All summer, I've been watching a nearby farm's crop of sunflowers grow and reach for the sun...In taking some pictures this weekend, I couldn't help but notice all the bees busy pollinating these sunflowers. Interesting, it is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honey bee. (Wikipedia) How does this relate to Pharma and Social Media Networks?
Bees may be solitary or may live in various types of communities. The most advanced of these are eusocial colonies found among the honey bees, bumblebees, and stingless bees.
Eusociality (Greek eu: "good/real" + "social") is a term used for the highest level of social organization in a hierarchical classification.
Reproductive division of labor (with or without sterile castes)
- Overlapping generations
- Cooperative care of young
So where do we humans fit in? How social are we really? Is Social Media a close cousin of Eusociality?
1. Division of Labor: Social Media pundits often say that social media actually helps us to be more efficient by reducing overlap of work and creating more effective division of labor... "Social media is not a waste of time; it actually makes people more productive. We no longer look for the news or things of interest-they find us," says Erik Qualman in his new book Socialnomics. How many patients prefer to learn from each other? Trust advice from friends, family and other patients? How much time does this save each new patient or their family?
2. Overlapping generations: Chris Anderson's groundbreaking book, The Long Tail, describes the ability of the Internet and Social Media to easily and effectively service small interest groups...to reach and impact people with common interests (and overlapping generations) vs. the traditional demographic targeting of mass media. Even without the Internet, overlapping generations has existed for centuries in social communities, bonding common interests passed down by word of mouth...When sickness takes us, we share a common bond with others--having less to do with age and more to do with common medical experience and learning potential of patient and/or family caregiver...
3. Cooperative care of young: I'm a huge believer in the common African proverb: "It takes a community/village to raise a child"...or to raise a new generation of marketers and community builders? Social Media is all about original content, learning and sharing what we learn from others and staying in touch with the people that we trust and can help us care for ourselves and our families...How does social media help you care for others?
So, if insect pollination accounts for 1/3 of our food supply, how much do we think social media connections accounts for in our economy?
According to Erik Qualman's Socialnomics: it's no longer about the economy stupid...
It's all about a people-driven economy, stupid...
Pharma continues to take 'baby steps' into the world of social media--What are Pharma's next big steps to get closer to a people-driven economy? Sounds to me like social media is only part of the answer. Pharma must also include a move to greater, genuine patient-centered marketing...putting the needs of the consumer and their family at the center of decisions throughout clinical development and commercialization, and encouraging greater dialog and shared responsibility between the doctor and their patient...
Think about using only your arms to crank 528,000 revolutions of your pedals to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro!
(click on the widget above to watch the video and participate in helping Chris to reach his dream)
While this blog is usually focused on pharma, healthcare 2.0 and consumer marketing...Today, I'm writing to help out a friend, Chris Waddell, who is undertaking a project to help countless other disabled people [estimated at 600 million globally and nearly 1 in 10]. Chris is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the plight, and potential, of the global disabled community. He is seeking contributions to fund both his climb and the making of a documentary about his climb. What makes Chris's undertaking and leadership so compelling is that he himself is a paraplegic. [Learn more about Project One Revolution]
"I'm climbing this mountain and making this film because the world doesn't see me and other people like me. It doesn't see our potential--only our limitations...The climb is a metaphor for my efforts to bring visibility to the disabled of the world, particularly the disabled in developing countries like Tanzania, where they are hidden away--living shortened lives of darkness and isolation, and all because their culture believes they are cursed, that they are useless...", says Chris.
Despite being a promising young ski racer at college, Chris broke his back in a freak ski accident twenty years ago, but did not let this slow him down. He went on to revolutionize the sport of monoskiing and become the most decorated male skier in Paralympian history, winning thirteen medals, including five gold medals. Outside Magazine asked, "Could [Chris] be the World's Greatest Athlete?" Skiing has named Chris one of "The 25 Greatest Skiers in North America". All this without the use of his legs. [Having skiied with Chris last year, I can tell you, he's pretty amazing to watch, and faster than a speeding bullet...As much as my 12 year old and I tried, we could not come close to keeping up with Chris...]
Chris' athletic accomplishments are matched by his commitment to help the disabled and motivate individuals to rise to their full potential.
Please check out the One Revolution link to learn more about the Mt. Kilimanjaro project and how you can be part of it. Please feel free to help spread the word if Chris' story and work is moving to you...Many thanks...
Good health and spirit,
Ellen and family
P.S. You can also read about Chris and Sarah Will, two of the greatest Paralympic athletes in the world, who have signed on to particpate in the Kelly Brush Century Ride on Sept 12th in Vermont to raise money to buy adaptive sports equipment for others with spinal cord injury.
Guest Post by Eileen O'Brien (firstname.lastname@example.org and @EileenOBrien)
Eileen is passionate about using the web and social media to advance healthcare communications. (And she is currently looking for a new interactive job...) Here's why she believes that Pharma should pay attention to Wikipedia:
Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of Wikipedia and the accuracy of its information, it's a huge player in the world of healthcare and deserves attention.
1) Physicians and consumers use Wikipedia for health info
Nearly 50% of US physicians going online for professional purposes are visiting Wikipedia for medical information according to Manhattan Research. This is a significant increase over the 28% reported in 2008.
And 36% of US consumers searched for health info on Wikipedia according to Rodale's DTC study.
Manhattan Research found Wikipedia is even more popular in Europe, with two-thirds of physicians online using the site as a medical resource monthly. It's also a top health destination for European consumers: "And consumers want companies to take a role in making sure that Wikipedia content can be trusted - the majority of online European consumers expect that pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies monitor Wikipedia pages about their products." Manhattan Research, Cybercitizen Health Europe v8.0
2) Wikipedia dominates search engine results
Wikipedia appears in the top 10 results for more than 70% of medical queries in four different search engines, according to a study in July's Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Consumers and HCPs will increasingly be driven to Wikipedia due to its dominance over the search engine results.
3) Ensure that Wikipedia provides appropriate drug information and links to brand sites
Pharma companies (or their interactive agencies) should review all product and condition-specific treatment articles on Wikipedia sites across various countries. After this assessment, if there are errors or factual information is missing, there are ways to ethically update Wikipedia.
A designated person should declare a conflict of interest (which means you are contributing to Wikipedia in order to promote your own interests or those of a company) and then suggest changes to article talk pages. An Insider outlines the appropriate steps.
Ongoing monitoring of changes to Wikipedia articles should also take place.
4) Employees can edit Wikipedia resulting in bad PR
Abbott and Astra Zeneca both received negative publicity when employees used company computers to delete negative information on their drugs from Wikipedia articles.
Next Steps for Pharma
- Since anyone with an Internet connection can edit Wikipedia, there should be a corporate policy about Wikipedia and other wikis. Employees should be educated about Wikipedia and the appropriate process if they see inaccurate information.
- Companies may want to have one person ‘officially' responsible for monitoring Wikipedia on behalf of the company; this person should declare their intentions on Wikipedia. After a thorough review of Wikipedia content on the company and brands, create a plan regarding initial corrections and ongoing maintenance.
- Measure the traffic that comes to the company and brand websites from Wikipedia.
On vacation, I was struck by these two very different brand promises for two successful restaurants. Like any brand, the promise goes deeper than any visual signage, but also takes in the product, touches and surround...the first impression of the exterior, the number of participants, the location etc. For example, one restaurant was in the heart of ‘fried clam country' (Ipswich and Essex MA) and the other was in a fishing port (Salem MA), further contributing to the believability of their brand promises.
We ate at the Clam Box, and I can understand how it's been in business since 1935...awesome ‘chowda' and fried claims-not to mention efficient and friendly service- And with an exterior that looks like a ‘clam box', I dare say that it differentiates itself among the many fried clam restaurants in the area...
We didn't get to eat at the Lobster Shanty, but we wanted to with a promise of ‘cold' beer, ‘great' food and ‘friendly' people...and of course it was jammed...
How strong is your brand promise? Is it differentiated? Does it come to life with each touch?
The growing popularity of ‘private-label media', as Booz & Co. like to call it, is one of the more provocative - and potentially disruptive- developments occurring in today's marketing and media ecosystems, according to their recent report entitled, The Promise of Private-label Media. The emergence of private label media represents both a compelling way to engage consumers and yet another challenge to long standing media business models - And the more that is spent on private-label media, the less that may be spent on traditional advertising, especially in the digital realm.
So what is private-label media?
Just about every company and brand has a website. But today, many marketers are going much further. They are transforming their presence into powerful media channels. Private-label media offerings bring the brand directly to the consumer, and allow marketers to bypass traditional media. The term ‘private-label media' usually refers to a company's website and the turning of the website into a powerful media channel. Online, consumers interact directly with the brand and other consumers, strengthening brand relationship, fostering new leads, testing new products and even negotiating discounts. (Definition by Ed McMann)
These are not digital infomercials; the best private label media connect consumers directly to brands. Consumers can design and test new products, enter online forums to talk to others who may share their perspective, and take advantage of unique brand offers and ancillary services.
The practice is prevalent enough that, as the research firm Outsell Inc. reported in July 2008, about 62% of marketers' online advertising and media budgets are spent on their own digital media, up from 58% in 2007. These marketers recognize that with the right mix of content, utility, community and product, they can create compelling premium experiences for consumers. And they see that these efforts can deliver powerful benefits in branding, relationship building, product testing and lead generation.
While private label media poses great opportunities for companies/brands, it poses great challenges for ad agencies and media companies. As marketers bulk up their private-label media offerings, tensions are increasing between agencies and media companies, as each strives to become marketers' preferred partner. In a recent Booz & Company study, Marketing & Media Ecosystem 2010, conducted with the Association of National Advertisers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 70 per cent of the agency respondents said they were taking on "publisher roles": developing content and other intellectual property for their clients, and 53 per cent of media companies reported they were working more directly with marketers. They are increasingly taking on some of the services formerly provided by agencies that support the development of custom or private-label media. Going forward, it will be increasingly important for marketers to choose their partners wisely.
In non-pharma, company websites began directly targeting consumers about a decade ago. Since then there have been some high profile and expensive ‘mistakes'. But there have also been many notable successes of strong use of private-label media, E.G., General Mills' www.Betty Crocker.com enjoys more than eight million unique visitors per month, roughly comparable to the numbers at www.foodnetwork.com - a rival with a popular television network sibling. Kraft Foods' iFood Assistant ranks among the most frequently downloaded applications on Apple's iPhone. Procter & Gamble's Olay for You platform for personalized consumer education in the health and beauty category includes a highly trafficked website and in-store kiosks rolled out in partnership with Wal-Mart. Rapid growth in private-label media has also occurred among business-to-business markets. The Home Depot launched www.hdbusinesstoolbox.com to deepen its connection to contractors, offering them business management tools as well as negotiated discounts and services such as insurance, telecom and printing.
The Lego Group has built an extensive set of consumer touch points using its own digital media: a fan club (of which my lego-loving son is a member), a social network, online games, message boards, online movies and soon its own massive multi-player game. On www.legofactory.com, consumers can design their own products. By joining a network of approximately 120,000 self-identified volunteer designers, fans interact, suggest product ideas and become "ambassadors" to spread the word about new offerings. In this way, Lego facilitates direct conversations between the company and its consumers as well as conversations among the brand's devotees. This digital marketing innovation is one of the contributors to Lego's recent success, posting a 19 per cent annual sales increase in 2008 despite a declining global market for toys, according to the Booz & Co. Strategy-Business Report.
Perhaps you're thinking, what does private-label media have to do with highly regulated Pharma?
While there is much interest in social media right now, and trying to decipher FDA regulations for web 2.0, it is important for Pharma to think about the role that a brand website can play. It remains an important asset with the potential to create a magnet for consumers-but only if it:
- provides important and useful information, tools, offers and/or services beyond what is offered by other healthcare sites
- is interactive
- affords personalization,
- enables community building with others, and...
- represents a unique and valuable treatment
Effective private-label media will not replace other forms of digital marketing entirely, but it will inevitably raise the bar in terms of quality and ROI.
Private-label media is not about ‘building it and they will come', but having a deep and insightful understanding of how your brand can add value and improve the health and well being of non-users and/or patients and their families. It is often reported that consumers generally don't want to get their information from pharma websites; this is likely the case for certain types of information--but is it not pharma's formidable challenge to identify the right type of information, tools, services, and experience to help patients succeed and thrive on their treatment regimens? What are other ways that Pharma can benefit their patients?
Pharma: are you ready to excel with private-label media in 2010?
Many pharma brands are pushing out with their websites to secure stronger connections with their patients and families--will yours be one of them?
Each summer we go camping with a few families to a different state park within a 4-6 hour drive. It has become one the summer highlights for all of the kids. As parents, each year we're surprised just how much fun everyone has, but it's almost always not due to what we originally thought would be fun going into the weekend, but due to something simple and uniquely inherent to the particular camp site. As a result, the parents have moved to continually simplify our camping weekends over time so we adults can also enjoy! (All of you seasoned campers can appreciate how much planning and organization is required to have a smooth camping experience)
This year we went to the Beaverkill region in New York, also known as the 'home of fly fishing', and a very beautiful area. On the drive home, we stopped to catch a late lunch; walking by a store, I saw this "pillow" in the window: "Save if for your blog"... So here goes, a few of the lessons that emerged from this year's camping weekend:
- Leave the ‘fancy' stuff home: Why bother with ‘fancy' or elaborate breakfasts when kids enjoy eating out of the cereal boxes just as much or more! (And for my kids, the extra bonus--many of the little boxes that come in the variety pack are sugared cereals that they don't get to eat at home!). This goes for all meal planning...
Think your kid needs a fancy new fishing pole? This year the kids actually made their own fishing poles and caught tons of fish-and had more fun proving that their homemade fishing poles worked great (at least for little fish). They also experimented with bait and found that mosquitoes worked as well as worms!! They later moved on to the $5 bamboo poles as the fishing pole of choice...(The more expensive fishing poles stayed in the car)
A positive attitude does wonders: The first day we had a lot of rain to say the least...but it was probably the kids' favorite day. They donned their $3 ponchos -which offered superior protection- and continued on their way, not missing a beat...After all, the boys happily, found that the fish still swim in the lake when it rains!
- Freedom to enjoy what you like is essential: One of the dads loves to plan the group event, usually a special hike on Saturday. We would never take that away from him; Me, the want-a-be photographer, is always after the ‘perfect' picture of each person and to capture the visual story of our trip; My hubby, ‘ol eagle scout, is the keeper of our fires...some of the kids enjoy fishing, some love exploring the streams and playing hide -n-seek...and different groups unfold over the course of each day.
- When left to a natural environment, the boys and girls, and different ages, mix well and learn from each other: Have you ever experienced your child saying that he/she doesn't want to go one of your friends house for dinner because they don't have a child that perfectly matches their sex, age and interests? In a camping environment, this all goes away and they actually realize that they can have fun with different people in different ways. A great life lesson.
- The lack of electronics brings out the best in all of us, and certainly more creativity and freedom to devise new games to play: How is it that they don't miss the electronics or TV when their camping but as soon as they get home, they want them back again?
- When kids (humans) are given a bit of trust and support, they flourish: The two 12 year olds loved taking the little ones to the stream to ‘explore' and the little ones loved it even more and had fun...When there were too many prickles for some of the little ones to endure during our group hike, it was the 11 year old boy that took responsibility for one of the 7 year old girls to guide her back down through the prickly bushes and the slippery, muddy rocks...
- Shared-experiences will always be the most powerful way of building friendship and trust: this just isn't easily duplicated through other less personal or non-face-to-face means
- Everyone can enjoy nature's bounty: walking back from our morning bathroom run, my 11 year old son pointed to the beautiful rays of sun popping through the trees on the road ahead...camping allows everyone to soak up nature in these little ways that we often have no time for during our everyday lives.
- It takes a community: Camping is a daily reminder of this...whether you've ‘forgotten' something that is key for your next meal or to provide protection, often your fellow camper has remembered it. Or another adult, who enjoys the same fishing that your son likes too, can happily take you son with him. The camping community may come in all sizes and colors, but they're joined by a common love of nature and the desire to enjoy the simple times with fellow campers.
- A family that camps together stays together: To our kids, it's not camping if we're not all sleeping together in one tent. It's also not a good camping trip, if our camp site isn't in close proximity to their friends' sites...
So what does this all mean? think it supports and reinforcesmany of the key trends that are influencing business and marketing today (See The Rigors of 2009: What Consumers Want Today), namely, a return to:
- Simplicity; less is more, and ‘fancy' doesn't necessary insure ‘more enjoyment'; Also quality vs. quantity...
- Back to nature; it really does have a wonderful way of grounding us, and helping us to remember its power over us...
- Deeper Relationships are desired and built on shared experiences, and give and take. Nothing trumps live interactions surrounding adversity, fun...the idea of ‘quality' relationships vs. ‘quantity' (We're also seeing this same question continually emerge with Twitter, namely quality vs quantity when thinking about how many followers are ideal...)
- Communities are increasingly important; people want to know that there are people that they can depend on, learn from, add value to, etc. Now more than ever, it takes a community to help us not only survive, but excel.
- Creativity and innovation spark excitement--but need freedom -of time and space- to emerge. Perhaps we need to be less afraid to let things unfold-and to not try to plan everything? Is it possible that less planning can actually be better sometimes? (Oh my, my hubby will be happy to read this) Or moving in a general strategic direction, but not committing to every detail and move until it unfolds and we have a chance to learn? Many of us grew up during a time when we left the house in the morning and didn't come home until dinnertime-perhaps we all need a little bit more of that life?
Any thoughts or ideas you want to share? Add?
photo credits: me! ;-)
Full Article Published in PharmExec.com August 5, 2009.
Everyday new results suggest that health games and virtual worlds bear the potential to be "game changers" by improving education, provoking greater engagement, and engendering positive behavior to enhance health and wellness.
While more clinical studies are still needed, preliminary results are beginning to demonstrate proof of principle. In the wake of the 2009 Games For Health conference, the article outlines five factors for why you might start to take health gaming seriously, as well as key lessons consistently described by the speakers, to provide a perspective on what may be involved in bringing Health eGames into 2010 planning and beyond. (For a summary of the two-day event, along with the associated marketing implications of healthgames, see PharmExec guest blogs "The Next Frontier" and "Can Healthcare Games Change the Game of Healthcare?")
Gaming for Health: Five Factors
- Games are not just for kids, or teenage boys, but are increasingly played by digital moms and 50+ consumers
- Games enjoy broad penetration--in the US, 68% of households play computer or video games
- America faces serious health issues that need extra attention e.g., diabetes, obesity, lack of adherence. Games can provide a fun and innovative way to reach new audiences.
- Early success stories for health games suggest meaningful public health benefits. Four examples of health games with measurable clinical results are outlined in the PharmExec article.
- Serious players are supporting the growth of health games, including health insurers such as Humana, and foundations like Robert Wood Johnson, Annenberg, Lance Armstrong and Sesame Workshop's Joan Ganz Cooney Center.
Bring More to Your Brand's Arsenal
Games for health can provide many benefits to a brand-- from education and entertainment, to improving adherence or training (See Marketing Implications). As you plan for 2010 and beyond, consider these seven lessons for boosting health game development, as presented by this year's Games For Health Conference speakers:
- Focus on FUN--Keeping up the fun factor takes creativity and insight
- Provide relevant value through absolute clarity of the target, the desired customer experience, and the unique value proposition
- Personalize the experience wherever possible
- Keep it simple. Deliver a guided experience that is easy and doesn't make consumers have to think too much or work too hard.
- Think 24/7 experience. Consider many channels and platforms
- Maximize social interactions via sharing, support, and competition
- Keep metrics and measurement front-and-center
Healthcare games hold huge potential for the pharma industry, by both engaging consumers and improving health and brand outcomes--all in an interactive electronic format that will be an important part of consumers' lives for many years to come...
Games for Health may even represent pharma's chance to leapfrog Web 2.0 straight to Healthcare 3.0...Can you imagine?
What do you think?