Technology brands are lifestyle statements today. Geek chic is fashionable. But as PRs, we still need to be creative and original in our storytelling to make technology relevant and compelling for consumers.
Our approach has always been to marry technology with immersive ‘show and tell’ storytelling. With the recent launch of the new Nokia Lumia 925, we invited journalists to enjoy the beautiful (and fun!) Outlook music festival in Croatia, to experience for themselves the benefits and features of the handset in an environment that helped to shape a story.
The campaign was a real success, with coverage showcasing the phones key features; from low level lighting, Windows Phone OS and apps to the Skydrive as a source of storage. And of course, we also had a lot of fun in process!
If you are struggling with bringing your technology device to life, here’s some of our top tips for immersive product and feature story-telling:
Put your product in an unexpected setting
Create a scenario for the product briefing that takes influencers out of the office and into an unexpected setting. Outlook Festival was set on the beautiful coast of Croatia, next to abandoned castles and forts.
Content is king
Your gizmo might have the best zoom/flash/speaker on the market but think about ways to make it relevant. The music festival had reams of natural beauty, amazing lighting and crowds. We were also able to gain behind-the-scenes access to performances, providing media with ‘exclusive’ images which make great copy.
Work with a third party
Getting an expert, ideally unconnected to the brand, to help explain your product, creates a deeper sense of authenticity. It can also help by providing third party quotes to support in-depth reviews. We worked with the enigmatic Dan Medhurst, one of the festival’s official photographers who had previously photographed the Beckhams.
Create a fun challenge
This is a great way to get people to use the product in a natural way. Make the challenge light-hearted and fun. You can’t force people to take part, but a simple prize or incentive will help.
Make it social
If your brand has a Twitter or Facebook presence, make sure people are aware of it so that they can Tweet their experience. If the product is part of a bigger campaign with an existing hashtag, use that too, although don’t just create a hashtag for the sake of it.
No hard sell
No one likes being told what to do. Give people a reason to want to talk about your product. If you follow the above pointers, that should come naturally.
James Rowe, Account Manager
The mantra of ‘no decision about me without me’ is being taken increasingly to heart by patients who are bombarded by daily news reports about questionable medical research and health scares. More and more of them go straight to the internet for opinions on every drug, every medical intervention – and for details of every related error or side-effect.
The information age has undoubtedly presented doctors with the challenge of confrontations with patients who are terrifyingly well informed, but equally annoying for doctors, are those who have been misinformed by the internet; not to mention the ones who parrot back self-diagnoses of dysthymia, dysphagea, uraemia, or any other medical term they were never meant to understand, let alone use…
Although there are thousands of research papers on the new concept of patient-centred care, there are very few on the strange phenomenon of the complete deafness which afflicts almost every sick person when they are being given information about their diagnosis and proposed treatment.
The expectation that patients can and should be actively involved in their care, conflicts with this basic fear of illness and the desire to hand decision-making over to someone who knows what to do.
However, if information is handed over in the right way, it can make a huge difference and dramatically improve the way patients deal with their own health and illness.
There is evidence particularly from cancer treatment that outcomes are better if patients understand and can visualise exactly what a drug is doing. This knowledge could be used to explain the mechanisms of virtually any treatment using graphics and simple terminology, but that rarely happens.
Most explanations of diseases and drug mechanisms, as far as they are available, appear on the websites of patient support groups. Although some are good, some are simply scary, and there is often serious misinformation spread via social media.
It is unlikely that British patients will turn into the ‘more is better’ healthcare consumers of America or continental Europe, who love to boast of their consultations with multiple specialists. But the existence of the NHS has had the undesirable consequence of encouraging people to think they can abuse their bodies with any kind of unhealthy lifestyle, and there will always be a free supply of soothing pills for gastric reflux, chest pain, or the complications of diabetes.
Encouraging them to understand and take charge of their own health has to be a good thing. There is no question that the door is now wide open for pharmaceutical companies to provide authoritative information about disease processes and treatment mechanisms. If their treatments are being sold into the publicly funded health service, it is arguably their duty to do so.
Lois Rogers, former health and social affairs editor, The Sunday Times
If you enjoyed this post, and would like to see others in the series following on from the launch of our #HealthReport, ‘A prescription for Healthcare Marketing in the Consumer Age’, please follow the below links:
- From Product to Patient featuring Dr Henry Purcell
- The Consumerisation of Healthcare featuring Tim Evans
- Digital & Social Media: A Pharma Opportunity? featuring Charlotte McEleny
- Selling Social Media Internally featuring Felix Hemsley
For more information, please email: HWReport@3-monkeys.co.uk
In our fourth blog following on from the launch of our healthcare report, ‘A Prescription for Healthcare Marketing in the Consumer Age’, we offer further practical advice to those marketers who feel challenged in adopting social media into their place of work.
For those of us who ‘get’ social media, it can be hard to grasp the mindset of those marketers who aren’t yet practioners or who simply challenge the value of investing their time in social.
So what can be done to ‘sell social’ to business stakeholders within an organization – especially the more regulated industries like healthcare, where we know there is a reluctance to adopt? There are a wealth of options to consider, but the following points make for a concise framework to help build the case for social media investment.
Reach more people organically: social media tools such as blogs, community networks and forums are more effective in reaching the millions online than a traditional website because they’re driven by peer sharing, harnessing your consumers to create visibility for your product or service.
Social media can save valuable time and money: for example, in market research (where polls and surveys can be swiftly rolled out and promoted) and in customer service, reducing customer service call levels and telephony hardware investment.
The investment is largely in time, not in third-party software: platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WordPress are free to use – and whilst some premium offerings require funding, the initial phase of learning and growth can be as affordable as you want to make it.
Don’t miss vital, FREE intelligence: as much as social media is about engagement, it is a great way to ‘listen’ in real time and harness invaluable insights from media, customers, target audience and competitors – such as how your rivals are perceived, whose marketing campaigns are working well and where customers are in the purchase process…
More effective lead nurturing: business teams can identify, qualify and converse with new prospects and warm leads, rather than relying on more traditional approaches such as telesales cold calling, which are becoming increasingly ineffective.
Position your business as the go-to expert in its field: it is one thing to say you’re an expert but another to be acknowledged as one. Through social media and especially blogging, brand credibility can be bolstered through guest postings from recognised industry spokespeople, as well as key members of your own management team. Such openness also helps build bonds of trust with consumers in an age of increasing mistrust towards some of our biggest institutions and brands.
Be at the core of the industry, not just ‘another’ name: by interacting and participating in discussions, sharing others’ content and ultimately being involved on various fronts, you can become an integral part of industry discussions and be relied upon to give valuable, considered and reasoned contributions.
Just like social media itself, selling the concept of social media within an organisation is one of teaching and learning and won’t be achieved overnight. Remember though, the business goals of your organisation should be consistent across all channels – and this must be reflected at the core of any social media strategy. Put these objectives into the context of how social media can directly help to attain them and you’re likely to be pushing at an open door!
Next week we will post our final Health + Wellness blog in the series, ‘The Last Word’, so please keep an eye on @3MonkeysPR for more news on that. If you have missed any of the earlier blogs, please take a look at the links below:
- From Product to Patient: http://www.3-monkeys.co.uk/from-product-to-patient/
- The Consumerisation of Healthcare: http://www.3-monkeys.co.uk/the-consumerisation-of-healthcare/
- Digital and Social Media: A Pharma Opportunity: http://www.3-monkeys.co.uk/digital-and-social-media-a-pharma-opportunity/
Felix Hemsley, Digital Director
The recently-launched 3 Monkeys report, A Prescription for Healthcare Marketing in the Consumer Age, describes in its introduction a UK pharma communications environment that has been drastically changed by the prevalence of online and social media.
By that, we mean drastically changed in two ways:
- firstly, that UK consumers are now often taking an ‘internet first’ approach to diagnosis or treatment – through search engines, online resources (think Netdoctor or NHS Direct), patient associations and social platforms, primarily Facebook and Twitter;
- secondly, that the ubiquity of online media and in particular the huge amount of time consumers spend on social, presents a new marketing imperative in which Pharma companies simply have to ‘get social’ in order to talk effectively to their public and gain relevance and share of voice in an increasingly noisy world.
The latter point is backed up by our research findings: 89% of healthcare professionals find the marketing landscape more challenging than five years ago; 38% are planning to use both owned and earned online channels in the next twelve months, but a huge majority are concerned about the potential pitfalls of doing so. 77% of respondents cited ‘rules and regulations’ as a barrier to adoption and 57% nervousness about adverse events.
Charlotte McEleny, Associate Editor of digital trends blog 12Ahead.com points out in her video (please see below) that accompanies this blog post, that there is a significant element of head-in-the-sand occurring in the industry: “if I don’t get involved, I won’t get in trouble”. But she also points out the importance of advance planning, of putting appropriate processes in place and – more fundamentally, of addressing the social ‘knowledge gap’ from which such fear naturally extends.
Regulatory guidelines prohibit the promotion or discussion of a medication or its attributes in social media channels. So what’s the solution? Put simply, it’s a combination of two ingredients.
The first is a ‘marketing mind-flip’ – don’t try to engage with your consumers by promoting your product, engage with them instead by empathising with the condition and by building a supportive community around that – no matter whether it’s a common cold or something more serious and long-lasting.
At the ‘lighter’ end, Nurofen’s UK Facebook page is a great example of this. With a healthy quarter of a million fans, the content is predicated on ‘enjoying a life without pain’ – whether that’s through team sports, dance, yoga, cycling, surfing, or more. They’re also running the Big Lives Trust, a social campaign in which they’ll financially reward a deserving fan who needs a helping hand to achieve their dreams – as decided by a social vote from their peers.
Further along the scale, Forest Labs, the makers of Exorex, the OTC psoriasis treatment, have recently engaged 3 Monkeys and we’ve created a downloadable e-book, ‘Everyday Psoriasis’, with great contributions from bloggers and public personalities who describe the ups and downs of living with the condition in ways that are by turns thought-provoking, entertaining and useful. The e-book is a great example of how to drive saliency with psoriasis sufferers and land Exorex as the brand that is ‘on-condition,’ without ever promoting or discussing the product itself. We’ve also just launched a Twitter channel to promote the e-book and will shortly be taking it onto mobile – a fully-integrated digital and social campaign.
Whilst it’s unrealistic to expect that POMs (prescription-only medicines) can compete effectively in social in the near future, these examples show a pathway to success for the majority of Pharma brands.
The second ingredient in our combination is rigorous process planning – as Charlotte mentions in her video; I’ve listed some key pointers in our Report:
- ‘About’ copy and community guidelines – take time to lay out the terms under which consumers may use your channels. Explain that they must visit your website to find out about product and that product / retail queries may not be answered. Tell them what your social channel is there to do – for example, provide advice about an illness or condition (rather than promoting your product directly)
- Content planning – create as much ‘proactive’ content in advance as you can; limit ‘reactive’ content to (appropriately) humorous, inspirational, useful or timely material (provided that it’s consumer-centric and embodies the brand essence, not product attributes)
- Listening and responding – establish an adverse event escalation procedure well in advance of any social launch and make sure that it’s adhered to. The overriding rule is respond on social, then take the conversation off social (by providing a phone number or email address). Use ‘always-on’ listening tools to make sure that you can react immediately when necessary.
The next blog post in this series, on 8 November, will describe how to go about selling social internally within a Pharma business and if you’d like to see the two existing posts in this series, please click through on the below links:
Blog 1: From Product to Patient
Blog 2: The Consumerisation of Healthcare
Hugh Burrows, Head of Digital
The classic business definition of a consumer is an end user who has the willingness, opportunity and resources to purchase a product or service. Consumers are the foundation of most countries’ economies, and their needs and wants drive innovation in every domain of our daily lives… except, perhaps, healthcare.
In the healthcare industry, physicians call consumers “patients”, health insurance plans call them “members”, and pharma companies refer to them as “users” or “subjects” if they are involved in a clinical trial. Many of the designations in healthcare infer that—unlike other industries—individuals play a primarily passive or reactionary role.
But as our report released this week (A Prescription for Healthcare Marketing in a Consumer Age) argues, experts from all fields of healthcare, including health policy experts, economists and many others are now challenging the healthcare industry’s disregard of consumerism. Patients are beginning to behave much more like consumers and making or demanding to make active decisions about their own health management.
This is supported by a recent report by Deloitte. Here the authors reason that costs would be lower, service better and quality substantially improved if the industry repositioned itself as a consumer market. Among consumers, there is a widening gap between their unmet needs and the system’s performance.
Five years ago, findings from Deloitte’s first consumer survey (2008) revealed that users of healthcare systems in the developed world are “neither patient nor patients”. Today they are consumers. Changes in the healthcare landscape have accelerated consumers’ impatience and desire for change; industry stakeholders need to be prepared to deliver.
Marketing Consultant and former BT Group Marketing Director, Tim Evans, also give his views on the effects of consumerisation on the healthcare industry below:
Anna Speight, Director, Consumer & Brand
Following the launch of our #HealthReport earlier this week, ‘A Prescription for Healthcare Marketing in the Consumer Age’, this is the first of a series of five blogs that will look to further explore the evolving face of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.
At the centre of the report is a belief in making the patient the focal point for marketing activity, so it was somewhat disappointing to see this week the announcement that the NHS Direct service is to close. This is a double tragedy for patient care. It hurts because what was widely acknowledged as a fast, practical resource for worried patients all over England, allowing anyone to access expert advice over the phone and internet, will disappear. But it also means that many of those who previously could be handled and helped remotely, will now have to either see their GP or go the local hospital – systems that are currently so overloaded they are close to collapse.
But awful as it surely is, there are bound to be some winners as well as losers here. As our report suggests, there is already a significant move by the general population towards online and social media for answers to their health issues. Admittedly our nationwide surveys show that the majority of patients still trust their doctor above all others, but it also reveals that most will validate the information given to them on websites. And for younger people, the internet is now their first stop when any illness rears its head.
Could it be possible we will look back at this week from the future and recognise it as the defining moment when online managed to truly overtake offline (face to face) health interactions? With literally millions now having to make the decision about having to wait to see their GP or queue for hours in the A&E, it’s not unlikely that a large proportion will click to Wikipedia, NetDoctor.co.uk, or NHS Choices instead.
Another interesting implication of NHS Direct’s disappearance may be that it will further increase the importance of online medicine over face to face medicine for commercial organisations such as pharmaceutical companies. Our survey shows they are certainly disenchanted with HCP education programmes as a means to influence patient care, and Dr Henry Purcell, Editor of the British Journal of Cardiology, further builds on this point below.
So when it comes down to it, there must now exist an unparalleled opportunity for pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies. Patients are now being forced out of the NHS’s cloak of support and they will be seeking alternative sources of health information and advice. This is a gauntlet that’s surely too tempting not to pull on!
Next week we’ll be blogging about the impact of consumerisation on the healthcare system, and why pharma brands should be looking to embrace social media, not running scared. We also have a Twinterview planned for Thursday October 31st, from 12.30pm, with myself and Charlotte McEleny, Associate Editor at leading online digital publication, 12Ahead.com. If you have any questions about the report, or healthcare communications in general, please do join us online from 12.30pm.
Keep an eye on #HealthReport & @3MonkeysPR for more updates.
Martin Godfrey, Managing Director, 3 Monkeys Health + Wellness
Today sees the launch of our new Health + Wellness industry report, ‘A Prescription for Healthcare Marketing in the Consumer Age’.
Since launching our Health + Wellness practice in May, we have become increasingly aware of a growing appetite among pharmaceutical and other healthcare brands to modernise their communications. There is a massive demand for more creativity, more digital-led activity and a change of attitude to communications in general. We believe this report reaffirms that thinking.
If you are involved in the healthcare industry, be it as a communications professional, marketer, healthcare professional, journalist or regulator, then this report is for you.
We’ve called it a ‘prescription’ because we also acknowledge that few stakeholders within the industry have yet to offer much practical advice to address some of the aforementioned issues; this report was created to give practical recommendations. We also wanted to ensure the report was not just the lone and potentially biased voice of the agency, so we invited industry experts including Dr Henry Purcell, Editor of the British Cardiovascular Journal, Bal Singh, Editorial and Digital Development Director at Netdoctor.com and Jenny Hope, Medical Correspondent at the Daily Mail to share their thoughts too.
We hope some of the recommendations prove valuable to you and of course welcome any feedback or thoughts you may have on the report in general.
Please click HERE or on the image below to read the report.
In addition to the report, we also have planned a series of blog posts to further build on its content and a Twinterview with myself and Charlotte McEleny, Associate Editor at leading online digital publication 12Ahead.com. This will take place on October 31st from 12.30pm. Please follow @3MonkeysPR and #HealthReport on Twitter for more information.
Enjoy the report.
Martin Godfrey, Managing Director, 3 Monkeys Communications, Health + Wellness
Old jokes never die.
Indeed in the age of the internet, it’s not only failed comedians and dads trotting out well-worn punchlines, it’s every Tom, Dick and Harry with access to Facebook or 9gag.
During my university days, one of the most frequently repeated (and least often laughed at) jokes consisted of the following:
The graduate with a Science degree asks, “Why does it work?”
The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, “How does it work?”
The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, “How much will it cost?”
The graduate with an Arts degree asks, “Do you want fries with that?”
This week, we helped to launch a piece of academic research to effectively put pay to that notion. The Brighton Fuse study for the first time finds new deep empirical evidence of the value Arts and Humanities graduates to the UK’s economy.
The research consisted of a two-year piece of work to map, measure and analyse the Brighton creative cluster – examining its businesses to see what made it a success.
What the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex found was that organisations that fuse arts and humanities skills with digital technology grow ten times faster than the national average, and lead all other organisations in all types of innovation.
This has a plethora of implications across business, education and policy.
For example, does the traditional focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects in education require reappraisal in light of the findings? And what of cluster policy given Brighton’s ability to utilise existing geographic and demographic conditions upon which to base its success?
It is a fascinating area of study. For more information take a look at the summary and policy recommendations here or the full report here or follow the debate on twitter #BrightonFuse
Most of all, I’d like to see some changes to the traditional perceptions of arts and humanities. While old jokes never die, it’s probably fair to say this one needs a rewrite.
Paul Thompson, Account Director