Oct 15, 2012
Author: Sara Rauhullah
The million dollar question on every pharma brand manager’s mind is “How involved, if at all, should my brand be in social media?”
In our recent discussions with multiple brand managers and pharma companies across various therapeutic areas, we got a sense that there is definitely a lot of interest in leveraging this tool to drive share of voice and usage.
We at Environics Research, along with our sister company Nexology, understand the importance of social media in today’s highly competitive markets, where generic products are not only eating up the shares of branded medications but are also hurting the image of branded medications. More importantly, we have had success in establishing protocols on how our clients can make the best use of this platform to build their brand assets and also improve patient engagement.
The reason why we are such big advocates of this platform is because we have walked the walk. In a world where the target clients of pharma industry are connected 24/7, it would be a mistake not to leverage this opportunity to build relationships – and loyalty – with one’s stakeholders. Our past experiences in health and other industries have taught us the importance of a brand having a POWERFUL STORY and we believe that social media is an essential tool that the pharmaceutical industry needs to use in order to share a story with its stakeholders. A story that not just talks about the functioning (i.e. the type of efficacy or safety profile) of a brand but the one that gives the brand a human touch, especially in an atmosphere where messages are interchangeable and our clients are always fighting the war of differentiation.
We recommend that our clients use a social media platform to LISTEN to their stakeholders, as it’s an effective way of conducting PULSE CHECKING (i.e. is
the brand story resonating), of keeping an eye on any crisis that could impact their brand (i.e. what are the challenges and possible threats), and to identify the KOLs who are pushing their story forward, so they can leverage those relationships to establish long term loyalty. We see social media as a platform that gives pharma companies the answers to key questions that were previously addressed in a traditional market research setting but in an innovative way where the emotions and verbiage is not filtered, thereby allowing them to know exactly where their brand stands with your stakeholders.
For those who have concerns about controls when using this platform, we often recommend strong moderation policies or other innovative approaches that further control the discussion.
We strongly believe that by using social media, our pharma clients can create a guided experience that allows their stakeholders to increase patient engagement, adherence, and education, and to LISTEN to their stakeholders while simultaneously promoting their brand.