participating sites through a or smartphone, according to Manhattan Amercian Diabetes Association-sponsored news widget. Research, and the majority believe it is a expo. They developed a partnership tool they can’t live without. Apple’s App Communities where physicians congregate that resulted in an entire section of the Store offers over 150 medical tools for are also a good venue for encouraging OneTouch site dedicated to Sharing – physicians, many of which are free but discussion and debate. In addition to the root of all social networking - which even more that are not. The most popular Sermo and Medscape’s Physician Connect, features information about TuDiabetes downloads provide comprehensive there are specialty-specific communities and its programs. According to Manny, the drug information, medical calculators, that may be more appropriate for certain relationship with Lifescan has been warmly terminology or protocols/interpretations brands. Examples include: EyeSpaceMD for received by the TuDiabetes community and (eye exam, ECG interpretation). Why not opthalmologists; SpineConnect for spine has helped the group grow. This proves that use some of your marketing dollars creating surgeons; MedTrust Online for oncologists. when done correctly, partnerships between an app that physicians find useful and Big Pharma and patients can work. relevant? It is also a good way to engage in dialogue with customers because many 5. Use video to communicate and educate. physicians willingly post feedback. Compelling video is the next frontier. A few 4. Engage with physicians at one of their pharma companies have created branded As the article points out, there are many many online haunts. YouTube and Facebook pages. While it’s ways to engage in the social media universe The Internet is completely integrated into a great first step, the content they have that are no more risky than what you are physicians’ personal and professional lives. posted is not as enticing as it could be. To doing today offline. No matter which path Manhattan Research studies the Web effectively drive viewership of health video, you choose, make 2009 the year you do behavior of doctors and found that 99% are marketers need to think about the intended something. online daily, 85% maintain broadband in audience, medium and distribution. their offices and 83% consider the Internet A common mistake is to use material essential to their practice. Physicians go developed for TV or DVD and upload it to online during the day, between patient the Web. According to Josh Silberstein, visits or during patient consults to search CEO of Health Guru, the largest provider for information. They also peruse favorite of health video on the web, “The path to blogs, share information in MD-only social success starts with differentiated and networks and read the online versions engaging content. Repurposed TV content of preferred journals. These destinations is the proverbial square peg in a round hole represent prime locations where savvy when it comes to online video. Patients marketers can disseminate compelling are usually looking for more detailed and content that goes far beyond ad banners. comprehensive information.” Distribution and uptake is another important issue so it For example, the medical blogosphere is best to work with a company that knows is blossoming in size and stature. One content and search optimization to ensure of the best-known bloggers is Val Jones, buzz and page views. When done correctly M.D. of Getting Better with Dr. Val. She the rewards can be dramatic: Health Guru’s recently teamed up with other well- library of over 1,000 videos generated 150 regarded physician and nurse bloggers million page views in 2008! Six Ways Pharma Marketers Can Use Social Media Bunny Ellerin, InterbrandHealth New York (first published in Pharmaceutical Executive, March 2009) Six ways with social media – 3
  4. 4. InterbrandHealth is the health and life sciences practice of the Interbrand Group. Our offices around the world are dedicated to creating, managing, and valuing our clients’ most important and enduring assets – their brands. We believe that brands have the power to change the world and to change lives. Since 1974, we have been working with pharmaceutical, biotech, specialty, and medtech companies to do just that. Recognized as thought leaders in the industry, we are also authors of the leading business book Brand Medicine: The Role of Branding in the Pharmaceutical Industry. We bring together a diverse range of insightful thinkers, making our business both rigorously analytical and highly creative. From brand names that have entered the dictionary, including Prozac and Viagra, to pioneering work for franchise brands, and revolutionary identities for corporate brands, we have helped to create and manage some of the most iconic brands in the industry. We relish the challenge of working with companies, large and small, global and local, who positively influence or aspire to influence their markets and the world around them. For more information on InterbrandHealth, please contact: New York Chicago San Francisco London Geneva Tokyo Creating and managing brand value TM