Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Here's an interesting and well thought out presentation from my Twitter buddy and fellow marketer, Morgan Brown.

Although he talks succinctly about his experiences building his own personal brand, it could just as easily serve as some useful tips and ideas about a life science or biotech company or a drug produced by a pharma company. After all, we all have to start somewhere and having seen the power of viral communication and PR as well as enlightened cancer patients engagement with the media, these ideas really resonated with me.


Take a quick look at Morgan's ideas and think about how using social tools and social media could apply to brand you, your product or your company:

Image of Mike Huckman

It was particularly amusing to me to read this the week after I accidentally ended up on CNBC's Pharma's Market with Mike Huckman, who kindly invited me to provide a few sound bites on social media in response to the FDA's public hearing this week on the topic in these two short videos (with different soundbites):

You can also find out more about the event on Fabio Gratton's excellent site about the event, which crowdsources lots of great information from attendees (patients, Pharma, agencies and internet companies), presenters and those of us following remotely. 

Another Twitter buddy, Shwen Gwee, posted about the hearing and pointed to the links to the presentations, so if you're in the Pharma and Biotech industry and reading this blog or know of friends who are, these resources are all excellent background for getting started in your social media journey.

The FDA typically take 2-3 years to bring out new guidelines, if the recent one on REMS are anything to go by, so I doubt if we will see anything dramatic post hearing before 2011. 

In the meantime, it will be an interesting space to see how Pharma and Biotech develop new brand strategies, include aspects of social media to learn more about how patients really feel about their conditions and eventually begin to actually engage with consumers in more meaningful ways.  The vacuum at the moment with print but not internet guidelines will likely leave many companies anxiously watching on the sidelines for fear of being rapped on the knuckles by the FDA, as 14 of them were back in April for sponsoring branded Google ads.

After all, the best promoters of your product that you can ever have are not doctors and health care professionals, but happy patients. 

Why? 

Because they spread the word virally about your brand far more effectively and quickly than by any other method.  Of course, if they are unhappy with the medications or company's performance you can be sure that at least 15 other people will heard about that too.  Here's an excellent perspective from ACOR's Gilles Frydman on the same FDA meeting and why he was frustrated with the proceedings.

Branding and social media cuts both ways. 

The moral of the story is develop and and launch better, more effective drugs that really do make a difference to patients.

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One Response to “Building a brand using social media”

  1. Eric Garland

    Sally,
    First, awesome to see you get some great publicity on the TeeVee box.
    This is a truly fascinating development, the crash of two cultures which both cling to their rules: The Internet, which is ungovernable, and The FDA, which is rigid by necessity. I don’t want there to be rules about what information is acceptable by the Internet, and I also don’t want to see the FDA operate without some sort of rules on drug communications.
    I loved following the #FDASM tweets last week. There are no easy answers here, all we have is the opportunity to dialogue. And as the drug companies themselves are admitting, this information flow to and from patients is opening and will NEVER CLOSE AGAIN.
    I must compare this with the reaction of the music industry to the change in communications technology, leading them to sue their customers instead of to innovate their business model. You don’t need to “solve” the “problem” right away, but as an industry you absolutely CANNOT deny what’s going on. FDA and Big Pharma aren’t exactly quick about these developments, but they are pointed in the right direction.

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