A digital marketing prescription for Big Pharma

Everyone’s on social media – or just about. As more and more companies find ways to tap new markets and maximise ROI for existing ones, healthcare is one major industry that is slow in coming around to making full use of its digital marketing potential. Many of the biggest medical-supply corporations, medicine makers and other firms profiting from the multi-billion healthcare industry, have been slow to truly make their mark online, despite being sharply IT-focused in so many other ways, according to a new report.

 

Upping the e-dosage

 

The report detailing the Internet-based activities of 25 multinational pharmaceutical companies reveals that their use of social media leaves much to be desired, considering how normalised the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have become the new generation and in global society. Although many big companies may take some steps that have become common now like offering a regularly updated blog, oftentimes they neglect to take simple steps like providing local online presences in key markets. The study recommends that mega-firms take a look at their competitors and see what they’re up to online, and especially social media websites.

 

Getting a second opinion

 

To an industry that specialises in providing relief and peace of mind and body to people who may suddenly want to become instant experts in a particular disease or condition, many healthcare-related corporations have a surprisingly limited range of options when it comes to learning about what they offer. There’s no doubt that with a bit more attention applied to a fuller range of digital platforms, providers of services and those seeking them can find many more points of connection.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Lie detectors wanted

The proliferation of fake news has led to renewed calls for fair-minded institutions and individuals with the integrity to keep us informed about what really happened. In the multi-platform information age, while the amount of raw data – and big data – continues growing exponentially, the value of all of these facts, factoids and downright mistruths are coming into question. Our trust in the veracity of what we see and hear has significantly eroded. New methods are needed if mistrust is to be kept in check.

 

Faking it well

 

Younger people are getting news from social media. Traditional media has gone online too. Digital marketers have a stunningly rich array of ways in which they can spread messages. But a lack of standardisation and fact-checking all around has led to more skepticism. The way in which messages can spread has increased, while the likelihood of our believing the information thrust at us has declined. Photoshopped images were just the beginning. With deepfakes and AI getting more sophisticated by the day, and sites where stories and videos shared lack oversight and regulatory bodies filtering posts, it is becoming more of a challenge to determine what’s real.

 

Reality check

 

Propaganda has always been with us. Hollywood magic has long dazzled us with stories that we like to pretend are real, at least for a couple of hours of suspended disbelief. But now the art of make-believe has become easier and cheaper to pull off, and available to the masses. The potential societal impact is significant. Media organisations, PR agencies and other outlets with a reputation for telling it like it is now have new roles not only as representatives of particular viewpoints, but as truth tellers, in a day and age in which the truth itself has become the most precious of commodities. They may thus increasingly take on roles as agenda setters, to counteract technoractic tendencies have allowed for information to be shared with the greatest of ease, but without the fact checking that many now crave.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Influence, or lack thereof

A rude denial was not what superinfluencer Amy Seder thought would be the response she would get receive after one recent request for free accommodation. But that’s exactly what one Italian hotel fed up with requests from influencers sent her. “Blogger infestation. Not interested,” was the specific retort. With influence pedaling reaching the point of no return, it’s easy to see why many hoteliers and restaurateurs are growing increasingly reluctant to splash out on self-proclaimed influencers who don’t live up to their hype.

 

When influencing becomes freeloading

 

This is not the first famous case of a hotel delivering a sharp rebuke to an influencer, nor an isolated incident. The ‘Will influence for free accommodation’ mantra has grown old in an age jam-packed by pundits claiming that profits and public awareness will be generated by their positive reviews of the institutions that pamper them. In another incident, a Philippine resort tired of receiving requests for comp from influencers sent out a tirade that criticized the nature of the profession, questioning the idea of what on the surface may look like getting something for nothing.

 

The future of influence

 

There’s no returning to the rather quaint world of just a few years ago before online advertising started to really come into its own and allow for the cultivation of the interactive social media platforms and digital marketing of today. While a vetting process and some regulatory measures may be needed, the future of advertising and influencing, shopping and negotiating will have a significant digital component that won’t be stopped by admonishments. Influencers are here to stay, although the nature of what’s said and how it’s said will no doubt continue evolving, as has always been the case.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Influence, unregulated

The easy pull of influencer marketing via social media is undeniable. This simple, easy and free way to get to-the-point advice on a dizzying array of things you can buy online and in the real world is undeniable. But a lack of oversight and ways of verifying claims made makes the advice of these pundits questionable. Customers are ready to take away their support at a moment’s notice, creating an air of unpredictability in a system already marked by a lack of accountability.

 

Unignorably persuasive

 

Over three-fourths of Internet users have made a purchase of some kind based on the advice of influencers. Just under 60 per cent of these online shoppers claim to make it a habit of regularly following these influencers though, preferring to shop around in terms of where they get their advice from. The lack of loyalty additionally creates erratic conditions in the realm of online shopping, as key influencers battle it out to see who can gain a long-term reputation for consistently offering the best advice.

 

The authenticity thing

 

Too many influencers are seen as being insincere and less than fully knowledgeable about the products and services they promote and pan. Great majorities of online shoppers crave authenticity. Yet few influencers are seen as possessing it. Although the freedom of the Internet and free-wheeling atmosphere of influence peddling is attractive in many respects to both generators and receivers of influential news and reviews, without a more organised system for vouching for information, the nature of ideas shared online about things we want to buy is likely to remain awash with disruptions.

 

It’s who you know

 

Seven out of 10 people report trusting the opinions of influencers more than friends in real life. A veneer of trust and authority is afforded to those bold enough to tell us what they think about products and services we want. But it’s an easily broken bond, and one consumers are eager to replace with more reliable sources of information. If only we could determine and decide on what they are…

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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Mastering the art of making sales online

While more and more online shoppers are increasingly aloof in terms of loyalty to particular companies, more and more companies are turning to cheaper, in-house and, yes, often less effective strategies for marketing. This is in turn oft leading to even more reasons for customers to look elsewhere for the products and services they want, and thus help perpetuate the cycle. The nature of how society seeks, finds, decides on and markets what’s for sale, is changing dramatically.

 

Wild West of e-commerce

 

As the nature of business transactions shifts more to faceless, electronic platforms, without human-to-human negotiations and other social aspects, the more the behaviour of consumers is changing. People have different norms online than they do in the real world, and are more likely to hold out for better offers, or, in some cases, seal the deal more quickly for convenience’s sake. But it’s also much easier to leave a website than to leave an actual store, as there’s even less pressure to stick around and feign interest after it slips away, and salespeople have fewer methods of encouraging you to stay and consider making a purchase. By the same token, you can linger on websites without being approached by salespeople, and slowly consider the deal that’s best for you.

 

Bending over backwards for buyers

 

As a result, websites will try to attract in customers with sweeter deals and more promo points good for reaping rewards another day, and have to match the rising standards and expectations of customers, who know that the better companies will market their wares in ways in which the bottom line is more clear, along with the goodness of the deal being struck.

 

Why should I buy from you?

 

Whether in-house marketing teams have the content-creation, networking and logistical abilities to promote their companies is a question that many CEOs are now grappling with. The potential ROI windfall of hiring a professional marketing firm to represent your company for your next big campaign, while still significant, must be compared to what happens to a “sure thing” that fails to attract sufficient attention. In today’s PR climate, the marketability of products and services can be unclear, even if their quality is not. Who you know and how you send messages still matters. Along with a lot of little and big things known and unknown, thanks to the newness and uncertainty of what e-business actually is, and will become…

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Mistrust of brands soaring

Online shoppers are rather displeased these days with their overall interaction with brands, which are seen as not digging deep enough to win and retain customers. This is the key finding of a new report on Internet-based commerce, which details why firms of all kinds are still seen as staying too close to traditional methods.

 

More points, please

 

Close to half of respondents have excommunicated a company from their online lives for failing to win them over with enough personalization, promos and other perks. Free delivery is just for starters. It’s no longer impressive for product and service providers to give just a few token privileges, in an age where customers can easily find competitors eager to show that they could do a better job.

 

Wrecking the basics

 

For a label like “influencer”, influencers may not all that influential. They rank lowly in terms of trustworthiness in the new study. Celebrities are ranked even lower. At the top are family members and colleagues. The more distant the physical proximity and access to real-world interactions, the less likely the influence is, according to the report. At least movie stars have another, more important line of work, and are viewed as taking on work in advertisements because they are valuable for who they are more than what they say.

 

Lobbying behind the scenes

 

But many influencers have fallen into the trap that journalists have, by having a career that invites others to persuade them to promote a particular, often one-sided message. Least trusted of all, according to the report, and for similar reasons, were politicians. This reinforces a timeless PR message: if you are in a position where what you say and how you say it are taken note of, stay clear of corruptive influences if you want your reputation to last.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

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TELL A STORY PEOPLE WILL WANT TO SHARE.

Humans are storytellers and story sharers. Everyone loves a good story and they also love to share those stories on their social media accounts such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. When a brand has a great story to tell they need to ensure it is told well and in a way that people will want to tell their connections about.

 

Share and share a like

 

Today, every single person who is active on social media is like a mini digital media company of one, they are your add-ons to traditional media channels. If it’s an event give them something to photograph, video, or simply write about and if it is a static story on social media make sure it is worthy of a like and a share because when you do this you have instantly increased your reach and engagement beyond paid media channels.

 

Put a capital ‘E’ in your stories

 

Pick one or more of these to be the focus of your brand’s story –

 

Engaging – when you’re telling someone something they want to hear about then you have already been welcomed into their world.

 

Educational – when your story will help enhance someone’s life through knowledge and valuable information they will react accordingly, they will be thankful for the information and more often than not they will share it.

 

Entertaining – we all love to be entertained and when a brand’s story can be told in a lively and fun way then audiences will be thankful. We all lead such busy lives so when a brand can provide some respite people will not only be thankful they will also remember what the brand did.

 

Exciting – big news gets attention, so when a story has some ‘wow’ factor to it people will respond. Stop people in their tracks with something they cannot resist walking past and paying attention to.

 

Empathetic – brands that understand their audience will always have loyal followers, when a story is told in a way that people can relate to that story will be sure to resonate with them.

 

Emotional – when your story can tug at someone’s heartstrings it is hard for them not to react, but you need to do it in a way that touches their feelings and will be embraced by them.

 

The best stories are rarely forgotten and luckily in today’s social media enthralled world those stories are spread far and wide. So when considering your next public relations campaign strategy ensure you have a story to tell for your brand and that it is one others will want to share.

 

Joseph Henry is the founder and CEO of Vivaldi Public Relation Agency.

He is an expert communicator and influencer who has been helping leading companies achieve their strategic objectives in Asia for the last 20 years.

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LIGHTS, CAMERAS, TRACTION. WHY VIDEO IS AN IMPORTANT ASSET IN PR.

We live in a world dominated by digital screens, they’re in our homes, in stores, on the street, on public transport, in planes, in our offices, and of course in our hands. So it is no surprise that video is one of the best ways to engage with an audience as there are so many options available to get their attention and drive engagement.

Video is social

Social media is dominated by videos, Instagram, once used only for photos is now populated by user videos and brand videos. Its IGTV offering has already proven to be extremely popular as has the Stories feature. In fact, video posts on Instagram receive 38% more engagement than image posts. Social media influencers on Instagram were fast to adapt to video and those who embraced it as part of their strategy saw their ‘Likes’ and engagement increase as a result.

Using video as part of a public relations strategy today is an essential consideration and there are so many opportunities to capture and create content from product launches to announcements, events, presentations, and speeches that can then be spread across multiple media outlets from broadcast to online.

One size doesn’t fit all

It’s important to not only understand your audience but also the platform you plan to post your video on and ensure you have already considered your strategy for how to shoot and edit your video content to suit each format. For example with IGTV you need to remember that it is a portrait (vertical) format, whereas with Facebook you opt for either landscape (horizontal) or square and with YouTube landscape works best.

Team effort

Most of us are carrying a powerful video tool in our hands each and every day, our smartphones. So it is now much easier for the PR team to capture some behind the scenes and making of video content while your main video team are focussed on the prime content. Skilling up some team members to competently shoot video is not hard, arm them with a few add-ons for their phones and have a specialist give them a few lessons and you’ll have additional footage to fill some gaps to release on social media as either ‘behind the scenes’ or ‘making of’ content.

So when your planning your next PR campaign it makes sense to see how video can be incorporated and used to maximum effect.

 

Joseph Henry is the founder and CEO of Vivaldi Public Relation Agency.

He is an expert communicator and influencer who has been helping leading companies achieve their strategic objectives in Asia for the last 20 years.

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PR ethics for competition and communication

In this final edition in a short series of blogs on how the Public Relations Society of America’s Code of Ethics relates to online-based PR today, the concepts of furthering communication and competition are looked at. On the face of it, the nature of digital realities today make ‘competition’ and ‘communication’ rather synonymous and symbiotic, seemingly forever feeding each other in an endless round of healthy if at times barbed exchanges online, with no communication-inhibiting monopolization in sight thanks to the competitive nature of posts and counter-posts on Facebook, Trip Advisor and the like…

 

Beyond tit for tat

 

…Only that these social media platforms can become self-serving pedestals and alter the nature and purpose of communication carried out on them. The PRSA’s stated commitment to a free flow of information, are checked by societal forces that have always worked to crush competitive forces, for better or worse, which often links with the idea of limited or at least dramatically curtailed communication. Worse, the go-to biggies of the digital age like Google, Facebook and Mircosoft, while officially espousing free expression, have all come up into trouble for hindering the freedoms they claim they stand for. These three titans have faced, and fought, for example, enormous fines from the European Union, and have become accustomed to operating with few to no rivals. The democratizing forces of the Internet have come up against firewalls protecting multinational institutions, which are often the ones setting the new standards.

 

Is there still room for privacy?

 

While Facebook’s CEO famously derided the idea of privacy in the future, and censorship, facial recognition technology and other digital forces coalesce to serve the consolidation of power, signs of counterbalance are found in new messy norms which champion the peer reviews of the little guy and the growth of the next big-time Gen Z influencer. But as long the Information Age police are the information providers themselves, the whole point of digitalupgrades’ are called into question.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

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Welcome to your home away from home

Accepting new employees into the work culture of your office is a test of if a company to apply core beliefs fairly to everyone. Does the mission statement really reflect the higher reality or do cliques and corruption have more clout? The answer can be found in instances like when new employees are onboarded. Here are a few ways to show how welcoming newcomers can help enhance commitment to the right kind of corporate values.

 

Keep it stylish

 

A sense of fun can do wonders, as offices become more homes and coworkers like family members, in ways where overlapping is possible, depending on the organization. Examples of infusing casual rhythms of relaxation can come, for example, through encouraging freedom of expression through allowing employees to decorate and personalize their office space as they like. Making the home away from home closer to home itself can boost morale and productivity.

 

Bond with me

 

Company evenings and outings allow members from different departments to mingle and engage in ways based on light-hearted conversation and entertainment in memorable points of connection that create deeper relations and a sense of trust.

 

Hear my voice

 

In meetings and in consultations with work teams, and clients too whenever possible, ask new employees for their feedback and opinions. Encourage them to speak out and share what they think and have personal sessions to further prove the point.

 

Meet the family

 

Bosses who make the effort to go over and meet new employees at their homes or invite them to theirs show in dramatic ways that newcomers are very much a part of the family. This attention to detail and high level of personalization of course also can pay dividends in cases where the personal touch can go far in impressing clients as well.

 

The Human & Digital Communications Agency

Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.

Best PR Agency Delivering PR | Social | Digital. 

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