IntroductionWith a greater number of patients seeking health informationonline and engaging in two-way conversations with ...
Four Key Take-AwaysOur research identified four paradigm-shifting conclusions:1324Regulatory is no longer the primary barr...
The following details our learning aboutsocial media in the pharmaceutical sector– from the benefits, to the challenges, t...
BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIAARE UNDERSTOODInterviewees cite a variety of advantagesfrom their existing social media programs:A...
Gains insight into patient populationsSome have gained valuable learning into the lives of patientgroups through hosting o...
REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT IS NO LONGERTHE PRIMARY CONCERNFormanyexecutivesinthisresearch,theregulatoryenvironmentunderstandab...
Intervieweescitecorporatecultureandstrategybarriersfordelayingsocialmediaadoption:Decentralized cultureResearch participan...
Diffused control over social mediaIn some companies, social activities are divided into two lociof ownership: corporate is...
Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 10Limited and constrained resourcesThe respondents in our study frequently acknowle...
Researchparticipantswerepresentedwithalistof18specificchallenges. Theinternally-derivedchallengestendtorankhigherthan 	ext...
10RulesofEngagement:BuildingSocialConfidenceDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 12
10 Rules of Engagement: Building Social ConfidenceBased on our in-depth interviews with industry professionals,Weber Shand...
CHOOSE YOUR CHANNELS WISELY – Some interviewees portray industry colleagues asquick to jump into social media simply for t...
BRING OTHERS INTO THE FOLD – Working to gain the support of internal colleagues, especiallyfrom legal, regulatory and medi...
STAFF FOR SOCIAL CONFIDENCE – A large proportion of interviewees find the level of currentstaff experience to be lacking, ...
It is truly an exciting time for pharma communicators to build on the learning already achieved over thelast few years of ...
The extent of digital social confidence represented by ourinterviewees ranged from no current social media experienceto on...
www.webershandwick.comFor more information about Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharmaplease contact:Though...
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(리포트) Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma


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지난 2013년 6월 “Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma’라는 제목으로 웨버 샌드윅(Weber Shandwick)이 발표한 리포트는 현재 글로벌 제약회사에서 소셜 미디어 커뮤니케이션 활동을 책임지는 13명의 임원들과 마케팅 컨설턴트가 참여했으며, 제약회사들의 소셜 미디어 도입 현황, 도입 시 혜택, 극복과제, 실행 방안 등 주제별 주요 인사이트가 반영되어 있다.

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(리포트) Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma

  1. 1. DigitalHealth:BuildingSocialConfidenceinPharma
  2. 2. IntroductionWith a greater number of patients seeking health informationonline and engaging in two-way conversations with other patientsand caregivers via social media, the healthcare industry hasentered an exciting and game-changing era. In fact, 72% of onlineU.S. adults have looked for health information online in the pastyear, 1and a similar proportion of European online consumersare social health users. 2Moreover, a recent study found thatadoption of physician-only social networks by European doctorsalmost doubled in 2012.3It has never been more imperative for pharmaceutical companiesto engage with their audiences and become part of theconversation – by building valuable relationships with patientcommunities, participating in disease awareness, listening andgaining insight into physician, patient, and community needs.Weber Shandwick is widely known as a thought leader in digitalmedia and communications trends in the healthcare industry.To answer the frequently asked question of how to build thesocial confidence of healthcare companies in a heavily regulatedsector, Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharmaexamines what social engagement means to a rapidly-changingpharmaceutical industry.Patients are increasingly harnessingthe Internet to gain knowledge about healthconditions and even self-diagnose, leadingto a more empowered health consumerand contributing to more informed patient-physician discussions. In this new age ofparticipatory medicine, pharmaceuticalcompanies must start by understanding whathealth communities want and need, thenuse digital technologies to reach them withinformation that meets that need and doesnot run afoul of applicable regulations.Laura Schoen, President Global Healthcare, Weber ShandwickWhy We Did the ResearchBuilding upon a previous global quantitative survey jointlyconducted by Weber Shandwick with Forbes Insights,Socializing Your Brand: A Brand’s Guide to Sociability,Weber Shandwick wanted to better understand findings from thatstudy that suggested obstacles facing the pharma sector may bemore internally-constrained, yet surmountable, than previouslythought. With various internal functions, such as legal, regulatory,marketing and communications, involved in social mediadecision-making, responsibility for the medium and its strategicimplementation is complex.Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma explores howglobal pharmaceutical companies are using social media in theirexternal communications. A particular focus is on understandingspecific challenges that pharma communicators face in developingand executing social strategies, and identifying how professionalsare overcoming these barriers. The goal of this research is to helpthem leverage this important medium and ultimately get closer totheir audiences.How We Did the ResearchThis report presents learning from 12 in-depth telephoneinterviews conducted at the end of 2012 with senior in-housepharmaceutical executives responsible for social media decisionsand one marketing consultant with comprehensive industryexperience. Interviews were divided by regional markets,where we conducted four interviews with executives locatedin the U.S., four in Europe, three in Asia and one responsible forcommunications in Latin America. Where possible, differencesbetween these markets are summarized.Prior to the in-depth interviews, we interviewed healthcareprofessionals at Weber Shandwick to hear their perspective onsocial communications in the industry and to better understandpharmaceutical regulations by region.Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 21Fall, 2012 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project2Manhattan Research, Cybercitizen Health® Europe 20123Manhattan Research, Taking the Pulse Europe 2012
  3. 3. Four Key Take-AwaysOur research identified four paradigm-shifting conclusions:1324Regulatory is no longer the primary barrierto engagement:In lieu of clear guidelines, companies haverecognized that they must find ways to engage.It’s now more about “how” than “if.” So, whileregulations are a persistent concern, companiesare more challenged by internally socializing thestrategy, instilling confidence in the ability ofteams to make social engagement effective andaligning the right resources.Don’t underestimate the value ofsocial confidence:It is imperative to gain experience in using socialplatforms with distinct audiences. Pharmacommunicators are starting with small pilotprojects, often with listening and monitoring ofconstituent activities. Starting small, but startingsomewhere, is the name of the game in buildingorganizational confidence in this digital medium.ROI in an often unbranded space is uniquelychallenging for the pharma industry:Without the ability to directly correlate socialmedia activity to the bottom line, non-brandeddisease and corporate social efforts are difficultto value. However, pharma communicators areincreasingly recognizing that listening to patientcommunities is a powerful benefit of beingsocial. The insights that can be gained throughmonitoring and assessing social media postingsis akin to participating in a 24-7 focus group at afraction of the cost.In today’s “open 24/7” world, it is riskier tonot engage than to engage:Social engagement is too often deemed a businessrisk by pharma companies. Ensuing inaction oftenresults in brand invisibility which consumers findsuspect and which can have a negative effect onthe reputation of the company.It is the responsibility of pharma communicators to drive the industry’s social engagement. Pharma companies have been slowto recognize the valuable role communications, as a discipline, can play in building engaging relationships in brand or diseaseawareness communications. At times, social media has been thought of as the domain of regulatory personnel and marketing.However, well-crafted communications strategies aimed at engaging consumers and health stakeholders in meaningful dialogueultimately enhance brand and company reputation.Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 3
  4. 4. The following details our learning aboutsocial media in the pharmaceutical sector– from the benefits, to the challenges, toresolutions. We distill our learnings into 10Rules of Engagement that serve as a guideto pharma companies working to build theirsocial confidence.Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 4
  5. 5. BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIAARE UNDERSTOODInterviewees cite a variety of advantagesfrom their existing social media programs:Allows direct communicationswith audiencesMany appreciate the ability to communicate with patients andcaregivers in such a direct manner.“Social media is very important, because this is the firstopportunity that the pharma industry has had to really be ableto engage with groups of people we haven’t been able to before.The walls are down.”Director of New Customer Channels, European Commercial DivisionNotably, communicators emphasize that social engagementshould not assume a one-size-fits-all approach. While Facebookcontinues to be effective, especially for disease awareness andcommunity building, other specific social platforms offer uniquebenefits. For example, Pinterest and YouTube can effectivelycommunicate employee culture to job applicants while Twittercan help build a following among government and mediaaudiences with its simple and targeted features.Adds value to patient andphysician communitiesCommunicators recognize that social media is a platformwhere caregivers, physicians and especially patients exchangeinformation. As one interviewee observed, “People are helpingeach other and getting good value from the medium.” Somecommunicators are engaging in these online communities andcarving out a supportive role for themselves.Importantly, the social programs managed by theseinterviewees are driven by the needs of their communities andnot by the communication priorities of the pharma company.For example, one executive described how advanced cancerpatients can feel underserved by broader advocacy groupsand therefore the communicator developed YouTube videosfocused on coping strategies for this audience. The benefitsof this type of engagement are multifold, including a better-informed patient community, a sense of emotional support forall involved and goodwill towards the sponsor company.“As a company or industry with expertise in treatment andpatient education, we are actually one of the stakeholders– like nurses or moms of patients. We try to find a role thatis valuable for the community…If you look at traditionalmarketing practice, you try to find a platform and getyour message out. But, social media is another level ofengagement…It has taken time for companies to learn that.”Associate V.P. of Communications, European Business UnitShapes perceptionsOne global communications executive described how hercompany’s lack of social engagement was deemed a businessrisk by the corporate board of directors. Inaction had ledto misinformation about the company and its products thatlingered online. Correcting misperceptions and monitoringhas now become a priority at this company. Another digitalexecutive shared how her team is building greater trust amongkey audiences, including advocacy groups and governmentofficials, through regular tweets as well as transparent socialpolicies that clearly state the purpose of different platformsand rules of conduct.“Social media is very important from an issues managementperspective; we have to know what people are saying about usand work on how to reply.”Global Head of Communications, EuropeDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 5
  6. 6. Gains insight into patient populationsSome have gained valuable learning into the lives of patientgroups through hosting or monitoring of social communities.For example, one interviewee learned why patients were notcomplying with a regimen – a specific treatment producedanxiety for the patients and their families. This insightresulted in a company-sponsored education effort aroundthe advantages of the treatment and led to better patientoutcomes as well as business results. Digital communicatorswho have engaged in category-specific efforts believe thatsocial media can serve as a valuable market research tool.“From a medical perspective, we have lots of accumulatedinformation. But the more we talk with patients and doctors,we realize that these are people and they have their challenges,as well as fun parts to their lives…Traditionally, the waypharma supported patients was to work with doctors and thatwas it. You believed the patient would take the drug and thatwas it. But the more you understand patients, you realize theymay not be using [the drug] as prescribed or they may drop theprescription and they don’t share all their questions with theirphysician.”Director of New Customer Channels, European Commercial Division“First, you need to listen. Be humble if you really want tounderstand patients...You can do this in many ways – interviews,talk to nurses…Social media is one of my tools – it is one elementof a bigger picture and then once you know your patients, you candevelop solutions and programs.”Associate V.P. of Communications, European Business UnitExtends important messagesSome view social media as a complementary channel thatstrengthens key messaging programs. One company’s corepriority is to demonstrate how it serves as a trusted partner inhealth and education and therefore the communications teamuses Twitter to share proceedings from medical congresseswith healthcare professionals and journalists. Slideshare isalso considered to be an excellent and cost-effective resourcefor disseminating professional papers and presentations.Another company’s business unit regularly offers diseaseeducation on their corporate Facebook page and has alsofound that Twitter and YouTube work well together inpromoting one core message to important advocacy groups bybuilding followership and driving traffic to relevant content.Others have used YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to supporttraditional media relations.“We think Twitter, YouTube and Facebook all work in a holisticway of speaking with one strong voice.”Global Head, eCommunications and Social Media, U.S.-based Business UnitBENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ARE UNDERSTOOD Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 6
  7. 7. REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT IS NO LONGERTHE PRIMARY CONCERNFormanyexecutivesinthisresearch,theregulatoryenvironmentunderstandablypresentsseriousconsiderationwhendevelopingsocialstrategies. Yetitisperceivedasagivenorpriceofentryforthepharmaceuticalindustry. Mostintervieweesciteregulatoryissuesfirstwhendiscussingchallengestosociabilitybuttheyalsoreadilyoffersolutionsthathaveworkedforthem.Indiscussingindustryregulations,EuropeanintervieweesgenerallyarticulatedlessanxiousopinionsaroundthischallengethanthoseinAsiaandtheUnitedStates. AndwhilerulescanvarybyEuropeancountry–whereFranceisseenasparticularlystrictandGermanyandSwitzerlandlessso–thereappearstobeanoverallunderstandingofwhereEuropeanrulesfall. InApril2011,theUnitedKingdom’sPMCPA’sreleaseofQ&AshelpedresolvesomereservationsamongEuropeanintervieweesaboutthatmarket.AsiaPacificrespondentscharacterizeregulatoryissuesascomplicated.Forthem,requirementsdifferwithintheirwideregionalmarket,especiallybetweenmoreadvancedmarketssuchasJapanorAustraliaversusdevelopingones,includingChina. Still,asidefromadverseeventreporting,thesecommunicatorswerevagueaboutotherrequirementsthatpresentchallengestosocialactivity.IntheUnitedStates,brandanddisease-specificsocialcommunicationsareofconcernascompaniesawaitFDAguidelines,whichhavebeenexpectedsince2009.WhilehopefulthatguidancewillbeissuedbyaJuly2014deadlineimposedbyCongress,someintervieweesexpectanyrulingstobenon-binding(asweretheiroff-labelrecommendationspublishedinDecember2011)orevensomewhatvague.Withsuchanewandevolvingmedium,theseexecutivesdon’tbelievethatregulationscanremainrelevantforlong. ThespecificrulesthatgoverncurrentanxietiesintheAmericanmarketincludeadverseevents,firstusesubmissionrequirements,fairbalanceandoff-labelpromotionguidelines.Regardlessofgeography,adverseeventconcernsarementionedmostoftenbycommunicators,yetthefearmaybeoverstated. Withexperienceandresearchshowingthatlessthanhalfapercentofsocialmediamentionscontainanactionableadverseevent(AE)4,pharmacompanieshaverealizedthattheyareunlikelytobepresentedwithlargenumbersofnewAEs.However,whatremainsbothersomeisthedifficultyinresearchingoftenanonymousAEsreportedthroughsocialmediaanddemonstrating“goodeffort”indoingsotoregulators. Withoutclearguidanceonwhatconstitutesgoodeffort,communicatorsareconcernedabouttheinvestigativeworkinvolvedinevenasmallnumberofevents,especiallywithina24-hourreportingrequirement. Moreover,asanincreasingnumberofcompaniesstarttoseethevalueinlisteningtosocialdiscussionsoccurringoutsidetheirowndigitalproperties,itisunclearwhetherpharmacommunicatorsareresponsibleforclaimsmadeonnon-proprietaryplatforms.The adverseevent concern hasevolved beyondvolume. How muchof the Internetthey are liablefor is becomingthe next questionthat pharmacommunicatorswant addressed.Stacey Bernstein, Senior Vice President, Director ofU.S. Digital Health, Weber Shandwick4Visible Technologies“Yes – these are importantissues, but you just have to put inthe time to understand them andget them right.”Director of Communications, EuropeDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 7
  8. 8. Intervieweescitecorporatecultureandstrategybarriersfordelayingsocialmediaadoption:Decentralized cultureResearch participants portray how business divisions work insilos, with only limited consideration given to broader corporatecommunications priorities. As one interviewee stated, “Theyneed to build a presence in specific disease-related markets andthat is their focus.”An important consequence of this decentralization isminimal knowledge sharing company-wide. In fact, only one ofthe emerging market interviewees was able to describe largercorporate-wide or category-specific communications initiatives.It was clear how isolated those regions are in terms of their abilityto build upon existing activities and experience. In developingmarkets, interviewees feel particularly disadvantaged froma resource perspective, pointing to larger budgets enjoyedby corporate and central brand groups. One Asian executiveaddressed this challenge by bringing a digital expert from thecompany’s North American operations on a tour of Asian officesto share the benefits and how-to’s of their social strategy.Currently, a number of overarching internalbarriers hinder adoption of social media inthe pharma sector, and they all point to aneed for stronger internal alignment andunderstanding of the medium.Rachael Pay, Managing Director, Health, Europe, Weber ShandwickINTERNAL IMPEDIMENTSTO SOCIABILITYDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 8
  9. 9. Diffused control over social mediaIn some companies, social activities are divided into two lociof ownership: corporate is responsible for reputation issues,including IR, public affairs, employee recruiting/retention andmedia relations, while marketers – who are diffused throughoutbusiness units – are responsible for disease education andbrand communications.Execution of social programs is locally-driven, mostly at thecountry level, by various functional disciplines. Reasons forthis local management of social media vary. Some point tostronger experience in specific geographic markets (especiallythe United States) or resource allocation differences by regionand business unit. Others describe how communicationsmust be tailored to specific standards governing industrycommunications which vary by country. For example, privacyrules differ in Europe, necessitating one interviewee to disablecommunity registration functions of their custom socialplatform in some markets. And importantly, others suggestthat diverse information needs, cultural, language and socialcharacteristics are best addressed at a more local level.Further complicating the organization of social mediaresponsibilities, some interviewees shared how differentcorporate functions are vying for command over the medium.One interviewee with a regulatory background believes theirnewly-formed commercial function is best equipped for socialcommunications decisions while another believes PR andmarketing should not be privy to all results from social mediatracking so that pharmacovigilance issues can be properlymanaged. On the other end of the spectrum is the global headof communications for a large multinational, who is responsiblefor all social media risk management and is currently devising acompany-wide social policy.Another level of complexity is in developing markets for somepharmas, where distribution partners are responsible forcommunications (including disease education/advocacy) onbehalf of the pharmaceutical company, making decision-makingaround new platforms a challenge.What results from this multi-layered landscape, wheredifferent and sometimes competing players manage socialprograms, is an environment that lacks coordination andproduces inefficiencies. To begin addressing these issues, afew interviewees shared how their companies are beginningto consolidate overarching social decisions within eithercorporate communications or a commercial/operationalfunction at the centralized level. The role of these centralprofessionals will be to share a corporate vision, standards andrules governing social media as well as best practice examples.However, implementation of social programs will still remainthe purview of local staff.“Unsocial” orientation of uppermanagement, not CEOs necessarilyTwo-way dialogue and direct contact with the public representsa tectonic shift in thinking for the marketing organizationsof pharma companies. As one interviewee described, “Theseare heads of business units or marketing divisions that areexperienced, one-on-one physician sales experts or highlyskilled project managers. Communications and marketingwith a broader public are very new to them.” Accordingly, whenmaking decisions over how to allocate limited resources, pharmamarketers are wary of choosing what is new and unproven.This challenge does not appear to extend to most membersof the C-suite, however. Some interviewees point to overallsupport by the CEO and/or regional leadership for social media,while others describe minimal involvement by the company’sleadership in these decisions. None of the executivesinterviewed mentioned top corporate leadership as an issue.Aside from senior marketers, the other internal pockets ofresistance to social media can come from the legal, regulatoryand medical departments, a challenge that is unique to thepharma industry. Interviewees recognize that these functionsdo not often have the headcount available to address socialmedia communications, impeding social program execution.Those communicators who have more sophisticated socialstrategies have built strong relationships and support fromtheir legal and medical colleagues, but others still struggle indeveloping these important partnerships.INTERNAL IMPEDIMENTS TO SOCIABILITYIf pharma companies are going totruly leverage social media, internal legal,regulatory and medical functions will requireimproved understanding of the risks andbenefits of social channels as well as greatersupport to sustain their contributions todigital programming.Rachael Pay, Managing Director, Health, Europe, Weber ShandwickDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 9
  10. 10. Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 10Limited and constrained resourcesThe respondents in our study frequently acknowledged that they did not have the proper socialmedia architecture in place for supporting a world-class social initiative. Resources would berequired in three areas…STAFFING – Many recognize that executing longer-term, two-way programs involve largerstaffing commitments. For many, however, budget allocations are not yet adequate tocover this need.EDUCATING – Many believe that senior executives as well as colleagues responsible forregulatory approvals need to be educated on the basics of social media and how it canpositively support their company’s strategic objectives.HIRING AND TRAINING – Interviewees are concerned with the existing level of experienceamong staffers who are responsible for social programs. A few participants would liketo hire social media professionals but find it challenging to attract them to an industryoften viewed as unfavorable to young, entrepreneurial Web 2.0 professionals. Others areconcerned with the involvement of in-house IT staff in social media decisions.123INTERNAL IMPEDIMENTS TO SOCIABILITYLack of industry-specific ROI measures forsocial media programsInterviewees are struggling with how (if at all) standard metricssuch as number of ”likes” and followers can be linked to socialobjectives unique to the pharma industry such as engagementwith disease communities and support for patient journeys.Part of the ROI challenge is finding appropriate benchmarks,especially difficult when starting a new education or supportinitiative where the needs of a disease community are stillunknown. Communicators also mention the complexity oflinking social efforts to sales. Without click-through data, salescan be challenging to measure. Some are considering pre-postresearch surveys to explore attitudinal and behavioral changesresulting from social campaigns. Others are measuringthe quality of their social engagement, examining who isretweeting and the sentiment of those retweets. Anotherconsideration is whether to measure total engagement withall of the social channels employed in digital programming, orwhether each channel requires separate metrics.Interviewees believe that finding effective ROI metrics willsimplify the process of selling-in social communications tointernal stakeholders. This challenge is especially pressing forthose who have more advanced social media programs, as theybelieve that in order to sustain and grow their efforts, clear andrelevant measures of success will be required. Unlike consumergoods companies, pharma can’t use coupons or sweepstakesto tie social activities to sales. ROI becomes a lot morechallenging when you’re dealing with qualitative metrics.“Senior management asks for it, but trying to explain thetangible benefits of implementing a social strategy is hard.”Director of New Customer Channels, European Commercial DivisionDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 10
  11. 11. Researchparticipantswerepresentedwithalistof18specificchallenges. Theinternally-derivedchallengestendtorankhigherthan externally-drivenonesintermsofthedegreetowhichtheyimpedesocialefforts.Interestingly,internalchallengeswerementionedasespeciallyproblematicbythoseintervieweeswhohadexperiencewithgeneralpublic/consumersocialprograms.HIERARCHY OF SOCIAL IMPEDIMENTSDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 11NEUTRAL:Lackofsocialmediastructureorpolicy,whereresponsibilitiesandstandardsareclearlyestablishedorganization-wideDifficultyworkingwithinternallegal/regulatorydepartmentonsocialmediacommunicationsTheexpenseorcostinvolvedinexecutingasocialmediastrategyITinfrastructureandITabilitiesorknowledgetoexecuteonsocialmediaplatformsConcernoverknowingwhattocommunicateonaregularbasisConcernofantagonizingregulatorsordrawingtheircriticismMOST TROUBLESOME:Effectivelyengagingthecompany’sinternalstakeholders,suchaslegalormedicaldepartments,tosellintheneedandbenefitofsocial mediacommunicationsIdentifyingthemosteffectiveROImeasuresforsocialmediaprogramsInsufficientcommunicationsstaffingforsocialmediaprogrammingInsufficientinternalcommunicationsexpertiseinbuildingandexecutingsocialmediaprogramsTROUBLESOME:Theneedtomonitorandpotentiallyfilteroutcomments(suchasoff-labeldiscussions)postedinsocialmediaClarityoverwhatisandisn’tpermittedbygovernmentregulatorybodiesFearofmakingmistakes,incorrectlyreportingsomethingorinsufficientlyreportingsomethingwhenusingsocialmediaMonitoringandreportingadverseeventsConsumerprivacyordataleaksLackofseniormanagementsupportforsocialmediaClarityoverownershipofandresponsibilitiesforindependentopinionsvoicedonsocialmediaLackofacomprehensivesocialmediastrategythatcanladderupintoalarger,enterprise-widestoryLEAST BOTHERSOME:
  12. 12. 10RulesofEngagement:BuildingSocialConfidenceDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 12
  13. 13. 10 Rules of Engagement: Building Social ConfidenceBased on our in-depth interviews with industry professionals,Weber Shandwick recommends that pharma companies consider thefollowing strategies to maximize their social confidence:FOCUS ON THE CONTENT, NOT THE CHANNEL – Anything you can dooffline, you can do online, as long as your content adheres to currentregulatory standards. Companies have run afoul of regulators whenthey have not followed standards that apply to non-digital rules ofcommunication. Insuring that content adheres to established codes ofconduct, regardless of the medium, will build social confidence and allaythe anxieties that currently encumber pharma companies.START SMALL – Test the waters with focused projects – perhaps aroundcorporate goals, news and reputation issues – to gain an understandingof what works, how to begin finding audiences and building reach.Interviewees agree that starting small, such as with pilot programs, is keyto gaining the experience and assurance they need to build their digitalsocial strategies.PREPARE, BUT REMAIN FLEXIBLE – Many state that preparation isimportant, principally to anticipate problems and devise solutions.However, interviewees caution against devoting significant resource todeveloping a fully “buttoned-up” strategy, as it will change and evolveover time. They describe how they learned, adjusted and needed space toexperiment without the pressure of stringent expectations or metrics.“Be prepared to get little sleep for the first three months. Problems alwayscome around 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night…You learn as you go along; youlearn when to be quiet and when to intervene…It is quite a journey.”Director of New Customer Channels, European Commercial DivisionOne communicator described how a company-wide social strategy,currently in development, will encompass an overall vision for what socialmedia means to the company and specific rules of operating within existingregulations. However, it will also allow for flexibility to adapt by region orcountry, business unit or platform.Of the FDA warningletters issued topharmaceutical companiesin the social space, veryfew were actually related toan activity that was ‘social’in nature. In most cases,online violations would havesolicited a warning letter hadthe exact same tactic beenundertaken offline.Stacey Bernstein, Senior Vice President,Director of U.S. Digital Health, Weber Shandwick123Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 13
  14. 14. CHOOSE YOUR CHANNELS WISELY – Some interviewees portray industry colleagues asquick to jump into social media simply for the sake of “being there” and they advise on amore strategic approach, especially in choosing platforms. Facebook, for example, maynot be the most appropriate platform for some audiences or may be more effective in asupporting role.Communicators suggest initial monitoring and research of specific audience groups toexplore where they currently engage and what types of information they seek as well asshare. Developing a strategy without this “social listening” is not recommended. Additionalconsiderations around platform choice include the resources required for the developmentand maintenance (a long-term and generally larger expenditure) of each channel. One digitalmedia executive warns against developing communities on custom platforms instead ofusing existing applications such as YouTube or resources such as PatientsLikeMe.“There is a reason why you find competing gas stations on the same street corner – you gowhere the masses congregate.”Director, Digital and Social Media, U.S. Commercial DivisionENSURE TRANSPARENCY AND HONESTY – Interviewees insist on clear rules ofengagement and making them plainly visible on all social platforms. Some companiesmake a digital code of ethics available to both internal and external audiences. Otherspoint to “soft” and “genuine” tones as most effective with consumer audiences. Offeringinformation or support that is valued by a community such as detail on clinical trials orlifestyle advice demonstrates that a company cares more than simply “pushing” or “selling”a message.DEPUTIZE A PERSON OR TEAM, AND GIVE THEM FULL SUPPORT – Allocating staffresources for social endeavors and providing all appropriate training and support are key insuccessful social programming.“First, you need a dedicated person who can really focus on your channel(s). This can’tbe unowned.”Director of Digital Communications, U.S.Relatedly, empower social media staff with the authority to post by agreeing upon whatis and is not acceptable, and as the organization’s social confidence increases, movebeyond the need to pre-approve all posts or tweets. This model of empowerment worksin conjunction with clear rules of conduct provided to all employees, insuring protectionagainst rogue internal social posters.456Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 14
  15. 15. BRING OTHERS INTO THE FOLD – Working to gain the support of internal colleagues, especiallyfrom legal, regulatory and medical teams is critical. Additionally, including socially-supportiveleaders from business units in strategic planning will ease the process of resolving any issuesthat arise in social media programming. One communications executive described how aninternal audit became a “godsend,” producing a companywide mandate for social media wheresenior executives sit on a steering committee to oversee strategy development.RAMP UP INTERNAL EDUCATION EFFORTS – Sharing the benefits and best practices aroundsocial communications will go a long way towards gaining broad support for the medium. Someinterviewees are engaging outside experts to evangelize social platforms to internal companystakeholders. A few guidelines to consider include:–– Use case studies (from within the companyor outside) to show what works andimportantly, how to apply the learning toa company or business unit’s particularsituation. Share relevant examples – asone interviewee said, don’t showcase anonline community for a high-incidencecondition when considering rare-diseasecommunications. Share examples fromthe geographic region in question whenpossible. Describe the benefits of specificsocial platforms for specific audiencegroups (and how they use the platform).–– Share what has NOT worked or wherecompanies and brands have run intotrouble – especially on the regulatory front.Directly addressing these setbacks and howto avoid them will help alleviate trepidation.One interview stated his interest in learningfrom others so that… “if we have to fail, wefail quickly and only once.”–– Customize education efforts for yourinternal audience.—— For those who are unfamiliar with themedium, offer hands-on examples of whata platform is about and how it is used. Letsocially-inexperienced colleagues explorea Facebook page or Twitter feed for anorganization they may be interested infollowing (for personal or professionalreasons) to illustrate the value of the medium.Offer interactive opportunities.—— Consider the information needs of internalcontent approvers. For example, medical andregulatory staffs do not require training inactual rules and regulations but may benefitfrom demonstrations of how regulations workwith digital communications and what to lookfor during the approval process.–– Especially in developing markets wherepharma is less active in social media,provide statistics on the adoption of digitaltechnologies to demonstrate the potentialof social communications. Additionally,share the particulars of regulations inindividual markets and their implicationsfor social activities. Discuss how variousaudiences in the region are currently usingsocial media. Communicators in Asiaand Latin America want to understandthe overall social environment in theirrespective markets.78Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 15
  16. 16. STAFF FOR SOCIAL CONFIDENCE – A large proportion of interviewees find the level of currentstaff experience to be lacking, while others recognize that they require additional resources toexecute social media programs. Therefore, it is important to:CONTINUE PUSHING THE LIMITS OF ROI – While no one has answered the unique ROI challengesfaced by the pharma industry, it is imperative to persistently seek better ways to articulate theROI from social media. Consider:–– Offer ongoing training on companyguidelines and codes of conduct. Don’tassume that one session is sufficient.Supplement training sessions with updates.–– Identify internal and external resourcesthat can supply fresh and relevant contentfor social platforms. Cultivate multiplesources of content as access to a robustinformation pipeline will insure that socialchannels regularly engage their audiences.–– Similarly, determine which resources areneeded to implement a social monitoringprogram – this can be time-intensive andshould be considered upfront.–– Develop an employee attraction andretention strategy that demonstratesexciting opportunities for socially-skilledprofessionals. Consider ways that a young,entrepreneurial prospect could flourish ina digital communications role and shapejob descriptions to support individuals withsocial media skills. Research participantsare concerned about their ability to retaindigitally-savvy employees. Thus, it isimperative to work with internal HR staffor outside resources to help shape anenvironment where these professionalscan succeed.–– How to value the benefits of listening toaudiences and developing new marketinsights. Set up monitoring programs toget closer to important constituencies, andkeep track of actionable learning.–– Developing internal benchmarks tomeasure what different business units ormarkets have done to determine resourceallocations. Capture data such as overallcost of monitoring different platforms,average maintenance expenditures,average hit rate, share rate, etc.–– Taking into account the audience servedby social programs – their potential size,disease-state incidence, information needs.–– Participating in industry-wide initiatives tocompare data for benchmarking purposes.910Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 16
  17. 17. It is truly an exciting time for pharma communicators to build on the learning already achieved over thelast few years of digital social experimentation. It is not too late for those companies that have beenslower to engage the medium to reap the rewards of being social. Our research clearly demonstrates thatsome of the obstacles often cited against pharmaceutical social confidence are manageable and thosethat require greater energy derive from the internal cultures of pharma companies themselves. With thisknowledge, communicators can take steps to more fully inculcate social media into their organizations andlead them in establishing deeper relationships with important stakeholders that yield business success.–– Evangelize the value of socialcommunications to those who are new tothe medium and impact its implementation,including medical and regulatoryprofessionals.–– Disseminate successes and how-to’s acrossmarkets and business divisions to bypassthe decentralized operating culture thatprevents knowledge sharing at somecompanies.–– Recognize the critical pharmacovigilancepriorities involved in social programmingand work with relevant internal functionstoward a team approach in addressingthese issues. Additionally, monitoringthe regulatory environment for changesas well as industry trends and POVswill be important in demonstrating fullknowledge of this evolving environmentand equip communications teams forinternal discussions addressing relevantrequirements.–– Be more vocal in influential industryand marketing blogs, conferences andworking groups that address the digitalsocial activities and concerns of pharmacompanies.Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 17ConclusionGiventhediffuseownershipoversocialmediaatmanyglobalcompanies,communicationsprofessionalsmustdemonstratetheimportanceoftheirdisciplineinshapingsocialstrategyandimplementation.Notably,communicatorsshould:
  18. 18. The extent of digital social confidence represented by ourinterviewees ranged from no current social media experienceto ongoing, consumer-facing and two-way dialogue platforms.Four interviewees are actively managing disease-relatedsocial media platforms, three of which incorporate two-waydialogue features. Three additional interviewees describedtheir experience with corporate reputation-focused socialprograms, mainly targeting media, investors, governmentofficials and employees (current and potential). The threeAsian-based interviewees and fourth marketer responsible forLatin American operations are not currently engaging in anysocial media in their respective regions despite their interest inand active exploration of social possibilities.All of the digital communicators we spoke with described theirefforts as early-stage or experimental. Many believe they areat fairly rudimentary points in their social media experience,even if they have been managing active properties for overtwo years. These executives depict a careful and thoughtfulapproach to their use of social media, pacing themselves togain learning and tweak their activities as their efforts evolve.Additionally, very few express confidence, let alone expertise,in social strategy and implementation. Most feel they havedeveloped a strong understanding of what works for theirspecific audience(s) and how to begin planning for next-stageactivities. Revealingly, few interviewees were able to cite morethan one or two companies or information sources that theywere tracking to help inform their efforts.“We are proceeding carefully and reasonably slowly. We’velimited the number of channels so that we can give each oneenough time and effort to develop it in line with our strategy.”Director of Communications, Europe“Our social media strategy is lean. We’re not cautious; we’renot afraid of it. We’re evaluating it and doing cost benefitassessment...and we ask ourselves whether we’re doing itbecause of general consumer expectations or because we havesomething to say here.”Director of Digital Communications, U.S.Even if the social experience of these executives is in formativestages, each interviewee recognizes the significance of themedium for their communications strategies. Moreover,everyone believes social media will continue to grow inimportance for their company. Many recognize that keyindustry audiences will only increase their use of social mediaand interviewees also point to growing acceptance of andexperience with the medium within the industry.“We recognize that the web and digital channel is where peopleare going first to get their information; they’re not looking totraditional channels as much anymore.”Director of Digital Communications, U.S.“The need for people to be connected with others like themwon’t go away This is human nature… [social media is] bringinga lot of benefits to a lot of people”Global Head of Communications, EuropeAPPENDIX:RESPONDENT BACKGROUNDDigital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma / 18
  19. 19. www.webershandwick.comFor more information about Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharmaplease contact:ThoughtLeadership@webershandwick.comLaura SchoenPresident, Global HealthcareWeber Shandwicklschoen@webershandwick.comRachael PayManaging Director, Health, EuropeWeber Shandwickrpay@webershandwick.comStacey BernsteinSenior Vice President, Director of U.S. Digital HealthWeber Shandwicksbernstein@webershandwick.comBarbara BoxPresident, New York/ChicagoWeber Shandwickbbox@webershandwick.comStephen MorganExecutive Vice President, Regional Director, Asia Pacific HealthcareWeber Shandwicksmorgan@webershandwick.comLeslie Gaines-RossChief Reputation StrategistWeber Shandwicklgaines-ross@webershandwick.comChris PerryPresident, Digital CommunicationsWeber