Friday, November 02, 2012

How Big is BIG? [infographic]

Written by Fabio Gratton, Chief Experience Officer, Ignite Health

A few months ago analyst Chetan Sharma in his excellent “State of the Global MobileUnion 2012” presentation shared a piece of data related to mobile that really blew me away.  We all know that the rate of mobile adoption is staggering – outpacing almost every other technology that has come before.  But did you know that more people have mobile phones than electricity or drinking water?  When Chetan shared that piece of data it was like a slap in the face.  It reminded me of the time when someone described to me the size of Facebook in terms of a country’s population: It would be the third largest.   Wow, that’s really big.  

The only other time I remember having a total needle-scratching-off-the-record moment was when I read an article that quoted Google’s Eric Schmidt describing the amount of data that we create today.  He said: “There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003.  That much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing.”  That’s crazy big!   

Sometimes it’s really difficult to grasp the enormity of things, especially when those things are abstract (like data).  However, when people describe how big something is relative to something you know or understand it suddenly makes it real.   Anyway, Chetan’s slide about the enormity of mobile made me want to attempt to visualize some of the data I just described into a single visual in an effort to paint a collective “big” picture of these very big things.  I hope it works.

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Monday, October 01, 2012

The People Are The Network: Electrify Them

Written by Fabio Gratton, Chief Experience Officer (CXO) of Ignite Health.

Creating an unforgettable experience today requires both a big idea and the seamless delivery of that idea across numerous customer-chosen channels. These "channels" are, in many respects, the modern day "network" – much the way marketers used to look at television or radio as channels that had to carry a brand's message to the masses. But unlike those mass media vehicles, today's networks are at once both real and virtual, wired and wireless, people- and software-powered, fueled as much by the money spent to secure the "media" as by the dreams inspired by the ideas they carry.

This new landscape is both wonderful and frightening – requiring today's strategists to be able to perform, think, and mobilize like Lennon, Newton, and King all at once. If done well, brands can be set to buzz through these virtual wires -- wires built on the backbone of, and electrified by, the very people they are trying to engage. It's within this context that today's communications agency operates; therefore, to be successful it must be able to not only give birth to big ideas, but also know how to insert them at the right time on the right network – one that is supercharged with the right people capable of electrifying the brand, without electrocuting it.

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Monday, September 10, 2012


Walking competition taking place during Joslin's Diabetes Innovation 2012

BOSTON, MA, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 – Healthrageous, Inc., a digital health management company, announced today that the company will host a walking competition during Joslin’s Diabetes Innovation 2012, September 23-25, which will also raise money to support the Joslin Diabetes Center High Hopes Fund. Healthrageous will provide each conference attendee with a wireless pedometer to wear during the event, and step counts will be wirelessly collected and displayed throughout the conference. Healthrageous will donate up to $10,000 to the Joslin High Hopes Fund, based on the total step count achieved by participants.

"People with diabetes can improve their quality of life by becoming more active. Helping people become educated and motivated about the role physical activity and exercise can play in managing diabetes is an important step forward in addressing this major health crisis," said Rick Lee, President and CEO, Healthrageous. "We are also delighted to support Joslin's High Hopes Fund, bringing hope and help to children and their families with diabetes."

Throughout the event Healthrageous will display the Top Ten leaders of the walking competition, as well as posters stressing the importance of exercise for people with diabetes. Participants will also receive wristbands to act as a reminder to get exercise. The top three steppers will receive gift cards of $500, $250 and $100.

According to Julie Brown, Director of Professional Education, Joslin Diabetes Center, “Diabetes Innovation 2012 is designed to widen the field of vision for all stakeholders to clearly examine all processes and relationships -- the food culture, food distribution and marketing, government policy, funding, clinical protocols, patient involvement, research, and beyond -- and examine where we can find improvements and partners to reverse the dual epidemic that is obesity and diabetes. We appreciate Healthrageous’ innovative approach to allow us to ‘walk the talk’ and thank them for their support and contributions to the event and to ‘High Hopes.’"

Physical activity can have an overall positive effect on an individual's health. For people with diabetes, exercise can help to manage blood glucose and blood pressure, improve cholesterol, improve the body's ability to use insulin and lower the risk for heart disease and stroke. The American Diabetes Association's updated guidelines (June 2012) suggest one of the first treatment strategies for newly diagnosed patients with Type 2 diabetes is to improve health habits, including diet and exercise, to lower blood sugar levels.

Diabetes Innovation 2012 features leaders and innovators from all sectors, and will include innovations in prevention, delivery and adherence as well as innovations in process and policy. Among over 100 faculty, and hundreds of audience members, from industry and the payer, provider, patient and purchaser community and academia, leaders from many of the most important government agencies (AHRQ, PCORI, NIH, CDC, FDA, CMS, CMMI) will be on hand to encourage open dialogue and collaboration to speed system improvements. The event is sponsored by Sanofi US, with support from Target. To sponsor, exhibit or register for Diabetes Innovation 2012, please visit

About Healthrageous
Healthrageous, Inc., is a digital health engagement and management company that supports individual journeys to prevent and self-manage chronic health conditions via the web and a mobile app. It achieves superior engagement through its proprietary platform that incorporates personalized goal setting, health journey maps with gaming dynamics, timely biometric feedback and interactive digital coaching. The digital coach leverages multiple tools such as inspirational messages, recognition and incentives, challenges, social networking, trackers and reminders, and interactive educational content. Healthrageous is headquartered in Boston, MA, and its investors include North Bridge Venture Partners (Boston, MA/San Mateo, CA), Egan Managed Capital (Boston, MA) and Long River Ventures (Amherst, MA). For more information, go to

About Joslin Diabetes Center
Joslin Diabetes Center, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is the world's largest diabetes research and clinical care organization. Joslin is dedicated to ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives and offers real hope and progress toward diabetes prevention and a cure. Joslin is an independent, nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Our mission is to prevent, treat and cure diabetes.  Our vision is a world free of diabetes and its complications. For more information , visit
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Federal Regulators Expected To Step Up Scrutiny Of Hospitals' Social Media Efforts

/PRNewswire/ -- As more hospitals use social media to connect with the public, they can expect closer scrutiny by federal regulators, writes LeClairRyan attorney Michael F. Ruggio in column posted on July 13. He warns of growing concern that hospital employees and other representatives will inadvertently violate regulations—particularly ones introduced as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—as they strive to interact with the broader community via the likes of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
"One of the clearest examples of the stepped up regulatory interest concerns the pharmaceutical industry, which is also subject to stiff oversight," writes Ruggio, who leads the national law firm's Healthcare Industry Team. "At the end of last year, the FDA published its first draft guidance, ( on the topic of social media and off-label claims about regulated pharmaceuticals."
The 13-page draft was aimed at helping companies get a handle on the FDA's position, but it was narrowly focused and may have prompted more confusion, he notes. For example, the agency lists several examples of solicited and unsolicited, public and non-public, requests, along with its view of some of the appropriate responses, but neglects to address many other issues.
In the column ("Bowing to the inevitable: Regulators are bound to scrutinize hospital use of social media tools"), Ruggio notes that even though specific social media guidelines haven't been issued by the government, "hospitals can nonetheless work with counsel to make sure their approaches to social networking comply with the spirit and letter of applicable regulations to the greatest possible extent. This is a far-better approach than a head-in-the-sand approach that proclaims 'We don't have guidelines yet, so let's just ignore this and hope for the best.'"
Some institutions, like Massachusetts General Hospital, have already moved to meet this challenge by publishing detailed social media usage guidelines for both employees and the public as part of its overall compliance efforts. Ruggio advises that one important component of an effective strategy involves ensuring that social media policies are communicated to anyone with access to a company social media account, even if they only have the ability to send an email to a consumer regarding a healthcare-related question.
"The basic point is to be conservative, knowing that social media regulations are all but inevitable," Ruggio says. "If you would not say something in a four-color brochure, do not say it in any online forum or email, keeping in mind that even a 'private' email can be posted on Facebook or other public forums. Also, keep track of the government's enforcement actions and policy statements even if they pertain to other industries, because they might offer clues about the broader concept of social media regulation."
The rise of social media has created lots of new "friends" for the hospital sector, but unwelcome or even potentially litigious guests are also part of the social media scene, he warns. "Unfortunately, you can't 'unfriend' a class-action lawsuit or 'block' a federal agency's enforcement action with the click of a mouse," Ruggio says. "The time to speak with counsel, and to review and update your policies is now, before something unfortunate happens."
About LeClairRyan
As a trusted advisor, LeClairRyan provides business counsel and client representation in corporate law and litigation. In this role, the firm applies its knowledge, insight and skill to help clients achieve their business objectives while managing and minimizing their legal risks, difficulties and expenses.  With offices in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the firm has approximately 350 attorneys representing a wide variety of clients throughout the nation.  For more information about LeClairRyan, visit
SOURCE LeClairRyan

Read more here:

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why has it taken pharma so long to get digital?

source: EyeforPharma
Written by Caroline Criado-Perez 
Caroline discusses some of the positive digital innovations over the past few months and questions whether or not we've heard it all before...
Another week, the beginning of another beautiful health – digital relationship We’ve had Pfizer’s online clinical trial. We’ve had Vodafone and Exco InTouch. And now, drum-roll please, we have Boehringer Ingelheim’s collaboration with Healthrageous.
BI and Healthrageous have initiated a pilot study that will evaluate the potential that digital solutions offer for improving the health of patients with type 2 diabetes. What this collaboration offers patients is clear: they will in effect receive round-the-clock care, through the use of Healthrageous’ digital monitoring system. They will receive ‘digital coaching’ and ‘a wireless glucose meter transmitting data to clinical monitors. The internet-based tool will be able to follow the effects of all shifts in the patient’s behaviour, from drug adherence, to lifestyle changes.
In Boehringer Ingelheim’s press release about their new collaboration with Healthrageous, they speak of a ‘beyond pill’ approach to healthcare. Chicago’s The Legal Examiner uses ‘Beyond the Pill’ as their headline. Dominic Tyer on PMLive quotes the ‘beyond the pill’ tagline. Everywhere you turn, ‘beyond the pill’ is being bandied about like it’s the latest, exciting new idea.
Except it isn’t. Let’s take a little trip down the old Memory Lane, shall we?
First stop, March 2011. Jonathan Richman. A little talk called ‘Your Computer is the Next Wonder Drug’. Ringing any bells? That’s right, over a year ago, Richman was talking about the need for pharm to act less like a manufacturer and more like a services company. He cited the disparity between the $60 billion spent by pharma on R&D in 2010, and the 21 new drugs approved by the FDA in the same year.
And it’s not just about money-saving either. As is explicitly stated by BI in their press release, one of the aims, and expected outcomes, of their collaboration with Healthrageous is to improve patient adherence, patient lifestyle. In short, to improve patient health – which is surely what pharma’s all about isn’t it?
OK, now let’s delve a little further back into the mists of time. A video this time (aren’t we getting all 21st century on you). A video in which those in the know refuse to get too excited about the idea of pharma’s collaboration with digital technology, because they’ve heard it all before.
Particularly striking is Dr Leandro Herrero, CEO of The Chalfont Project, who speaks of the conversation as ‘deja vu’. He laments that the idea is ‘not one that we’ve invented tonight’. Far from it. He gives a particularly enlightening example of what he means: at a talk he gave not long before the dinner, he used some slides, which had the audience nodding along enthusiastically. He then revealed that the slides were the same as the ones he had used in 2002. The message was clear: no-one was taking the initiative and making the changes needed.
Kevin Dolgin was downbeat about pharma’s ability or even appetite to engage effectively with a ‘beyond the pill’ approach. ‘Maybe pharma aren’t the people to do it’, he says. In an even more doom-laden forecast, Dave Chase compares pharma’s attitude to ‘the short-term thinking of Wall Street’, suggesting that, unless pharma pulls its digital socks up, and gets down and dirty in the big digital arena, it will follow in the steps of certain newspapers: unable to adapt to the realities on the newly digitized world, they will fall behind and eventually collapse.
Now, I know it looks like I’m being critical of BI. But I’m not – well, OK I am, a little. But only because this kind of partnership, while welcome, has taken an unbelievably long time to come about, leaving voices like Richman’s to exist as lone Cassandras in the wilderness – the lack of FDA guidelines is no excuse for lagging at least a decade behind every other industry online. It is to BI’s credit that they are finally investing properly in the digital revolution and exploring the benefits that collaborations between pharma and digital can offer patients.
So, the gauntlet has been laid down pharma. Will you answer the siren-call of the digital world?
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Exploring 3 New Pharma Facebook Brand Pages

Written by Angel Xie, Engagement Planner, Ignite Health

We’ve seen a lot of buzz on the use of Facebook Brand Pages and Timeline in the Pharmaceutical world -- but up until recently there have been limited examples of companies that have taken advantage of the new format in a way to really engage the community.  For the most part, all the discussion to date has centered around how companies can effectively build relationships while operating within the ill-defined pharma regulations.  Though our industry's box might be significantly smaller, the sweet spot remains the same: establishing an emotional bond and providing useful information to the community.  Today, we wanted to take a look at a few recent examples of companies with the healthcare industry that are leveraging the facebook timeline platform to connect with their audiences.
  • PsoriasisSpeaks (Abbott)
  • Our Hemophila Community (Pfizer)
  • Medtronic Diabetes (Medtronic)

PsoriasisSpeaks seems to have established their social presence very recently. While still in the beginning of building their empire, the Facebook brand page is tightly linked to their core unbranded disease education Website With tabs featuring its signature "Patient Advocate Program" and clearly identifying the CTAs, it is hard to get lost in the space. 

The more interesting highlight of the page is its community management. The ground rule is set as “This page is for US audiences only. Mentions of specific doctors’ names, product names or potential side effects will be removed”.  People are encouraged to participate in the conversation under such rule, and the feedback from community managers has been quite timely and personalized. While the brand continues to experiment with its content strategy and fulfill its social ecosystem, it would be interesting to play with ideas like such:
  1. Leverage its Advocates program and extend the connection beyond phone and email into Social
  2. Respect the fact that people may be embarrassed to share with their social circles about such conditions – there is a need to allow privacy settings and emotional support or education.

Comparing to the prior, Abbott's Our Hemophilia Community is a much more tightly-managed space -- no comments are allowed at all. The platform is mainly used to broadcast contents from Pfizer’s product brand sites (BeneFix & Xyntha) and its affiliated Hemophilia Village, which we thought was quite interesting as it may give precedent to other brands for connecting unbranded social to branded.

The ISI (Important Safety Information) is listed as top priority on the tabs, as recommended by many healthcare best practices. We were quite disappointed to find the Community Connections and Resources pages to be out of order -- being the gateway to its comprehensive contents on Hemophilia Village. As we respect brand’s choice of restraining comments on social media, there is definitely room for improvements on streamlining the ecosystem journey via deeper integration of site contents on
brand pages:
  1. Feature story videos or resource links on timeline with thumbnails for higher engagement
  2. Experiment with consumer-centric approach of content strategy, instead of information on the higher priority list for business.

With a fully implemented ecosystem, the Medtronic Diabetes Facebook page exhibits a robust social presence. With content integration at the tabs level, one can easily navigate all contents without leaving the Facebook page. Content updates are updated frequently and personal. The brand has clearly established a strong persona with vivid characters through these real life stories on its timeline. 

The fan base is strongly united and regularly shouts out support to cheer the each other up. Community management is relatively open with rules clearly labeled on its top tabs. Similarly to PsoriasisSpeaks, feedback appears to be timely and personal. With such a good social etiquette, it's no surprise to see 36,771 "likes" and high engagement rates. While we love the content, our recommendations are related to the ecosystem structure and User Experience (UX): 
  1. Integrate its branded YouTube channel with its Facebook Page under the “Video” tab
  2. Provide more navigation guidance within the "Patient stories" section, especially for new

Social technologies can provide brands with tools to innovate their communication in all kinds of way; however, the real value today is to use these technologies to do something remarkably simple: enable natural human connections.   As healthcare agencies, we need to embrace these tools more than anyone else out there.   As long as we always put ourselves in the shoes of the patient, we will always have a compass that can help us understand what "good" looks like.   "True North" is always governed by the same principle regardless of the industry we operate in: Do The Right Thing.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

WorldOne acquires Sermo -- Becomes the largest and most engaged U.S. physician network

Becomes the largest and most engaged U.S. physician network, eclipsing 350,000 opted in and verified U.S. doctors

New York, NY and Cambridge, MA (July 19, 2012) WorldOne (, the global leader in healthcare insights and intelligence, today announced that it has acquired Sermo (, the largest online community of U.S. physicians. In the six years since its launch, Sermo amassed a membership of 130,000 physicians and hundreds of clients, including eight of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world. 

This past year WorldOne successfully launched a new division, WorldOne Interactive, focused on leveraging emerging technologies and progressive social applications to connect and engage healthcare professionals globally. With the acquisition of Sermo and its l­eading discussion and crowdsourcing platform for physicians, WorldOne considerably expands its interactive and digital engagement capabilities. WorldOne already boasts a global network of 1.7 million healthcare professionals, including over 1 million verified physicians across 80 countries; adding Sermo’s membership will further increase reach, allow for unprecedented client list match rates, expand research opportunities, and serve as a catalyst for increased physician discussion, insights and collaboration.

“Sermo fits in perfectly with our strategy to extend our digital footprint across healthcare market research and enhance our growing portfolio of innovative engagement solutions,” said Peter Kirk, CEO of WorldOne. “Sermo has proven that sustaining an active, engaged community can result in higher interest in and response to market research as well as new promotional opportunities. Combining Sermo’s technology and social media expertise with WorldOne’s global scale enables us to rapidly accelerate our growth while offering the most enriching, collaborative online environment for physicians anywhere in the world.”

“As Sermo grew the most vibrant online physician community in the U.S. and, more recently, provided clients more robust research and promotion opportunities, clients asked for global reach and more key specialists,” said Tim Davenport, CEO of Sermo. “WorldOne adds both of these overnight, while Sermo greatly augments WorldOne’s online and interactive business.” 

Through the Sermo acquisition, WorldOne assembles the largest global community of physicians online.

About WorldOne
WorldOne is the largest healthcare data collection company in the world serving the market research industry for over a decade. Headquartered in New York with 16 regional offices across North America, South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, WorldOne offers clients online and offline access to medical professionals in over 80 countries through a range of differentiated products and services. WorldOne’s global network includes over 1.7 million fully verified healthcare professionals, who in 2011 completed nearly half a million online surveys, answering over 20 million questions. 

About Sermo
Sermo is the largest online physician community in the United States, with more than 130,000 physicians spanning 68 specialties. All Sermo members are verified and credentialed physicians who collaborate on cases and exchange observations to improve patient care, discuss drugs and devices and share information on new therapies and innovations. Sermo also provides a way to target and engage physicians by providing access to its community for clients that need fast, actionable insights into treatments, medications and devices.

Jon Michaeli
VP, Marketing and Community
P: 617-497-1110
T: @W1_Interactive/@Sermo

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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Doctor's Digital Path to Treatment

7/12/2012 Google partnered with Manhattan Research and fielded over 500 practicing physicians to understand their digital adoption across devices and media channels. Further, we wanted to learn whether their digital learnings impact their patient treatments. Here are some highlights from the study:
  • Physicians perform an average of 6 professional searches a day.
  • 68% of physicians are prompted to use a search engine because a patient seeks more information during a consult.84% of physicians search on condition related keyword terms. 
  • Only 17% search on pharmaceutical manufacturer terms.
  • One in three physicians click on sponsored listings.
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Google Think Health: From Script to Screen

Physicians are using digital tools more than ever before to make clinical and treatment decisions, presenting an opportunity for marketers to reach, engage and drive action in new ways. This infographic from the Google/Manhattan Research "The Doctor's Digital Path to Treatment" published in April 2012 illustrates how physicians are constantly connected and how they utilize search, mobile and video in their daily clinical decision-making and patient education.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012


BOSTON, MA, JULY 10, 2012 -- Healthrageous, Inc., a digital health management company, announced today that the company is collaborating with Boehringer Ingelheim to evaluate a lifestyle behavior modification program to improve the health status of people with Type 2 diabetes. Study participants will experience a digital technology intervention combining digital coaching and a wireless glucose meter. The study will evaluate the impact of the intervention on changes in lifestyle behaviors, glucose control, additional medical parameters and medication adherence.
The goal of the program is to leverage technology in a way that makes the personalized journey of self-managing diabetes easier and more effective. During the collaboration, adults employed by a self-insured employer in the U.S., and diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes for at least six months, will have access to Healthrageous’ digital diabetes self-management program. The web and smartphone delivered program will include a personalized action plan with health behavior improvement goals, biometric feedback to demonstrate goal achievement and milestones, digital coach interaction, recognition and incentives for progress, supply and strip refill ordering, capturing HEDIS measures, medication reminders, and social networking support. Further details of the agreement were not provided.
“Innovations in machine learning and technology offer the opportunity to create and deliver a unique experience for each person with Type 2 diabetes,” said Rick Lee, President and CEO, Healthrageous. “Our digital diabetes platform will help us to better understand what motivates individuals to become and remain engaged in self-managing their health. We are delighted to be working with Boehringer Ingelheim on this first-of-its-kind evaluation of the promise that digital technology holds in stemming the Type 2 diabetes epidemic.”

About Boehringer Ingelheim The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 145 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 44,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
As a central element of its culture, Boehringer Ingelheim pledges to act socially responsible. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim’s endeavors.

In 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about 13.2 billion euro. R&D expenditure in the business area Prescription Medicines corresponds to 23.5% of its net sales.For more information, go to

About Healthrageous
Healthrageous, Inc., is a digital health engagement and management company that supports individual journeys to prevent and self-manage chronic health conditions via the web and a mobile app. It achieves superior engagement through its proprietary platform that incorporates personalized goal setting, health journey maps with gaming dynamics, timely biometric feedback and interactive digital coaching. The digital coach leverages multiple tools such as inspirational messages, recognition and incentives, challenges, social networking, trackers and reminders, and interactive educational content. Healthrageous is headquartered in Boston, MA, and its investors include North Bridge Venture Partners (Boston, MA/San Mateo, CA), Egan Managed Capital (Boston, MA) and Long River Ventures (Amherst, MA). For more information, go to
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Confirmed: Facebook Pages for Brands Will Get Profile Pic Makeover April 26

There have been some rumors lately that Facebook is quietly testing some new features for its recently-launched timeline-driven brand pages. Today, one of those rumors was confirmed by our friendly facebook reps (as well as tech blog TheNextWeb):
Starting April 26, 2012, the profile pic for brands (which currently displays at 125 x 125 pixels) will display at 160 x 160 pixels.
Apparently this change resulted from feedback from testing. The profile pic will sit 23 pixels from the left and 210 pixels from the top.

Why does this matter? For one, brand profile pics uploaded at 125 x 125 pixels will be automatically scaled up to fit this new dimension -- and will risk looking pretty terrible unless a new image is uploaded.

Secondly, for those brands that have carefully crafted cover & profile pictures to fit nicely together, this change will create problems in terms of alignment.

So, for those of you out there managing brand pages on facebook, you might want to take another look at your brand page to ensure that when these changes take effect you are ready. To stay informed of other updates coming that might impact your brand, follow us on twitter.

Images in this post courtesy Michael Eggelton who wrote an excellent blog speculating on this subject a few days ago.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Medical Marketing & Media Virtual Summit 2012 A virtual event with real results.

The Medical Marketing & Media Virtual Summit 2012 A virtual event with real results.

When: March 27, 2012
Where: Wherever you have internet connection
Time: 10:00 a.m. ET
to register for this FREE virtual conference.

One lucky registrant will win a new Kindle Fire

The MM&M Virtual Summit is an online event where some of the finest leaders and thinkers in healthcare marketing will discuss and share strategies, observations and insights on key issues facing the industry. It's also a forum to foster live, interactive dialogue between delegates, speakers and sponsors. Delegates will be marketing executives from pharmaceutical, biotech, device and diagnostics companies, plus advertising and marketing agency executives, vendors, industry consultants and other prominent figures in healthcare marketing. Last year's inaugural MM&M Virtual Summit drew almost 1,000 registrants, with 500 of those attending live on the day. This year's attendance is expected to surpass that.


Keynote: State of the Industry
10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Presented by:
Deborah Dunsire, President and CEO, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company

Facing a perfect storm of patent expirations, dwindling pipelines, regulatory roadblocks, empowered patients and healthcare reform, is there any hope for pharma? You bet there is.

The Mobile Phenomenon

11:25 a.m. - 12:05 p.m.
Presented by:
Joan Mikardos, Senior Director and Head of the Digital Center of Excellence, Sanofi US
Sponsored by:
eHealthcare Solutions

How apps and location-based mobile will further impact wellness, disease awareness, treatment adherence, behavioral change, marketing efforts-and health outcomes.

Regulatory Outlook

12: 20 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Presented by:
John Kamp, Executive Director, Coalition for Healthcare Communication

Are you ready for the Sunshine Act? Do you know what you can do online yet? What else is coming? Be better prepared with our crash-course in navigating the regulatory landscape.

Are We Putting Patients First Yet?

1:15 p.m. - 1:55 p.m.
Presented by:
Jack Barrette, CEO, WEGO Health
Kelly Beyer, Associate Director Digital Strategy & Services, Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Erika Brown, Colorectal Cancer Health Activist and Mayor Pro-Tem,

The quest for open dialogue between drug makers and drug takers is not so much a pipedream these days, as a necessity. Marketers and health activists chart the progress and the pain.

Between a Rep and a Hard Place

2:10 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.
Presented by:
Mike Luby, Founder/President, BioPharma Alliance

With the rep arms race a distant memory, pharma's sales operations must foster more valuable, insightful and technologically savvy exchanges with physicians. How do you do that, exactly?

Platinum Sponsors:

e-Healthcare Solutions

CLICK HERE to register for this FREE virtual conference.

Questions? Contact Anthony Curry @ / 646-638-6009

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Monday, March 05, 2012

Facebook Timelines for Brands and The Implications for Pharma Companies

Welcome to “Brand Narratives & Storytelling”

Written by Michael Spitz, VP Channel Engagement at Ignite Health

Something absolutely unprecedented has happened in digital: The most powerful movers and shakers don’t react to the immediate needs of their customers, but actually shape those needs by creating compelling communication devices and platforms that none of us can live without. The key to this success is the ability to mirror how we naturally communicate with the tools we use to communicate; Apple and Facebook have revolutionized the world by innately understanding people first, then tech. And with every update they up their game in terms of engendering communication experiences that are increasingly compelling, customized, and connected.

On February 29th Facebook announced sweeping changes to the way brands market on the platform, including coupon creation, premium ad products, real-time insights, and the introduction of Timeline for Brand Pages. Set to go live March 30 with a testing grace period until then, the new Brand Page user experience enables brands to tell their stories in the same way people narrate each other’s lives, and follows a format nearly identical to personal timeline pages: highlighted by a cover photo stretching across the top, with content chronologically arranged in criss-cross fashion down the page, with tabs running along the top instead of the left side.

Nothing could be more glorious for marketers, who have historically grappled with one-way, poorly targeted push channels that have gotten in the way of as much as encouraged communication and behavioral change. Stunning advances in social media and mobile make messaging increasingly relevant and engaging, heightening the likelihood for conversion. So marketers the world over are rejoicing over this amazing opportunity for brands to tell their stories and captivate eager, participatory audiences with even more customized content, real time two-way dialogue, and personalized engagement.

Unique Challenges & Opportunities for Pharma

But as pharma marketers we already know that our playing field is radically different. Patients and healthcare professionals aren’t shopping, and pharmaceutical companies are highly regulated. So every exciting improvement in social media often sends a shudder down the halls of pharma, further exposing them to adverse event reporting, reputation management concerns, and the promulgation of misinformation. Compounding these worries is user privacy, as the public dissemination of patient and even physician information opens up a Pandora’s Box of legal, ethical, and even clinical challenges.

The good news is a vast majority of pharma social communications are corporate and unbranded initiatives, ones where risk aversion and creative expression need not be mutually exclusive. So for campaigns outside the boundaries of FDA/OPDP the new Timeline Brand Pages could hold amazing promise and usher in new era where pharma can begin to tell its own narratives and engage the public in a manner truly transparent, credible, and trustworthy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at each new Facebook feature, and discuss its direct implications for the industry. Our goal is to decide whether or not and how our pharma clients will be able to take advantage of the new layout, and what kind of insights we can provide them as valued digital partners.

Cover Photo & Fair Balance Concerns

An 851 x 315 pixel photo runs across the top of each Timeline Brand Page. Photos can be easily swapped out and offer an inviting masthead starting the brand narrative and beckoning engagement, but cannot contain any text whatsoever—raising our first pharma-specific issue, and a potentially serious one at that. Since the real estate is both above the fold and one of the few pieces of static content on the otherwise highly dynamic Timeline, one would hope to anchor requisite indication and safety information in this area. But since that’s precluded by the no-text rule, pharma will be forced to house the ISI in a custom content area, accessible through one of the page tabs. Obviously our clients take the prominent and ubiquitous display of fair balance extremely seriously—so many legacy brands will likely be forced to remove their pages, while those willing to migrate must address these challenges. An ideal solution could be a pharma-specific cover photo rule and template designed to feature scrolling ISI on 60% or so of the area, but in lieu of that we must be cautious about our recommendations for branded content on Facebook, and alert our clients to this limitation.

Timeline Content Areas & White Listing

Brand Page administrators will be given control over each post, able to make some larger than others, as well as hide them. The new “pinning” feature a la Pinterest lets admins place content prominently at the top of the timeline for as long as seven days. Most importantly for pharma, Facebook has informed us that White Listing WILL be made available, enabling eligible pages to completely shut off all commenting and “Likes”. The process for getting White Listed is similar to the current approach of working with regional Facebook reps assigned to larger clients, so we advise reaching out directly to Facebook to ensure eligibility and expeditious processing.

Challenges will remain, however, for legacy Brand Pages migrating to this format because their Wall content is sparse or non-existent. Additional challenges raise their head in the “Friend” areas as seen above, where users will be able to see other friends who have liked the page, and related friend content could be dynamically generated and shared in a manner that could be unwelcome, inappropriate, or even considered a violation for a healthcare audience valuing privacy above all. Once again, Ignite highly recommends that Facebook reps be engaged early and often in this process to ensure the features and functionality sets fall safely within regulatory boundaries, and the results communicated to brand teams in a manner that’s simple and actionable.

Administrator Panel & Direct Messaging Capabilities

Facebook has taken a new and highly functional approach to Brand Page management with a panel that appears at the top of pages for administrators. The tool presents a real-time snapshot of topline insights, people Liking the page, all notifications, and even an inbox for messages received from fans. For the first time administrators will be able to directly and privately respond to messages sent to the Brand Page, but only in response to those messages already received—great for consumer goods marketers but again potentially highly problematic for pharma, opening the door to the risk of adverse event reporting. So alert your pharma brand teams of this functionality, and the need to address this direct conduit of information accessible to anyone who likes your page.

Page Tabs & Static Content

Moved from the left margin to the top of pages right below the Cover Photo, page tabs allow access to custom content and even apps, although these subpages can no longer act as default landing areas. Fortunately for pharma, these areas are ripe for larger buckets of static content ill-suited to the chronological criss-crossing format, such as detailed drug information repurposed from the branded, including all requisite fair balance information—but since traffic is automatically driven to the Timeline area devoid of these opportunities, the problem of presenting ISI in a fully compliant manner remains a significant one.

Summary & Recommendations

The good news for pharma regarding the new Facebook Timeline Brand Pages is the fresh and exciting way company narratives and unbranded educational initiatives can come alive. For branded content the outlook remains hopeful as White Listing remains in effect, enabling all user-generated commenting and Likes to be shut down. But the bad news is a prominent area for required safety information will be one click away, a situation likely unacceptable for most med/leg teams. Additional concerns revolve around the “Friend” boxes, where others who have liked the page are revealed, and custom content from an individual user’s friend list could become visible. Legacy pharma brand pages will also have to grapple with migration issues—so now is the time to take advantage of the 30-day moratorium and test period before go-live on March 30th.

To summarize:

  • White Listing will be allowed for branded pharma pages
    • Engage your med/leg teams and Facebook reps immediately
    • If you’re already White Listed, figure out your migration strategy
    • If you’re not White Listed, begin the process now
  • Potential obstacles
    • Fair balance will be problematic as Cover Photos will NOT allow text
    • Friend boxes could also be problematic

  • Best practices
    • Explore and experiment with the Facebook Timeline Brand Pages that have already launched
    • Take advantage of the one-month moratorium to test and tweak the page

  • Key takeaway
    • Crawl before you walk, and if possible wait until the new format goes live before leaping on the new look and feel

If you manage any existing pharma brand pages on Facebook, then preview the Timeline layout and present the complete user experience to your med/leg teams as soon as possible. Explain the opportunities and challenges described above, and determine, first and foremost, if the features and functionality expose your client to risk, mindful of the unique sensitivities of both unbranded and branded content. For the latter, make sure fair balance can be properly handled within the new format to client expectations, and ensure any and all communication and content between users and the client company and between the users and each other through the Brand Page is thoroughly controlled, monitored, and wherever necessary eliminated. If a new page is being considered, we heartily recommend engaging the White List process with your Facebook rep immediately, and designing a fresh look and feel mindful of the new layout. The bottom line: Partner well with your brand and med/leg teams on the one hand, and Facebook on the other to ensure your Facebook Timeline Brand Page for pharma—whether unbranded or branded in nature—is fully compliant.

Additional Resources

Take a look at what others are writing and commenting about the new Facebook Timeline Brand Pages:

Official Facebook Announcement

Mashable Overview

Business to Community Overview

Techcrunch Overview of New Ad Tools

Search Engine Watch POV on engagement

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