Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Did Kaiser Permanente THRIVE? May 29, 2013

KP - ThriveHave you ever met anyone who doesn’t love Kaiser Permanente’s THRIVE campaign? I haven’t. So when I had the opportunity to hear the insiders’ perspective of the campaign from Angela Zepeda, Managing Director of Campbell Ewald Los Angeles, and Kaiser Permanente’s Lisa Ryan, Executive Director of National Advertising, at a recent Healthcare PR and Marketing Association meeting in Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance. Here’s a little insight into this highly memorable brand campaign.

Kaiser began developing its new brand campaign at a time when HMOs were truly hated. Because the organization stood for the largest example of an HMO, it was often the target of a negative backlash – even though Kaiser defines itself as an integrated delivery network and has hospitals and a physician group (in California, anyway — its models in other states are different).

Research-based Strategic Insights

Kaiser started with extensive research:

  • As in any brand initiative, they first looked internally to what the Kaiser Permanente brand stood for: Health advocates dedicated to your health and well-being. They believed that this legacy is consistent with the organization’s mission and values today — it stood the test of time.
  • They also looked externally:
    • Competitive research showed that, at the time, no company was talking about health vs. healthcare.
    • They learned that what mattered most to their target consumer audiences was the concept: No matter what, I want to be as healthy as I can be. This crossed all stages of life, and the target’s psychographic profile was more important than its wide-ranging demographic profile.

In fusing the internal and external findings together, what came out was THRIVE. By taking a fun, lighthearted approach to talk about all the things you can do to take better care of yourself, Angela and Lisa emphasized that it was a reinterpretation of Total Health.

Creative Delivery

A brand is the accumulation of experiences and interactions with an organization, and Angela and Lisa said they made the care delivery organization align behind and promise to deliver on the brand story they wanted to tell.

The strategic tenets of the campaign are and remain:

  • Reinvent the language
  • Redefine the system
  • Champion the cause

For example, the campaign will never show a doctor in a traditional exam room or hospital setting – that is, if they show a doctor at all. Instead, it’s about the patient, the member or prospective member. For example, in 2007 Kaiser aired a really memorable ad about taking better care of yourself that featured a cute, chubby little boy. It never mentioned childhood obesity, but that’s what it was really about, and about raising healthy, active kids.

While we may remember the TV spots best, the campaign was fully integrated across communications disciplines. From turning pillars in an airport waiting area into giant redwoods to hosting farmer’s markets at its medical centers, THRIVE and the team behind it found creative ways to emphasize what the brand was all about: Total Health.

Results

So, over the years since the campaign launched in 2004, has it achieved the desired marketing results? Angela and Lisa report the answer (and I admire them for sharing the reality), based on continued research and evaluation, as yes and no:

  • Yes, the brand perception of Kaiser Permanente improved tremendously since the campaign began.
  • No, it has not moved the needle much in terms of growth in membership. The research shows that only 38% of respondents would “consider joining” – a number that they still consider low.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few more insights that Angela and Lisa shared:

  • The campaign emphasized behavior change and health advocacy. However, Kaiser and Campbell Ewald learned that care delivery messages have a greater effect on some of the key attributes target consumers value, even though they don’t move the brand. In the future, the THRIVE campaign will focus on both health advocacy and care delivery, but still follow the strategic tenets. They’ll talk more about integration and coordinated care, like they did with this spot.
  • Social media was happening whether Kaiser liked it or not, so now they need to develop a strategy.
  • They see a continued growth in digital ad spend with more sophisticated planning across platforms.

Since its rollout in 2004, THRIVE has successfully helped Kaiser Permanente stand out from the “sea of sameness” that existed. Many health organizations are now focusing on their brands in the age of the ACA, and delivering a wellness message. Kaiser has a huge headstart due to its long-term investment.

Additional Resources

Five Lessons from Kaiser Permanente’s THRIVE Campaign

Campbell Ewald THRIVE Case Study

© 2013, Merryman Communications, All Rights Reserved

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Do’s and Don’ts in Communicating about FDA-Regulated Products January 29, 2013

ImageIn response to a special request, this post provides some general guidelines on communicating about FDA-regulated products.  However, let me start by emphasizing that I am not a regulatory expert.  I have a lot of experience with FDA-regulated products, and I’m offering this from a communications perspective. So here are my product communications Do’s and Don’ts:

Do:

1. Work closely with regulatory counsel.  I’ve always valued a close and collaborative relationship with the folks in regulatory and I try to involve them in the planning process as well as the document review process.  Sitting across the table from them helps because when I understand why they say “No, you can’t do or say that,” I brainstorm with them to get to the “Yes, you can do or say that.”  I’ve also learned that, just like with doctors, lawyers and even marketing communications people, recommendations vary from expert to expert and client to client.  Often regulatory guidance comes down to a judgment call on the level of risk the client is or is not willing to bear.

2. Include risk information in appropriate materials.  The challenge surrounds what the appropriate materials are. Some are straightforward, such as advertisements and collateral and of course these must include fair balance.  I won’t tread into social media and the guidance (or lack thereof) as it’s a subject that’s been beaten to death. But how about press materials?

  • Press Releases:  One client’s regulatory counsel has advised that press releases remain one exception, and we still don’t include fair balance in our releases for that client.  A colleague who works for a large agency shared the opposite – that they include fair balance in all press releases they develop for pharma and med device clients.
  • Pitch letters:  This short, simple medium was never intended for the public.  Pitch letters are one-on-one communication directed at the media from a company or agency to interest them in your latest news and information. But a pitch letter recently received a red flag from the FDA, and now we’re all waiting with bated breath to see if we need to start including risk information in them.  Guess what?  So far it depends on which regulatory person you ask! (Read more about it here:  http://www.prweekus.com/pharma-communicators-keep-eye-on-fda-after-it-singles-out-product-pitch/article/270458/)

3. Present risk information in a balanced way. Including the fair balance information at the end isn’t enough.  You need to be sure that you (or your spokespeople, such as patients) tell your story in a evenhanded way.

  • Don’t let your spokespeople minimize the risk information. (One celebrity spokesperson declared during a national TV interview: “Oh, drug companies just have to say that…”  The drug company and agency had to work with the outlet to have it corrected immediately.)
  • Testimonials can’t overstate the product’s benefits. (For example, “Because of this product I improved my golf game” needs to be something more along the lines of: “Because I use this product, I feel better and because I feel better, I play golf better.”)

4. Ensure adverse event reporting processes are in place. As you all know, adverse event reporting has been a big reason some pharma or device companies have stayed away from product-oriented social media initiatives.  One client worked with her regulatory team to develop a weekly reporting process, and also relies on frequent check-ins with regulatory both at her business unit and at the corporate level. As we’re all learning, it can be done.

5. Understand the difference between the FDA and SEC. Regulations from each guide your communications recommendations for publicly traded companies and their products.  It’s important to understand whether your information is material and the level of flexibility you have in what to convey, timing your announcements or launches, etc.

Don’t:

1. Don’t provide information on off-label uses.  Controlling off-label statements presents a challenge in two-way social media channels, but now we have FDA draft guidance on this issue.  You can find a great at-a-glance diagram of this guidance here: http://www.doseofdigital.com/2012/01/translating-fda-social-media-guidance/.

2. Don’t overstate claims or claim superiority if you don’t have data to support it.

3. Don’t give medical advice. Instead we include a call-to-action that directs potential patients to speak to their doctors.

This is my general guide on communicating about FDA-regulated products. But please keep in mind:

This information reflects my experience in working with FDA-regulated products and teams on the client side.  It is based on a snapshot in time because policies at the FDA can (and do) change.  Please only use this is a guide, and if you need the final word on matters, talk to your regulatory expert!

Now let’s hear about your experience!

 

Blessings to my Healthcare Social Media Gurus September 26, 2012

Filed under: Debbie,DTC,marketing,Programs,Social media,strategy — Debbie Donovan @ 2:15 pm
Tags: , ,

[I’ve updated this post from July 2010 because in the past 2-1/2 years a few things have changed.]

I am frequently asked to explain how “social media” works for health care companies and providers. After I answer specific questions and cite examples, the next question I get is a variation of, “How did you figure all this stuff out?”

The answer is pretty simple. Early in my self-guided study I stumbled upon what I can only describe as gurus. They provide a steady stream of examples of creative execution, critical insights on legal and regulatory issues and infinite enthusiasm for this communication revolution.

The big news is that gurus Ed and Lee have gotten together to make sure that Ed’s Hospital social media list has a new home at the Center for Social Media at the Mayo Clinic and title: Health Care Social Media List . It’s a critical resource for anyone selling products or programs to hospital administration.

I’ve learned that the best karma I can give is a shout out to those whose activity I can’t miss:

Namaste!

(C) 2012 eGold Solutions all rights reserved.

 

Creating a digital entity step-by-step June 28, 2012

In the past few years, I have needed to create digital identities for a variety of entities–projects, clients, groups, etc. Each time I set up the digital footprint for these entities I’ve gotten smarter about the sequence of steps.

Below is a list of initial steps to take when creating the digital footprint of an entity. These services are all FREE so it’s affordable for a bootstrap situation or a well-funded business.

  1. Establish Consistent Brand: Brainstorm name ideas or brand variations.  Check yor top selections on NameChk.com. This service magically checks all the major, second level and minor level social media outlets (159 at last count) to see if a specific “handle” is available. You can also download the results into a spreadsheet and use it to maintain a list of site registrations and log in credentials.
  2. Create A Master Hub: Create a Gmail account with the user name that cleared the brand hurdle above. The free services offered in Google are astounding starting with their web browser Chrome. My other favorites are Google+, Google Alerts, YouTube, Blogger and AdWords/Analytics.
    Hot Tip: When you initiate your Google AdWords account it will issue a Google Analytics code [UA-xxxxxxxx-1] from within that service. When you build your blog-based website you can embed this code for tracking customers from search to purchase using Analytics.
  3. Get On The Majors: Using your gmail account or GoogleID establish identities on all the major networks and companion services: Twitter/Tweetdeck, Facebook, LinkedIn/SlideShare, Pinterest, Tumblr, WordPress, etc. The advantage of using Google ID is that as long as you are logged into your gmail account (especially when using Chrome) the other services will recognize you instantly.
    Hot Tip:   Every single network and service contains getting started tutorials–use them! You can frequently sign up for a getting started email series.

I have become aware of many of these services by attending free webinars–usually under the heading of search marketing, but also competitive intelligence gathering.

What are your favorites? Share the wisdom.

(C) 2012 eGold Solutions all rights reserved.

 

Putting a stake in the poop December 1, 2011

Today I began my next adventure as the Director of Marketing at Avantis Medical Systems (Sunnyvale, CA). I will be applying my marketing knowledge and experience to help the Third Eye® Retroscope® become a household name (great branding, right?). Here’s a brief description from the current website (being ever mindful of labeling):

“During a colonoscopy exam, the Third Eye provides a retrograde—or reverse—view that appears on a screen side-by-side with the traditional forward-looking view. Colonoscopy is currently the most accurate test for detection of both polyps and colorectal cancer. It also provides the best means for removing them. However, research shows that some polyps and cancers can be missed during routine colonoscopy, especially if they occur in locations that are hidden from the forward view of the colonoscope. The colon has many folds in its inner lining and contains many sharp turns, or flexures. The areas behind those folds and flexures are difficult to see with the colonoscope. The Third Eye Retroscope provides a way to visualize the hidden areas behind folds and flexures by providing a retrograde view.”

Here’s why I am so excited about this opportunity:

  • As a young marketing communications agency executive, I worked on the Hemoccult® Brand Fecal Occult Blood Test used to screen the colon for hidden blood caused by cancer and other diseases. Back then it was owned by SmithKline Diagnostics, now it’s owned by Danaher. I received two awards for a patient education poster entitled Colorectal Cancer: Facts you should know about its detection and prevention (I know, very sexy stuff). More importantly that work connected me permanently to the lifelong work of my father, Ron. For those of you that know my family, it’s beyond exciting for all of us that I am “back in the poop.”
  • The time has come to put into put a “stake in the poop” and apply all that I have learned about digital marketing, and especially social media. I can’t wait to discover the haystacks of needles, use social capital and motivate healthcare providers to find the power in combined brands. I believe it is possible to drive brand value for medical devices and diagnostics using modern marketing techniques.

I vow to continue blogging to highlight learnings and great resources I stumble upon. Feel free to ask me questions about what’s happening as you begin to stumble upon the Third Eye Retroscope and its contributions to colonoscopy and cancer detection.

Views expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

In this season of giving thanks for all the blessings in my life, I want to express my gratitude for the support I have received in the past two years.

  • To Lisa for getting 3WD started and being a great mentor and friend.
  • To Betsy for her most recent colonoscopy post (looks like I get to use the image after all).
  • To my social media gurus for keeping me ahead of the curve.
  • To my incredible network of friends and family maintained on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Ole!

©2011 eGold Solutions. All rights reserved.

 

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should November 29, 2011

I saw the results of a study recently that supports the practice of doing colonoscopies without sedation.  Now, I know one person who, for reasons that are still a mystery to him, had a colonoscopy without sedation, and I can tell you he wouldn’t recommend it.  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

I find myself saying the same thing with so many marketing and communications practices today, especially those are easy to do it yourself.  Just because you can blog, Tweet, send out a press release or whatever, doesn’t mean you should.  What sometimes gets lost and forgotten is that strategic fundamentals haven’t changed, despite the excitement around new channels and ways to reach target audiences.

I once had a client suggest that we should send out a press release every week so that we could then Tweet it.    While I’ll be the first person to agree that press releases are valuable beyond communicating with the press, I believe you should issue a press release to announce news that supports your communications objectives, and you should Tweet things that would be of value to your followers. It isn’t about making noise.  It’s about building your credibility, brand and/or reputation.

Strategic fundamentals include asking yourself at the outset, among other things:

  • What you are trying to achieve and does it help you achieve your business objectives?
  • Who is your target audience and why should they care?
  • What do you want them to do with your information?
  • Is this channel the best way to reach and influence your target audience in these ways?
  • And does it further your overall product brand and company reputation?

The bottom line is that tactics shouldn’t drive solid marketing and communications.  Strategic fundamentals should.  And just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should if it doesn’t fit strategically.

As for me, sign me up for sedation with my colonoscopy.  How about you?

(C) 2011 Merryman Communications, Inc.; all rights reserved.

 

Marketing Tool Kits: Exemplary Compliance October 10, 2011

Updated post

In Lisa’s post about legacy marketing, she extols the virtues of doing things well and I couldn’t agree more especially when considering the legal realities associated with industry codes–AdvaMed, PhRMA, CMSS, et. Al. If those acronyms are alphabet soup to you then please take the time to read up and come back, I’ll wait.

Bottom line (and one of my truth’s):

Health care providers must own their reputations and practice marketing.

What that means to companies is that they can supply to all QUALIFIED CUSTOMERS with a DIY Marketing Tool Kit.

The company determines exactly how a customer qualifies as long as those rules are applied consistently across the customer base. Here are some qualifications:

  • Complete product training program
  • Perform a minimum number of cases to demonstrate competency
  • Perform procedures in a specific site of service
  • Have admission privileges to at least one hospital facility
  • Have an active medical/DEA license
  • Agree to make specific dollar contributions to a turnkey marketing program with a third party vendor.

If your management team wants you to just dole out money for customer’s marketing activities without a formal program, push back. Regulators can see the brightly lit money trail a mile away. Here’s an example:

[Newly added 10/10/11]

Here’s a Press Release from Office of the Inspector General about a military cardiologist getting sentencing because of benefits received from a variety of activities including dinners with sales reps.

NPR Story:

Here’s a story from the AP on Massachusetts reporting of payments to physicians. “The report was the result of a 2008 state law that banned some types of gifts outright and required companies to report other types of payments.”

Note how the state has categorized the payments to physicians:

“That’s according to a new report from the state Department of Public Health, which said the payments included speaking and consulting fees, meals, and education and marketing programs.”

Doing it right is more than a compliance issue–it’s a mindset. People value what they pay for and they are more engaged in success when they have skin in the game. Everybody wins when customer marketing programs are both compelling and compliant.

(C) 2011 all rights reserved eGold Solutions.

  • Marketing Tool Kit post series:
 

 
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