Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Physician Google Thyself: Updates March ’11 March 30, 2011

Almost a year ago, I published the series Physician Google Thyself (with overview video) and as one might expect, many things have changed. The conclusion and reports out of SXSW provides an opportunity add some newly discovered resources that I think will help physicians leverage digital channels to manage their reputations and grow their practices.

By following Ed Bennett, I became aware of Dr. Kolmes–both were panelists at the recently concluded SXSW (South by Southwest). She exemplifies my truth about HCPs owning their their reputations. Two important discoveries that support Part IV:

  1. Dr. Kolmes is well regarded for her social media policies and other electronic recommendations for health care providers. I am excited to provide a link to these not-to-be-missed resources and they are FREE for HCP’s to use.
  2. Dr. Kolmes also uses a FREE secure email service called HushMail.com. For all the physicians that are (and should be) concerned about maintaining HIPAA privacy this is a brilliant option. Do not miss the section on email in the above mentioned social media policy that Dr. Kolmes provides to patients–it’s used for appointment logistics only and that’s OK! My philosophy is to tell everyone exactly how you will behave; if you set expectations you avoid offending someone or some other bad situation.

As an additional resource for Part IV, I’ve been investigating Reputation.com (formerly Reputation Defender). Their methods seem sound and the price seems reasonable. If you find yourself in a situation where negative information abounds, it might be a good first step to reigning in the chaos.

Reporting from that same SXSW panel session was Susan Spaight of Jigsaw who’s post titled Healthcare and Social Media: boundaries without barriers includes this suggestion:

Dana Lewis shared a great suggestion for approaching physicians to encourage them to participate in social media. Don’t just go to them and say “We want you to do social media.” Show them why first by having the physician Google himself or herself, and explain how social media can change search engine results. Of course, there are other reasons to participate in social media, but this may help the proverbial light bulb go on.”

It’s always nice to be in sync with others. I too have seen the light bulb go on and burn brightly when physicians Google themselves. Part II contains my recommendations for search engine terms to use beyond your name.

Contact me if you want a FREE copy of a spreadsheet to help you keep track of all your listings and profiles. I’ve complied over four dozen general sites that contain HCP listings to get you started.

It’s been fun revisiting this topic and especially great to provide even more resources. If you know any resources you’d like to share, please comment. The Three Wise Dames appreciate the sharing of wisdom.

(C) 2011 eGold Solutions; all rights reserved.

 

It’s Not About What You Say April 8, 2010

The recent explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia is bringing renewed attention to the mine’s owner, Massey Energy.  Like most people, I realize that coal mining is an inherently dangerous job, and unfortunately, accidents happen.  If that were only the story here, it would be sad enough.

Instead much of the attention has focused on the 3,000 plus safety violations Massey has racked up since 1995. Yet, as of April 7, the home page on the company’s Web site still proudly proclaimed that 2009 was “another record-setting year for safety.”  Hard to believe. (As of today, they finally removed that article from the home page.)

In fact, the company’s statements declaring the importance of safety are in direct contrast to its record of egregious safety violations and the reports that Massey’s chairman and chief executive, Don Blankenship, allegedly told workers to ignore the orders of those who instructed them to construct support beams and ventilation shafts for safety purposes and just “run coal.” It is companies like this that give capitalism a bad name.

The Lesson To Learn

What can healthcare companies learn from this tragic incident?  It’s simple. Always remember that actions speak louder than words.

No matter how many times your top executives express concerns for patient safety or piously proclaim that their mission is finding better treatments or cures for disease, if the company is rushing a drug to market before its full side effects are known, it’s a lie. If they are pushing a device through trials and suppressing negative evidence that would keep it from FDA clearance, it’s a lie. If your hospital touts patient safety, but every staff member isn’t following strict protocols to combat healthcare acquired infections, it’s a lie.

Words vs. Action

Communicators use words.  Lots of words.  We draft mission statements, company vision statements, key messages and yes, even positioning statements.  But no amount of words can take the place of action.

Action is key to reputation.  Doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason—even at the expense of short-term profits—builds positive reputations.  And reputations are valuable.  A good reputation adds to the bottom line and helps companies weather the storms of crisis.  Just ask Massey Energy, whose stock has dropped nearly 12 percent and whose credit rating was downgraded below junk.  If that’s not enough to convince you, then just ask the families of those miners in West Virginia.

 

Crisis and Renewal April 5, 2010

You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about the marital woes of celebs like Tiger Woods and Jesse James. Much of the debate in recent weeks has centered on the men and rehab for their promiscuous ways.

No matter what your personal opinion on sexual addiction (Is it real or just a convenient excuse for bad behavior?), both men are following the time-tested formula of crisis communications.

Admit your mistake, ask for forgiveness and take action to correct the problem.

According to the theory, following this formula results in new-found grace.  Kinda like going to confession and saying your 10 Hail Mary’s as penance.

But does this really work for companies?  It depends.  And it takes time.  Your audience may not be as forgiving as the masses who idolize celebrities in our pop-culture driven society.

Digging Deeper

That’s not to say that the formula won’t work.  Just that renewal is a process. Rebuilding trust takes time.  Companies need to not only admit that there was a problem, but take the time to peel back the layers of the onion to discover the root cause of the problem.  How did the problem start? Why was the problem ignored?  If the problem was reported, and nothing was done, why was this the case?

Beyond “I’m sorry”

Once the source of the problem is identified, corrective action needs to be put in place to ensure the problem does not happen again.  Communicating this to your employees, customers and influencers may be uncomfortable.  Your legal counsel may want to stifle any communication to minimize risk in potential litigation.  But rebuilding a tarnished reputation is much more difficult than building one from scratch. Companies need to be willing to be open and honest in their communication if they want to regain their audience’s trust.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: