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

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements
 

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!

 

Power of Combining Brands May 11, 2011

A colleague once told me that a health care provider is a value added reseller (VAR) of health care services enabled by great technology. This is no different then a VAR in the high technology computer industry. The best marketing programs for any VAR are cooperative–both parties contribute their brand and budget resources (money and time) to extend the marketing of a given product or service.

The main message is:

Obtain this [national brand] at [your local outlet]

Consumer examples:

Obtain a refreshing Coca-cola(R) beverage at your Main Street McDonalds(R)

Fry’s(R) electronics is an authorized reseller of HP(R) Printers

Health care examples:

Mountain View’s El Camino Hospital now offers the da Vinci(R) Si system for minimally invasive hysterectomy

Essure(R) permanent birth control is now performed in Dr. Mason’s Fresno office

Balloon Sinuplasty(TM) procedures are performed by Dr. Nathan at Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital

The value of the message is the exponential power of two brands joined together. Each has value on its own; however, when combined, the local health care provider legitimizes the availability of the advanced technology and the company provides advanced technology to the local health care provider.

Who wins? Everyone in the chain–the patient gets access to the medical company’s advanced technology from a local healthcare provider. I would propose that public and private payers win also and here’s why.

<Warning: Soapbox Moment>

Finally (thanks Shana Leonard) there is a conversation around devices becoming the new drugs driven off the analysis of the American College of Cardiology meeting by Reuters. Since diving into the medical device industry, I’ve come to believe if a health problem is mechanical then why not fix it with a mechanical solution instead of masking the symptoms with drugs? In many cases, this is a more cost-effective approach. Your thoughts?

(c) eGold Solutions, all rights reserved.

Related Articles
 

Using Social Capital December 15, 2010

As I was reading last week’s issue of People, I ran across this ad which is a collection of comments generated by a Sept 23rd prompt to fill in the blank: I think Biore pore strips are…

Sixty Biore Facebook Fans commented and a handful were selected and agreed to be featured on the print ad in People.

What a clever way to generate a plain folks, bandwagon testimonial ad for a national magazine.

When the art was put together they had 32,277 fans and as of today that has jumped to 45,094 (almost a 40% increase).

This idea has value in the life sciences corner of the marketing world. I can imagine a company with patient-facing messages using social capital to illustrate the patient value proposition to clinicians waiting for patients to ask for branded treatments.

Execution of this advertisement idea would be completely unexpected in a medical journal. I suspect would generate a fair amount of chatter–positive, negative and neutral; however there would be a conversation happening around THAT product.

I hope to be on the front lines of THAT product’s marketing very soon.

(C) 2010 eGold Solutions

 

A Word About Events: STOP November 30, 2010

Before you move forward to develop an in-person event-based marketing program, I am begging you, please STOP and ask: am I trying to create independent events or am I leveraging existing in-person events?

If you are creating a program to execute individual in-person events STOP again and ask: do I have any real ROI from previous efforts? I will bet the answer is no.

If you are creating a program to insert your product into an existing in-person event then good for you.

Two tests to use before committing budget dollars for an in-person event:

  • Does the in-person event already have committed attendees (e.g. industry meetings, community events)?
  • Is the in-person event being actively promoted by the organizers and sponsors (e.g. clinical organizations, hospitals)?

If you can’t answer yes to both questions, walk away from the event. Here’s why: everyone is busy!

Why would anyone want to attend an individual event put on by a group of people they don’t know on a topic to which they have no perceived connection?

It is so difficult these days to get the attention of your target audience (see Lisa’s post). Put yourself in your target attendee’s mind–would you want to attend? Is there anything interesting being said that will actually change your future behavior or is this just another opportunity to get a free meal?

Now if your organization wants to host a webinar, you are really thinking along the right lines. Why?

  • No travel, venue or food costs
  • Invitations and registrations are electronic
  • Attendees can ask questions before and during
  • Webinars can be recorded and posted to websites for broadcast and sharing (and posted transcriptions contribute to SEO)
  • Anyone who missed the actual “event” can participate at their convenience.

I attend many live webinars and review recordings when I miss events They are invaluable as a marketing professional on a quest to stay ahead of the curve on topics like intersection of social media channels and healthcare. I am such a believer in the webinar event that I’ve even recorded one of my own (in case you missed it).

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

 

Vanilla doesn’t sell unless it’s Ice Cream October 28, 2010

Vanilla ice cream has a rich taste and appealing aroma, making it the best selling ice cream flavor around. The Wikipedia page devoted to vanilla notes that it is the second most expensive spice after saffron, because of the labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods.Vanilla is used in foods, perfumes, aromatherapy, and apparently even as a bug repellant and a home remedy for minor burns. Clearly, it is very versatile.

Getting it right

However, when promoting a product, a ‘vanilla’ description is anything but appealing or versatile. Product descriptions are critical in product positioning.  Descriptions provide the basis for establishing a brand identity, a communication platform, a competitive edge, the value proposition and so much more. In the medical device space product descriptions are considered labeling. Significant effort and expense goes into securing medical device labeling.  Because medical device labeling is absolute and creative license is forbidden, getting it right is critical.

Connect the dots

To have the best possible chance at successful product adoption customers should readily recognize the value of the product through the labeling. Product descriptions should resonate intrinsically with the customer. Understanding customer needs is the core responsibility of marketing. Therefore, involvement by marketing in the product description is essential. It is senseless to disconnect the customer and patient advocate – marketing, from the customer and patient guardian – regulatory/clinical. 

Engagement at a higher level

Proactive interaction by marketing with the regulatory/clinical department early on in the clinical plan development provides the best possible outcome for labeling that will resonate with the physician customer.This is not about making it easy for marketing to promote a productNor is it about securing labeling that is loose, boastful or inaccurate in any way

Rather, this assertion that marketing participate in the discussion about the clinical plan and the desired outcome is because marketing should be leading the efforts to ensure that the product or service truly meets and exceeds customer expectations and is reflected clearly in product descriptions. The regulatory/ clinical expertise is most impactful by establishing strong and undisputed product labeling, that doesn’t need interpretation or lyrical descriptions for the product to be appreciated.

Untangle the tangle

Many marketers complain that they are hamstrung by the regulatory department when product promotion and communication plans and tactics are proposed. Many regulatory departments cringe at the creative approach marketers present to convey a product purpose, benefits and applications. 

It seems that the simplest and cleanest approach is to use the product labeling granted by the FDA,

based on evidence provided by the regulatory and clinical experts

that distinguishes the product precisely as it is intended to be used by customers,

through the distillation of customer needs by marketing. 

And while that seems a mouthful and a tall order, early collaboration between marketing and regulatory/clinical is the most likely path to labeling that is descriptive and telling. The kind of labeling where ‘creative marketing’ is about the many ways to communicate product availability and not about the many words required for product description. Product labeling typically happens only once. Getting it right so the right customer connects their needs with the value of the product will make the best use of all efforts to promote and protect.

(c) 2010 pH Consulting; all rights reserved.

 

Make Some Noise! April 26, 2010

Are your customers marketing to their customers?

Every contact or interaction customers have with companies or providers of goods and services, are viewed through our marketing lens. The four ‘P’s’ of marketing shape our perceptions. Attention getting [promotion] efforts must be followed with relevance [product], value [price] and accessibility [place] marketing efforts.

Perception versus Reality

Promotional efforts that are consistent and impactful convey the message that a higher caliber of good or service is available.  Inconsistent, bland and lack of promotion conveys a message that the good or service is not available or of poor quality.  The caliber of a good or service is held in the eye of the beholder, not in the intentions of the provider.

As patients we use the same marketing lens to evaluate our healthcare providers.  Each individual within a practice serves as an ambassador, marketing the care a patient can expect to receive.  All interactions a patient has with the practice staff will influence their perspective on the physician’s business, much the same way the physician is influenced through interactions with product suppliers.

Implementing good practice marketing processes will go a long way towards raising the perceived caliber of the practice and patient care.  A review on practice marketing considerations can be found in Debbie’s post ‘Practice Marketing is Not Rocket Science’.

However, practice marketing processes can only be appreciated by the patient once we go to the practice.  First the patient must know to go.

Which brings us to the question – are your customers marketing to their customers?

Intentional effort must be focused on getting the word out that the practice is interested and ready to serve specific patients.  A bare minimum of key messages to communicate include:

  • ‘We are here and ready to serve’
  • ‘We offer the services that meet your needs’
  • ‘We stay current in specialty training’
  • ‘We are uniquely able to serve patients in our specialty’

These are likely messages that are conveyed to patients in the absence of marketing the practice:

  • ‘We are not interested in new patients’
  • ‘We do not offer new services’
  • ‘We are not current in new techniques’
  • ‘We are indistinguishable from all other practices’

Gracious and respectful interactions, good follow through and high caliber patient care constitute powerful marketing.  Patients will reward physicians for this service through provider loyalty, positive reviews and recommendations, and new patient referrals.  But first, the patient must be inclined to seek the physician, and that requires making some noise.

For another perspective on the same subject read Stewart Gandolph’s post found here:http://bit.ly/d0OxNw

Next up – what role can industry play in physician practice marketing?

(c) 2010 pH Consulting

 

 
%d bloggers like this: