Best Practices for Internal Communications Regarding Brands & Disease State Report Summary


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Poor internal brand and disease state communications can be a factor wherein a promising pharmaceutical product fails to meet expectations. Successful brand leaders must understand how and when to deliver key messages to all audiences -- including internal stakeholders -- to realize best new product results.
This study is designed to help product teams/internal communication groups avoid common pitfalls in internal communications that can hinder brand performance. The research also identifies and details 10 best practices for internal brand and disease state communications. Also covered are tactics, strategies and channels that are most effective for pre-launch disease state communication to employees across all job levels, corporate functions and therapeutic areas.

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Best Practices for Internal Communications Regarding Brands & Disease State Report Summary

  1. 1. Best Practices for InternalCommunication Regarding Brands & Disease State Best Practices, LLC Strategic Benchmarking Research
  2. 2. CONTENTS:I. Research Overview 3II. Key Findings 6III. 10 Best Practices for Internal Disease State 12 Communications ExcellenceIV. Survey Response Data 64V. Insights & Recommendations 75VI. Research Participant Demographics 80 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  3. 3. Research Background: Objective & ApproachThis client-driven benchmark study was conducted to help bio-pharmaceuticalcompanies optimize internal disease state communication and education to supporta successful new product launch. Objective & Research Approach Key Topic Areas Probed The objective of this research was to Effective communication channels & use uncover best practices of veteran of new communication technologies pharmaceutical executives for all aspects Timing of communication activities by of communicating disease state information product development phase within their companies. The study gave particular attention to communication Advantages & disadvantages of employee challenges around products that are first in message segmentation class or that treat conditions that are Tracking internal message effectiveness largely unknown, previously unnamed, socially sensitive or frequently stigmatized. Preventing sensitive-information leaks Developing science-based communications The study involved a two-pronged approach – an online benchmark survey Using KOLs to influence employees instrument and in-depth interviews with Special challenges for products treating pharmaceutical communications and brand socially sensitive conditions or diseases, leaders. The survey focused on capturing first-in-class products, or new disease quantitative data, while interviews states or conditions harvested executive insights, process Needs creation marketing tactics descriptions, best practices and pitfalls. Success factors & guidelines3 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  4. 4. Participants Experienced >100 Total Product LaunchesThe study involved a total of 32 research participants who referenced their combinedexperience with more than 100 product launches at 22 different companies. Companies Represented by Research Participants: Products Discussed in Interviews Included: Job Titles of Interviewees: CMO For ED: Viagra, Cialis, Levitra SVP, Global Commercial Strategy For HPV: Gardasil VP Marketing For Restless Legs: Requip AVP, Alliance Development For Depression: Prozac, Cymbalta, Symbyax, Zyprexa Sr. Director, U.S. Communications For Osteoporosis: Fosamax, Boniva Sr. Director, Leadership & Development For PMS: Sarafem Sr. Dir., Strategic Business Analysis For Overactive Bladder: Detrol, Vesicare Executive Director, Managed Markets Director, Global Product Strategy For HIV: Epivir, Epzicom, Lexiva, Viramune, Trizivir, Ziagen Director, New Product Development For Fibromyalgia: Lyrica Director, Sales Training4 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  5. 5. Selected Key Findings & Insights The following key findings are among those that emerged from an analysis of the survey data and interview content. A core group of new technologies is expected to grow rapidly for internal communication and education purposes. More than 50% of all research participants stated they expect social networking, podcasts and online video to grow in use as critical tools for communicating internal disease state and product information. Interviewed study participants stressed the importance of using a variety of different communication channels to reach multiple internal audiences, but generally agreed that the most powerful channels are well-designed internal websites and talks by KOL or executive “experts.” Fewer than half of survey respondents indicated they formally measure internal communication effectiveness. However, interviewed participants do monitor message effectiveness informally through their everyday interactions with employees and hallway “buzz.” No more than 50% use any of the benchmarked segmentation types. Those used most frequently were job level, department, geography and office type. The least-used approaches, at 14-36%, were segmenting audiences by ethnic group, age group and gender.5 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  6. 6. III. 10 Best Practices for Internal Disease State Communications Excellence: 1. Name or Brand the Medical Condition 2. Put a Human Face on the Disease 3. Build Communications on Solid Science and Clinical Data 4. Use a Structured Approach to Communications and Education 5. Prepare for Rapid Response to Controversial Issues 6. Engage KOLs & Influencers Internally to Win Employee Support 7. Use Segmentation–Cautiously–to Customize Communication 8. Conduct Communication in Waves for Best Retention 9. Use a Mix of Channels—Including New Technology 10. Monitor Internal Messages for Effectiveness6 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  7. 7. 3. Use a Structured Approach to Communication & EducationEffective internal disease state communication requires a structured approach includingclear education objectives, tight processes for message control, and prepared responsesto product questions/challenges that employees encounter in social situations. Revise approach Clear objectives before as necessary to communication begins prevent keep pace with changes in Evolve inconsistencies that create Set Clear market and/ Communication Communication problems over time. or brand Priorities as Objectives at Align communication strategy. Market Beginning closely with all brand Changes messaging to support product. Structured Arm employees Approach Ensure consistent with script for Give Employees answering Exercise Tight message with all Communication questions/ Tools Message Control audiences to ensure challenges in comm. integrity. social situations. Communications will Carefully Qualify/Select leak. Don’t say anything Offer employees Designated internally you wouldn’t sensitivity training. Speakers want to see in print. Qualify and designate limited number of approved speakers. Consider assessing/developing speakers through role-playing exercises. 7 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  8. 8. 3-1. Set Clear Objectives before Internal Communication BeginsDevelop clear goals and positioning for internal as well as external communicationand education. Internal communication objectives are often overlooked but arenecessary to prevent message inconsistencies that create problems over time. Tips from the Field on Setting Internal Communication Objectives: Understand and align all communications with the positioning, goals and market definition for the brand. Coordinate with the brand team to set communication objectives that support brand goals. Do not undermine brand messaging by using a different set of terminology. For example, if the brand is to be positioned as a treatment for a condition, make sure messages use the word “condition” rather than “disease.” “People will remember the original messages. It’s hard to go back and find out all the things you screwed up and fix them after you start running tactics and pitching strategies.” –Interviewed Executive Director, Managed Markets8 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  9. 9. 7-1. Executives See Advantages & Disadvantages in SegmentationSegmenting the employee base for disease state communication enables customizationthat can make messages more memorable to specific groups. However, companies mustunderstand and balance the many pros and cons of segmentation before use. Pros Cons Can tailor message content to job function Segmentation of most messages may be for higher interest and better retention unnecessary and may weaken desired internal branding. Allows variable timing so that some groups receive message earlier than others (e.g., executives hear Creates complexity that increases with each the news first or Sales hears last) segment you create. Can modify frequency (e.g., groups that need Requires extra care to avoid confusing employees constant updates receive messages more often) who could receive multiple messages if they belong to multiple segments (e.g., young, female, executive, Can adjust depth to suit level of understanding (e.g., in Manufacturing) science information goes primarily to scientists) Could erode trust and credibility if employees realize Can reflect different regulatory environments (e.g., messages about the product vary. customize for specific regional regulations) May have unintended negative consequences Allows use of different communication channels for (e.g., Lilly first aimed Cialis only at men before different groups learning women made many medical decisions for Pros their partners) Cons Internal Segmentation 9 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  10. 10. 8-2. Timing of First Communication to Key Employee Groups Most companies start internal communication before NDA filing for all employee groups except Sales and Manufacturing. Sales communications often are delayed to prevent pre-approval selling. Up to 40% of respondents exclude manufacturing and administrative functions from communications before or after the NDA. Q. At what product development period do you recommend beginning new product/ disease state communications across all therapeutic areas to each of the following employee groups? Phase 3 to NDA NDA filing to Not Filing Launch Applicable Senior Leadership 73% 8% 19% Middle Management 50% 35% 15% Field Sales 19% 62% 19% Brand Team/ Marketing 69% 15% 16% Administrative Functions 32% 28% 40% R&D/ Clinical 84% 12% 4% Medical Affairs 92% 0% 8% Manufacturing Leadership 54% 15% 31% Manufacturing Line Personnel 28% 32% 40% Lower Level Employees 19% 62% 19% Administrative and Manufacturing are the groups most often N = 26 excluded from internal communications about new disease states.10 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  11. 11. Align Internal & External Messages to Navigate Key Challenges Aligning internal communications with external messages is one of the most important challenges companies face when communicating to employees about a new product. Complying with FDA regulations for pre-launch communication is also a top concern for pharma communicators educating employees about a new product. Q. Rate the importance of managing each of the following challenges and concerns when communicating to employees about a new product before and / or during launch? Highly Important Somewhat Important Not Important Aligning internal communications with 91% 9% 0% external messages Complying with FDA regulations for pre- 91% 0% 8% launch communications Educating employees on clinical/science 43% 52% 4% information Tracking internal 39% 52% Proportion of Respondents 9% message effectiveness Differentiating employee message for various job 26% 52% 22% functions and levels n = 24 Ratings 11 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  12. 12. Participants’ Launch Experience Spans Therapeutic AreasMany research participants were able to share lessons learned from multiple launches.More than 100 product launches informed benchmark partners’ insights, observationsand lessons learned. Abacavir EC-Naprosyn Hycet Myfortic Roxicodone Tri-Luma Actos Elidel Idamycin Nasarel Sarafem Trizivir Amprenavir Enablex Imitrex RT Niaspan Serevent Tygacil Avandia Epivir Inderal Octovit Seroxat Tykerb Buspar Epzicom Infasurf OTG Gel Sinemet CR Versed Cadla Eumovate Iresssa Oxytrol Spiriva Vesicare Capopten Exelon Lantis Paxil Stalivo Viagra Catafeam Exforge Lucentis Posicor Starlix Viramune Certican Cervidil Exubera Levitra Prevnar Symbyax Voltaren Cialis Faslodex Lexiva Pristiq Symbicort Xenical Climara Flonase Lorcet 10 ProQuin XR Tasmer Xolair Codiovan Flovent Lyrica Prozac TBD Zantac Combivent Flutide Maxipime Raptiva Tekturna Zelnorm Comtan Galvus Milnacipran Relistor Toradol Ziagen Cymbalta Gardasil Mirapex RLS Requip Trasylol Zofran Ponv Detrol Halfan Mobic Rocephin Treximet Z-Span Diovan Humira Monopril Romazicon Trilepta Zyprexa 12 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC
  13. 13. About Best Practices, LLC Best Practices, LLC is a research and consulting firm that conducts work based on the simple yet profound principle that organizations can chart a course to superior economic performance by studying the best business practices, operating tactics and winning strategies of world-class companies. Best Practices, LLC 6350 Quadrangle Drive, Suite 200, Chapel Hill, NC 27517 919-403-025113 Copyright © Best Practices®, LLC BEST PRACTICES, ® LLC