Dear pharma: Ad Age wants to know if you’re listening?
Ad Ageand Infegy just tracked the top brands ad spending by category and their associated social media ranking.
Not shocking, pharma led the bottom 10 brands as seen below in stats from the Ad Age post.
Everyone from Chris Brogan to Jonathan Richman has been waxing on for years now about how message control in “marketing” a brand has shifted to the consumer . It’s not a 1 way street anymore. Irrespective of what you are marketing your brand as, your message may not resonate with your audience and quiet frankly may be redefined by them.
Scary thought, yes. But this isn’t new, this consumer led phonomena is here to stay. Take a card from the consumer world and bet on that success. If you are not addressing this as part of one of your strategic imperatives, you are missing the boat on the entire universe of PEOPLE deciding and influencing the worth of your brands, not the brand itself.
In the regulated pharma world, this is a tall ask to address in the absence of FDA guidelines surrounding internet and social media guidelines. But I think it’s safe to say the wait is over and brands and companies need to put a stake in the ground on how they, as stakeholders, plan to address the increasing social presence of consumer opinions and protect their brands. This goes way beyond “let’s develop a community for patients to talk to one another, lets make a Facebook page”….. not always the best choice considering no one really wants to be “friends” with a pharma brand and executing initiatives as such PRIOR to ascertaining where your biggest focus should be is premature. These conversation may be happening in places you would have never dreamed of and you need to know where those conversations are happening to address them effectively.
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Step 1 is nothing new but begs the worth in repeating: pure brand equity protection starts with monitoring social sentiment. We are beyond fielding 5-10 phone screening or in-person patient IDIs to gain insights on our brands– the universal voice is bigger than 5-10 people. If this is not proof enough that pharma needs to step up their game in social sentiment monitoring I don’t know what is. The more you monitor, the more you can gain the correct insights to inform your strategies to address these imperatives and barriers to effective messaging.
There are myriad social media monitoring companies out there that do this effectively, Infegy is just one of them. Infegy uses a proprietary tool called the Social Radar that monitors social media monitoring and analytics platform that measures online sentiment to gauge trends, predict consumer needs, conduct online market research, and drive corporate strategy for the brands, products, and services that aim to meet the dynamically-changing needs of an increasingly crowded marketplace.
3 steps to consider:
1. Stop worrying about building a tactic with the big names like Facebook and Twitter- they are only channel conduits for sentiments to be spread through. Most health-related content doesn’t originate on them
2. Its brand planning season; follow suit with the likes of many CPGs, put a line item in your tactical plan and put your proverbial headphones on and start monitoring your company and brands
3. Allow the sentiment analysis to be 1 of the driving factors to informing your strategic imperatives to protect and elevate your brand perception; utilize this information in your POV to management and regulatory when deciphering how to best navigate the yet-to-be-regulated social waters
Think of it as gossip; if you don’t know what’s being said about your brands, how can you effectively change negative perceptions?