When people are driven to engage with each other on social media seeking community and consensus about healthcare issues, organizations need to make sure they are part of that engagement. As head of pharma health policy region Americas for Bayer AG Communications and Public Affairs, Dominick Kennerson engages in corporate diplomacy and has been key in adding gravitas to the company’s digital communication capacity. In this Q&A, he shares some of the biggest challenges to stakeholder engagement in the healthcare industry—and a few solutions Bayer is applying.
Stories by Jim Alkon
While some of the initial figures for Nike’s latest iteration of the Just Do It effort with Colin Kaepernick are mixed so far, the brand likely weighed potential costs and benefits before embarking on the campaign. Despite protests against the brand this week, Nike knew what it was doing when it entered the conversation on racial discrimination. It’s important to understand why.
Colleen Young knows a thing or two about online patient communities. As online community director for Mayo Clinic, she is internationally known for building patient communities that thrive. At Mayo Clinic Connect, Young has orchestrated a virtual community connecting patients to each other and to Mayo Clinic medical expertise. Young will be participating in a session at the upcoming Healthcare Social Media Summit Oct. 23 in Baltimore. She previewed her panel in this recent Q&A.
It seems to make so much sense: an online community of patients tapping into others with similar conditions and concerns, and sharing what they know to help others. But, no doubt, easier said than done. John Novack oversees communications for the million-member healthcare social network Inspire. In a recent interview, he touched upon key issues in building those communities.
If the sole purpose of healthcare is to improve lives, perhaps it is ironic that there is often a human element missing in the way healthcare organizations communicate with patients and customers. But communicators like Edelman’s Susan Isenberg understand there is no one-size-fits-all answer to global communications, and they are working hard to humanize their outreaches on social media and elsewhere.
Why has it seemed like such a challenge for healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, insurers and nonprofit organizations to communicate effectively and build relationships on social media? One could argue that regulatory guidelines must be considered at every turn and have prompted communicators to proceed cautiously—especially given the serious nature and high stakes of the healthcare industry in the first place.
Generals counsels often want to keep a low profile, while part of the job of the chief communications officer (CCO) is to broadcast the corporate narrative as loudly as possible. Yet an alliance with the general counsel can be strategically valuable for the CCO, argue APCO Worldwide senior directors Jim Moorhead and Jo London.
It seems obvious that PR pros should keep stakeholders informed about the status of articles being pitched to the media. Sadly, this doesn’t happen consistently, argues James Rose, content head at IBA International. A weekly update sent to stakeholders will assuage some of the anxiety about when an article will be published and make the creation of content more of a collaborative effort.
Authenticity. Listening. Finding unique angles. Those are the keys for journalists seeking earned coverage via social media, according to Suzanne Barston, manager, corporate journalism, corporate communications at AbbVie. As founding partner of AbbVie’s StoryLab, Barton is responsible for creating stories around the company’s therapeutic areas, pipeline and philanthropy. While journalists long ago shifted their working lives to social channels, healthcare communicators have been slower to make that transition, due not only to unique regulatory issues but also industry resistance.