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Josephine Borrillo LLC Posts

Pharma and online reputation

Social media today is a very important tool for reputation building. Pharmaceutical companies are not best known for their use of social media platforms, but the time has come for them to cultivate and take care of their social media online reputation. Your online reputation is your reputation. What you say and do online equals what you represent or are offline.

 
 

1): What is online reputation? 

In doing the research for this blog post, I was unable to find a verified definition of “online reputation”. So I will try to define it in my words. Very simply online reputation is what people find when they google you, your company, your products. It is also what people are saying about you or sharing about you on social media platforms. In other words, it is how you are perceived by the public online and what the public thinks about your products, business and services. What people say about your company on social media or anywhere online is todays’ most important reference for everyone. 

 

2): Why should pharma care about their online reputation? Should pharma be interested in their online reputation? Does it matter?

It should be your top priority, since online search today is the first step for everyone and social media platforms is where the discussion takes place. Social media allows for the rapid dissemination of news about your drug, brand, your company. So any negative news will spread very rapidly.  Deleting will not help either because once online it is a sure bet someone will have seen it. Pharmaceutical companies should take note of recent events that have taken place across social media such as EpiPen pricing controversy and price hikes by Turing Pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical companies create drugs that people use and people use social media to discuss and express their anger and frustration. 

 
 

3): Is there an expectation that pharma respond to social media engagements by patients?

If you think you can just be silent then you are wrong, somewhere online they are talking about you. Pharmaceutical companies we all know are not used to engaging with their audience or consumers on social media platforms. However in todays’ online world, interaction is vital to any online presence. If we think about #epigate EpiPen price gauging, it is because it is a life saving medicine and patients cannot afford it. Pharmaceutical companies today need to take time and have in place a strategy to how you would respond to negative news online. Pharmaceutical companies need to change their mindset and be able to face consumers and accept feedback, positive or negative. It does matter because it reflects the behavior of your company and how you communicate with the public. Think global, even if it is on one market it will have an effect across the globe.

 
 

4): What would a pharma company who is exceptional at managing their online reputation look like? Is there an example?

It is fundamental that you do not ignore patients or consumers and their angered frustration, but try to understand and answer.  Do not think or pretend people are not talking about you. They are talking and you need to address them. The catch 22 is when and how should you respond to what is being sad. Easy to respond to positive feedback, but what about negative comments? There may be times when engagement or answer is necessary and other times it is not warranted. So how do you decide?  It is vital for pharmaceutical companies to monitor everyday public online content of what is being said about your company or brands. Then process and analyze both negative and positive information found and decide how to address what was found. Your aim is to avoid online reputation situations such as #epigate. These cases are the worst since not only is your reputation shattered but the impact is felt on the entire pharmaceutical sector.

 

A good example in my opinion of pharmaceutical companies managing their online reputation would include the following points:

  • listening to the patients or consumers, which gives an advantage for handling online reputation;
  • not only listening but responding and creating the situation for open dialogues
  • have guidelines and company policies in place for engaging
  • take a more proactive approach in managing online reputation
  • get rid of old school “damage control” mindset

An example of one pharmaceutical company and the modern approach to online reputation. What it has? real time online discussion with the public. 

An example of one pharmaceutical company and the old school approach to online reputation. What is missing? listening and true real time online discussions. 

As stated by Pfizer,  “We focus on proactive activities that communicate with people”……However, old-school marketing it’s not – in that it doesn’t pitch any products, even indirectly. It’s a different, unexpected way to interact with people”……..

 

5): Is there a value to online reputation?

Online reputation is the new practice. The value of online reputation today is to be transparent and present. For pharmaceutical companies, or any company or person, this can be risky, but it pays off in the long run, along with your bottom line. What does being transparent and present mean today?  It means that pharmaceutical companies will need to answer to good and bad news and decide when best to respond and if to respond to what is being said. 

 

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Interesting reads #13

“10 Things for Pharma Marketers to Know about Facebook and Instagram.” MM&M. 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

There are many opportunities for even pharmaceutical companies on Facebook and Instagram. Here are some top tips for pharma from Facebook Health on how to reach out and engage with audiences on Facebook and Instagram.

Inc., Hootsuite Media. “LiftMetrix & Hootsuite.” LiftMetrix & Hootsuite. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

The key challenge facing social marketers is probably measuring social media ROI and which metric(s) do you choose. According to AdAge and as reported in the ebook, social media spend is expected to make up over 20% of all marketing budgets by 2020. And social ad spend in the US is expected to exceed $12 billion in 2016.

Some of the biggest challenges for social marketers? ROI and connecting the dots between social media and business outcomes.

Social@Ogilvy Follow. “How Pharma Companies Are Using Social Media.” Share and Discover Knowledge on LinkedIn SlideShare. 04 Nov. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

A social media check up by Ogilvy of where pharmaceutical companies are on social media and how they are using social media.

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Pharma and the “sharing economy”

We are living, just in case you didn’t notice, in a “sharing economy”. We ignore adverts that continuously push their products upon us and we try to make use of “stuff” that is hanging around in our homes. But the interesting question I think is, where does pharmaceutical and healthcare in general fit into the picture of the “sharing economy”?

1) What do we mean by “sharing economy”?

Let’s start be defining “sharing economy”:

“Sharing economy” is a social, economic and technological movement that is changing the way business is conducted

“Sharing economies allow individuals and groups to make money from underused assets. In this way, physical assets are shared as services. …….For example a condo owner may rent out his condo while he’s on vacation.”. PWC has put together an excellent video that explains our shared economy

 

 

2) What factors are needed to have in place a “sharing economy”?

The “sharing economy” is an economy built on trust, convenience and community. People trust people more than they trust brands. You could think of it as a modern day version of “word of mouth”. For example what has worked for Airbnb is an ecosystem built on reviews and people really caring about others’ reviews.

Another important characteristic of the “sharing economy” is business models are hosted through digital platforms. Transactions that offer access to a car, a house, a space and although they take place on digital platforms, it involves real people.  The digital platforms serve as a platform to create a user experience – one that feels more like friendship when compared to the traditional cold anonymous method of exchange. For the organization, this all means providing more choice while mitigating cost and creating a unique user experience.

3) What does pharma need to do to be a part of the “sharing economy”?

Big corporations are conservative, careful and risk adverse, especially pharmaceutical and healthcare. So one place pharma could start, is getting the right talent onboard. Get millennials on board they know how to navigate the new business models. And the next generation after them, will be even more revolutionary.

“Sharing economy” sets a new mindset of not necessarily needing to own everything. It is about avoiding a lot of waste, properly called consumerism. But having a lot of “stuff” lying around becomes an opportunity for sharing and to reduce the waste. A mindset of less consumerism, less materialism and more of building a community.

4)Any examples of pharma doing this already?

I think it is a given that pharma is not a disruptor. Its’ approach is more of a wait and see and we will adapt to market forces. However, I was surprised to find the “8 out of 10 of the top pharmaceutical companies use Science Exchange to outsource experiments”.

5) What are the opportunities and risks for pharma in the “sharing economy”?

Some opportunities could include sharing facilities, equipment, offices. The science world has already stepped into the “sharing economy” through the birth of  Science Exchange. So what does this mean for big organizations?  Being more efficient and less inefficient, exactly what the new consumer wants to see today.

The “sharing economy” would mean also sharing with the community intangible assets that includes intellectual property, clinical trials, brand and talent. This is something I am afraid pharma is not yet ready to deal with, yet. Pharmaceutical companies want to keep proprietary technologies and guarantee their intellectual properties..

However, pharma can take a cue from some traditional corporations that have adopted or experimenting with the “sharing economy”.

Citi Bike(Citi), for example has found a novel way of reaching and connecting with people and consumers. Citi Bike brand is associated with a an environmental friendly transportation model.

ReachNow at BMW and premium mobility services. Millennials not really interested in spending money on owning a car acquisition.

Wonolo is a company that is tapping into the sharing economy by creating an on demand staffing. That is you don’t have to hire, and you can still keep a level fo professionalism that will represent your company.

In the end you can be as creative as you want and come up with how your organization can be a part of the “sharing economy”.  All it requires is a change in the way innovation is traditionally approached.  Take a leap and expand the brand through shared economy experiences.

References:

“Pharma Marketers: Adopt Principles of Sharing Economy to Catalyze New Growth.” MM&M. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Consumer Intelligence Series: The Sharing Economy.” PwC. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Deborah Berry Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Histopathology and Tissue Shared Resource, Georgetown University. “The Sharing Economy Comes to Scientific Research.” The Conversation. 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Science Exchange – Order Experiments from the World’s Best Labs.” Science Exchange – Order Experiments from the World’s Best Labs. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

David Hunt. Web. 16 Dec. 2016

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Interesting reads #12

Patient-Centered Checklists: The Next Frontier for Engagement? NEJM Catalyst. http://catalyst.nejm.org/patient-centered-checklists-next-frontier/. Published August 2016. Accessed December 12, 2016.

Patient engagement + technology + checklists = smart lists. The use of interactive checklists or “smartlists” could be the future for better patient engagement. Switching from paper based checklists to a digital checklist, could this be the secret sauce to better patient engagement? Physicians can engage with patients through an interactive checklist, thereby facilitating the dialogue between patient and physician and making sure the patient journey is on course. Yet to see is the impact of these smartlists.

                                                                                                    

Silverman, Ed. “FDA to Study How Promotional Tweets for Drugs Should Convey Side Effects.” STAT. 04 Dec. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

FDA will study if one click can be a feasible way to provide drug safety information to the public on digital platforms.  Written comments can be submitted by January 6, 2017. For further information please visit Federal Register website.

                                                                                                    

Original Research: David H. Thom, Jessica Wolf, Heather Gardner, Denise DeVore, Michael Lin,Andy Ma, Ana Ibarra-Castro, and George Saba. A Qualitative Study of How Health Coaches Support Patients in Making Health-Related Decisions and Behavioral Changes. Ann Fam Med November/December 2016 14:509-516;doi:10.1370/afm.1988

This qualitative research identifies 7 themes to a successful outcome of  health coaches and patients working together: 1) shared characteristics; Availability; trusting relationship; education; personal support; decision support; bridging (health coach is the liaison or bridge).

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Pharmaceutical CEO influencers

I came across Allergan’s CEO on twitter following the hashtag #forbeshealth. I was in awe. Yes! All pharmaceutical CEOs should be on Twitter. We live today in society where people can directly interact with others and establish human relationships. This is definitely a excellent example of pharma’s new role in the social media universe.

1) What is influence and what makes someone influential on social media?

Hootsuite sums it up very nicely “an influencer is quite simply someone who carries influence over others”

In the social media world a social media influencer can influence others mainly through engagement. They carry on conversations, respond and ask questions, give their opinions, even outside the business sector.

2) Can CEOs be social media influencers?

Yes. Most of the success will rely on their distinctive online personality. Below are a few of the non pharmaceutical CEOs that are on twitter:

Tim Cook (@tim_cook)

Mark Cuban (@mcuban)

Elon Musk (@elonmosk)

Jack Dorsey (@jack)

Jeff Weiner (@jeffweiner)

The wining factors are having that distinctive online personality; being outgoing and authentic; and directly communicating with people.These CEOs have understood that the social media platforms aim is establish human relationships. Being “social” on “social media”. People today want and can engage in conversations with thought leaders, and that includes CEOs.

3) Any pharmaceutical CEOs on Twitter?

It is very exciting to see also that some pharmaceutical CEOs are taking this leap and are engaging on Twitter:

Brent Saunders (@brentlsaunders) Allergan CEO

Axel Steiger (@axel_steiger) Bayer Benelux CEO

4) How can you recognize influence or the capacity of a CEO to influence?

According to a study conducted by Claudia Kubowicz Malhotra and Arvind Malhotra there are four different types of CEOs that use Twitter MIT Sloan Management Review.

Generalists, those CEOs that share broad information and links. However, they tweet very little information regarding any new initiatives.

Expressionists, these CEOs mainly share their opinions. Mainly see Twitter as way to build their self brand.

Information Mavens, CEOs that share links to information and news.

Business Mavens, these CEOs although their tweets are mainly business related, they have a healthy mix of opinions, information, new initiatives.

5) What are some of the overall business benefits of CEOs being on social media?

First and foremost it allows for creating human connections with followers. This indirectly creates a connection with the company. A retweet can be very powerful too. The more followers you have the more easily it becomes to spread your message. When tweets are re-tweeted they can reach a greater and even diverse audience.

References:

Hexagon, Crimson. “How CEO Influencers Impact Social Branding on Twitter.” How CEO Influencers Impact Social Branding on Twitter | Crimson Hexagon. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

“How CEOs Can Leverage Twitter.” MIT Sloan Management Review. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Why CEOs should be on Twitter. Twitter UK. Web. August 22, 2013

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Interesting reads #11

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“How Did We Get Here?”: Topic Drift in Online Health Discussions. Park A, Hartzler AL, Huh J, Hsieh G, McDonald DW, Pratt J Med Internet Res 2016;18(11)

Online conversation in health can lead to a change in topic discussions – otherwise referred to as topic drift. Can an automated tool help detect and bring the discussion back on topic?

                                                                                                    

Use of Social Media in the Diabetes Community: An Exploratory Analysis of Diabetes-Related Tweets. Liu Y, Mei Q, Hanauer DA, Zheng K, Lee JM. JMIR Diabetes 2016;1(2):e4

The study sets out to examine how patients, consumers and physicians are using social media to facilitate discussions related to diabetes. Discussion related to diabetes are taking place and the study also demonstrates that the location of tweets indicates are happening at a global level.

                                                                                                    

5 Best practices to augment a pharma social media strategy. By John MacDaniel, senior director, digital and voice of the consumer, Telerx. October 7, 2016 Life Science Leader

A must read for pharmaceutical companies on embracing social media and the need to advance on the social maturity scale.

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