Pharma companies, McKinsey highlight social media wins, insights

Some examples of how pharma companies are using social media to boost the drug industry’s 1 percent industrial annual growth rate.

care flow journey

A discussion hosted by Google and McKinsey & Co. about how the pharmaceutical industry could use social media to raise its miserable 1 percent industrial annual growth rate shed some light on different approaches to reaching consumers and physicians without running afoul of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The event commemorated the launch of the Pharma3D report by the companies.

Some of the strategies involved tapping into “micromoments” in the patient journey to the intelligent use of images and video in media campaigns to generate a subconscious emotional response from physicians and patients on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Consumers want a way to reach pharma on social media channels

Despite the mixed feelings people may have about pharmaceutical companies and advertising, the McKinsey report noted that some people want some way to contact pharma companies. “Patients are not just willing and able to share their healthcare experiences or post questions online. They seek out advice and want to listen and engage with a variety of resources to get the information they need. Pharma marketers should be part of these conversations, at the very least as an observer.”

Three big issues that hold pharma companies back

The report highlighted a few areas where pharmaceutical companies stumble. They don’t appreciate the change in the patient and healthcare provider environments or don’t believe or know the business case. The organization may not be willing to make a large enough substantial enough investment in transforming. Third, they act in product silos, with each silo at a different level of maturity.

Using video to convey patient pain to physicians I was fascinated and a little surprised to hear one pharmaceutical company talk about  how it sought to make physicians more aware of just how much pain postherpetic neuralgia can cause. The side effect shingles can create a burning sensation so strong it’s unbearable for patients to have anything contact their skin. So how can physicians better understand that symptom to empathize with their patients? One company shared its perspective that dignified images of nude, old people could be much more effective to convey pain and discomfort than, say, fire or a flame. Interesting.

When in doubt, pet pics

GSK’s totes adorbs Twitter marketing campaign for its allergy medication, Flonase, called #FallofFame starred Internet pet celebrities competing in a sweepstakes. Participants were asked to upload content through Twitter and other social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine, or Youtube to qualify for a $5,000 prize. Doug the Pug, for example, “penned” blog posts that shared his perspective on what it’s like to live with humans suffering from allergies. It sounds cringeworthy enough to make one self medicate. But it’s an interesting approach to shake up perspective and reinforce a message enlisting empathy.