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Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma

Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma

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Published by Weber Shandwick
Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma
Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Weber Shandwick on Jul 17, 2013
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02/17/2014

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Digital Health:
Building SocialCondence in Pharma
 
Introduction
With a greater number o patients seeking health inormationonline and engaging in two-way conversations with other patientsand caregivers via social media, the healthcare industry hasentered an exciting and game-changing era. In act, 72% o onlineU.S. adults have looked or health inormation online in the pastyear,
1
and a similar proportion o European online consumersare social health users.
2
Moreover, a recent study ound thatadoption o physician-only social networks by European doctorsalmost doubled in 2012.
3
It has never been more imperative or pharmaceutical companiesto engage with their audiences and become part o 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 requently asked question o how to build thesocial condence o healthcare companies in a heavily regulatedsector,
Digital Health: Building Social Confdence in Pharma
examines what social engagement means to a rapidly-changingpharmaceutical industry.
 
Patients are increasingly harnessingthe Internet to gain knowledge about healthconditions and even sel-diagnose, leadingto a more empowered health consumerand contributing to more inormed patient-physician discussions. In this new age oparticipatory medicine, pharmaceuticalcompanies must start by understanding whathealth communities want and need, thenuse digital technologies to reach them withinormation that meets that need and doesnot run aoul o applicable regulations.
Laura Schoen
, President Global Healthcare, Weber Shandwick
Why We Did the Research
Building 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 ndings rom thatstudy that suggested obstacles acing the pharma sector may bemore internally-constrained, yet surmountable, than previouslythought. With various internal unctions, such as legal, regulatory,marketing and communications, involved in social mediadecision-making, responsibility or the medium and its strategicimplementation is complex.
Digital Health: Building Social Confdence in Pharma
explores howglobal pharmaceutical companies are using social media in theirexternal communications. A particular ocus is on understandingspecic challenges that pharma communicators ace in developingand executing social strategies, and identiying how proessionalsare overcoming these barriers. The goal o this research is to helpthem leverage this important medium and ultimately get closer totheir audiences.
How We Did the Research
This report presents learning rom 12 in-depth telephoneinterviews conducted at the end o 2012 with senior in-housepharmaceutical executives responsible or social media decisionsand one marketing consultant with comprehensive industryexperience. Interviews were divided by regional markets,where we conducted our interviews with executives locatedin the U.S., our in Europe, three in Asia and one responsible orcommunications in Latin America. Where possible, dierencesbetween these markets are summarized.Prior to the in-depth interviews, we interviewed healthcareproessionals at Weber Shandwick to hear their perspective onsocial communications in the industry and to better understandpharmaceutical regulations by region.Digital Health: Building Social Condence in Pharma
/ 2
1
Fall, 2012 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Lie Project
2
Manhattan Research, Cybercitizen Health® Europe 2012
3
Manhattan Research, Taking the Pulse Europe 2012
 
Four Key Take-Aways
Our research identied our paradigm-shiting conclusions:
1324
Regulatory is no longer the primary barrierto engagement:
In lieu o clear guidelines, companies haverecognized that they must nd ways to engage.It’s now more about “how” than “i.” So, whileregulations are a persistent concern, companiesare more challenged by internally socializing thestrategy, instilling condence in the ability oteams to make social engagement eective andaligning the right resources.
Don’t underestimate the value osocial confdence:
It is imperative to gain experience in using socialplatorms with distinct audiences. Pharmacommunicators are starting with small pilotprojects, oten with listening and monitoring oconstituent activities. Starting small, but startingsomewhere, is the name o the game in buildingorganizational condence in this digital medium.
ROI in an oten unbranded space is uniquelychallenging or the pharma industry:
Without the ability to directly correlate socialmedia activity to the bottom line, non-brandeddisease and corporate social eorts are dicultto value. However, pharma communicators areincreasingly recognizing that listening to patientcommunities is a powerul benet o beingsocial. The insights that can be gained throughmonitoring and assessing social media postingsis akin to participating in a 24-7 ocus group at araction o the cost.
In today’s “open 24/7” world, it is riskier tonot engage than to engage:
Social engagement is too oten deemed a businessrisk by pharma companies. Ensuing inaction otenresults in brand invisibility which consumers ndsuspect and which can have a negative eect onthe reputation o the company.It is the responsibility o 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 o as the domain o regulatory personnel and marketing.However, well-crated communications strategies aimed at engaging consumers and health stakeholders in meaningul dialogueultimately enhance brand and company reputation.Digital Health: Building Social Condence in Pharma
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