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June 26, 2012
Influential online Moms are not just about consumer goods. They have a strong and passionate voice when it comes to healthcare as well. So why isn't the Canadian pharmaceutical industry tapping into this powerful network to help raise awareness about various disease states and provide healthy tips? Perhaps some have and I am not aware. If this is the case, please let me know. By now, we all know that the industry is heavily regulated and anything that the bloggers write on behalf of an organization, whether on paper or in a blog, would be subject to the same guidelines that the pharma marketers must abide by. A little training, a set of guidelines and monitoring can greatly minimize this risk. As an example of what could be done, take a look at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals online fundraising campaign via “Miracle Moms”. Miracle Moms consists of a group of 10 passionate Moms with influential blogs; 7 are Canadian and 3 are American. They have joined forces to raise awareness for Children’s Miracle Network and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. These Moms are highlighting moments that take place at these children hospitals and are showcasing the needs of various families who are using these hospitals’ services. In addition, each blogger is running a fundraiser via their blog and social media profiles to help a local children’s network hospital in their area. Funds raised will be given to local hospitals for much needed services like Art Therapy, Child Life Rooms, and of course state of the art equipment. I am always impressed with the soft selling skills of online Moms, and have learned a lot from this group over the years. In speaking with Stephanie, the author of the popular Canadian Mom blog "How to survive life in the suburbs", here is the key learning that she took away from her participation in the Miracle Moms campaign:
"If you ask for help spreading the word about a heartfelt cause, you will receive. I continue to be amazed by the power of Moms who Blog and the way they will all jump in to lend a hand and socially amplify each others tweets, Facebook and Blog posts when it is a subject close to their hearts. Awareness of this cause has truly blossomed all thanks to the power of social media. In future programs we may consider using a twitter party at launch to truly get off to a dramatic start."Wouldn't a blogger outreach such as this one be a great way to humanize the pharma industry? Have you ever considered it as a PR tactic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. On a side note, congratulations to all the Mom bloggers who were involved as 'Miracle Moms' in this particular fundraising campaign. I personally appreciate all the hard work that you have put in for this very important cause, the health of our kids. Be sure to check out the blogs of these great ladies!
- My Organized Chaos
- How To Survive Life In The Suburbs
- Bored Mommy
- Things I Can't Say
- Tammy's Two Cents
- Nugglemama's Handful
- Loulou's Views
- Listen To Lena
- Busy Mommy
- CMNH Radio
August 15, 2011
If you were in Novartis` shoes, what would you have done differently?
On August 10th, 2011, Novartis publicly called it quits for its "Maybe Someday" social media campaign. They announced the demise of the campaign on Twitter. Other than the Twitter post, one would probably not have even noticed that the campaign got pulled:
A few stats and pics of the campaign at closure:
Their Twitter stats as of August 14 2011 consisted of 94 tweets, following 392, followed by 125 and listed 5 times. There weren`t many tweets for this account, but I want to give acknowledgement to Novartis for taking the time to thank new followers and those who wrote a `hope` on their main site. In fact, almost all of their tweets mentioned somebody on Twitter.
The Maybe Someday FaceBook page could not be found as of August 14 2011.
The MaybeSomeday.ca site was still up as of August 14th, and it showed a total of 2,811 hopes (despite an objective of 25,000 hopes). When I wrote about the campaign back in April, it had 1,175 hopes.
The Maybe Someday site is still promoted on the main Novartis Canada site, but I`m sure that this will be rectified very quickly.
Reflection on the Maybe Someday campaign:
First of all, the only reason why I even found out that something was up with the Maybe Someday campaign was when I was going through my list of Canadian healthcare FaceBook pages to see if any of them had been shut down as a result of FaceBook no longer supporting pharmaceutical companies` request to disallow comments on their wall. The Maybe Someday page didn`t show up, so I dug further and that`s how I got to their Twitter statement.
Despite the timing with FaceBook`s actions with pharmaceutical pages, I think the closure of the site probably had more to do with the low number of hopes that were generated within the 8-month period of the campaign. This is my gut feel. Nobody from Novartis Canada has confirmed this.
Why so few hopes versus the objective? Was it the lack of advertising? Did Novartis have a `build it and they will come` mentality when it came to social media? The limited `human touch` involved in the campaign, which is typically expected in social media (but of course, is limited when one wants to remain within regulatory guidelines). Was it that people just weren`t excited by the amount to be provided as a charitable donation ($25,000)? Did Novartis Canada just not give the campaign enough time? Social media campaigns are usually expected to run for years. It is probably a combination of all of these.
Whatever the reason, I hope that Novartis Canada has taken some key learnings from this short-lived campaign, and will be willing to apply these in a future tactic involving social media. Eric Shenfield, eMarketing Manager at Novartis Canada, will be speaking at the upcoming eMarketing Canada (Eye for Pharma) in November in Toronto. Hopefully his presentation will allow him to share some of Novartis` key learnings with the rest of us, so that we can all learn.
June 30, 2011
The Dose of Digital site has announced the 2011 DOSIE winners, and 2 of the wins were by Canadian pharma organizations: MS Village FaceBook page has won Silver for the Judges' award, and MSWatch.ca has won the People's Choice award.
I am very pleased to see MSWatch.ca win the People's Choice award because they worked very hard over the past year to completely revamp their site in order for it to meet Canadian regulatory guidelines. To learn more about their evolution, check out this post which explains what they did when they closed their original site, and this post which details the revisions made to the site.
The MS Village FaceBook page won the DOSIE award, but their social offerings are much greater than just that. Check out the main MS Village site to learn more about them. I have also often seen MS Village advertised in FaceBook ads.
Congratulations to both! What a great way to kick off the Canada Day long weekend.
April 12, 2011
Here's an interesting Canadian pharma case study where the social media campaign seems to be very well designed and executed, but reaching the intended audience and getting them to take action is proving to be a rather slow process. The details of the campaign are below. Share your thoughts with us on the Maybe Someday campaign in the comments section. In January 2011, Novartis Canada kicked off a social media campaign, "Maybe Someday", designed to raise up to $25,000 for the Canadian MS Society. This is a purely Canadian initiative. Considering their drug Gilenya® (fingolimod) capsules, the first oral disease-modifying therapy developed for relapsing-remitting MS, was approved by Health Canada on March 9th 2011, the Maybe Someday campaign was most likely a pre- and early launch tactic to raise awareness of Novartis as a player in the MS industry, and to develop a relationship with key MS stakeholders. As such, Novartis and Tank, the agency who developed the site, designed the Maybe Someday campaign so that it would be more than just a fundraiser. Despite following restrictive regulatory guidelines, the campaign manages to provide an emotional and memorable experience to the multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, friends, relatives and caregivers that participate. These stakeholders get to write a hope that they have regarding MS, either for themselves or a loved one. What can be more emotional than somebody's hopes and dreams. Just read some of the hopes that were written on the main site so far, and you will see that many people poured their heart and soul into their 'hope' statement. There is no real motivation for repeat visits to the site, but I don't think that was part of the objective for the campaign in the first place. The main component of the campaign is the MaybeSomeday.ca site, where a 2 minute and 15 second video explains the concept of the site and encourages people to write their hope. The main site clearly states that Novartis is behind this initiative. I am assuming that regulatory issues concerning the restrictive Schedule F Rx-DTC advertising in Canada have been taken into consideration, thus restricting all mentions of drugs:
"Please note that we can't post messages about medications and treatments - only inspirational thoughts and wishes."You can scroll through the hopes that people wrote on the left side of the screen, and the bottom left keeps a tally of the English and French hopes which have been written thus far. As mentioned earlier, some of them are very touching. The user's experience would be enhanced if they could comment on the hope of others. But according to the “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada” conference, a pharmaceutical company is responsible for all content within their site, regardless of who posted it. If people were to share information with each other about their treatments or disease on the Maybe Someday site, Novartis Canada would hold full liability for this content. Novartis could allow it, but they would have to monitor and edit in order to ensure that the comments stay within the guidelines. They could however add a 'like' button or something similar to allow people to at least show support to the author of the hope. Other case studies of Canadian pharma companies who are involved in social media but do not accept comments can be found here, here, and here. I added my hope on the MaybeSomeday.ca website. You can see it just below this paragraph. After your hope has been submitted, you are encouraged to help spread the word about the site via Twitter, FaceBook and e-mail. An automatic message comes up for Twitter, which includes the hashtags #maybesomeday and #MS. Upon scanning the #maybesomeday hashtag: it is being used by many people who are writing a wish on Twitter, very few of which were regarding the MaybeSomeday.ca site (ie. looking for the right girl or guy, wanting to attend a fun event, etc...). FaceBook page as well as a Twitter account. These are promoted from the main site. There is a YouTube channel as well with the Maybe Someday video, but there is no activity at all there and Novartis is not pointing anybody to its direction either. Interestingly, none of these sites mention the name "Novartis", except that the FaceBook page 'likes' the Novartis FaceBook page. However, they all link back to the MaybeSomeday.ca site, which does mention Novartis twice. The FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube profiles were all set up by Tank. The posts are all kind of similar, in that they are promoting the MaybeSomeday.ca site, and are encouraging community members to write a 'hope'. There is little engagement on the FaceBook page because members are only able to 'like' and share a statement. It is noted on the FaceBook information tab that "This page can't save your comments". I decided to test this out. I was able to write a comment, and it was visible for a short little while, but it was then quickly removed. As for the Twitter account, the messages are also very focused on sharing info and the link to the MaybeSomeday.ca site. However, it seems as though Novartis is taking the time to thank the people who are posting information about their site on Twitter. I got a thank you note very quickly after I promoted their site, and I saw a few others on their post timeline. You may have noticed that there is a very small following on both the FaceBook and Twitter profiles. As of April 8 2011 morning, there were almost 1,200 hopes. Novartis has an objective of 25,000 hopes in order to raise $25,000. Considering the site has been up for about 3 months already, that averages out to about 10 hopes per day. At this rate, it will take another 6 1/2 years for Novartis to achieve their objective, which is probably longer than Novartis plans to keep the campaign alive (this is my personal guess, nobody from Novartis told me this). My immediate thought was that perhaps there was a lack of advertising of the campaign. It seems as though there has been FaceBook advertising. People who visit the site and write a hope are then encouraged to help spread the message via their social networks. Traditional promotion of the FaceBook and Twitter sites has been through the MaybeSomeday.ca main site and on the home page of the Novartis Canada site. Based on this info, I do believe that the MaybeSomeday.ca campaign is getting fewer 'hopes' and minimal community members because there is a lack in advertising of the program. Personally, I find the program was designed and implemented very effectively, but low awareness is an issue.
Could the MS Society of Canada help to spread the word about the campaign? I spoke with Rob Petrollini, Manager Web and New Media at the MS Society head office and asked if the MS Society had posted anything about the MaybeSomeday.ca campaign on their social networks. Their Facebook and Twitter profiles have a large number of community members (FaceBook has over 6,400 members, and Twitter has over 2,500 followers as of April 8th 2011). Surely a quick post about the MaybeSomeday.ca fundraising activity would drive their members to help raise the donation and follow the campaign on either FaceBook or Twitter. But unfortunately the MS Society has a policy that prohibits them from promoting any pharmaceutical company program, so they have not posted anything related to the Maybe Someday campaign:"The MS Society's total revenue from pharmaceutical companiesis less than 2% of the amount of money the organization receives annually. Any pharmaceutical funding received by the MS Society of Canada is subject to the MS Society's strict policies that prevent any control or influence by the donor on our decision-making. This is consistent with the ethical principles of Canada's research-based pharmaceutical companies which require that they assure the independence and integrity of stakeholders, in terms of their operations, policies and activities." This is a shame because the Maybe Someday campaign was developed by following the restrictive regulatory guidelines regarding Canadian Rx-DTC advertising. I find it hard to believe that the MS Society community members would have a more negative perception of the society if they were made aware of the Maybe Someday campaign. If a consumer company would sponsor a similar initiative, would the medical organization promote it? I'm not sure what the answer is to that question, but this might be a good topic for a future post. So what are your thoughts on the Maybe Someday campaign? Please share in the comments section. Disclosure: I have no ties with the Maybe Someday campaign, and Novartis is not a client of mine. I just find their site interesting, and I hope that Novartis reaches its goal so that the MS Society of Canada can get the full $25,000.
February 15, 2011
A few days ago, I visited the websites of all the Canadian drugstore chains that were listed in Wikipedia. I looked for their Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and any other social media and mobile app logos. I only looked at channels and profiles set up by the corporate head offices of Canadian pharmacy chains. Online drugstores which do not dispense Rx prescription drugs were omitted from the analysis. During my search, I saw many independent pharmacies and even individual chain stores who were active on various social networks, but I did not include these as part of this post. Here are some statistics as of February 14 2011, based on an overview of the drugstore chains’ websites . It is possible that some drugstores have social profiles that are not listed on their corporate site homepage, therefore are not noted in this report. If you know of any that should be added to the list, just let me know in the comments section:
- 7 drugstore chains have at least 1 social media component listed
- 16 drugstore chains have no social media component
- Neither of the 2 online drugstore chains have a social media component
- 5 drugstore chains have a FaceBook page
- 4 drugstore chains have a Twitter account (5 if you include PharmaPrix)
- 1 drugstore chain has a YouTube channel
- 2 drugstore chains have a blog
- 2 drugstore chains have an app
- Shoppers Drug Mart FaceBook page has a strong lead in number of ‘likes’ and a moderate lead in number of followers on Twitter.
- London Drugs is the most ‘listed’ Canadian drugstore chain on Twitter
- London Drugs has the highest Klout rating on Twitter (The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.)
- Pharmaprix was the 1st to join Twitter, but their account is inactive … so in my opinion, this does not count. Therefore, the runner-up, London Drugs, was the 1st Canadian drugstore chain to join Twitter and to be active on this network.
|Association||FaceBook # of Likes*||Twitter Stats*||YouTube Stats*||Blog||App|
|Canadian Pharmacists Association||Yes 221||Yes 99 followers Listed 8 times 24 updates Klout: N/A Joined Mar 11 2010 Last post Aug 30 2010|
|Canada Drugs||Yes 3,629 (a huge jump from just 2 weeks ago, where they had 2,813 community members)||Yes 324 followers Listed 2 times 37 updates Klout: 26 Joined Aug 19 2009||Yes|
|Jean Coutu||Yes Prescription refill for entire family|
|London Drugs||Yes 1,751||Yes 2,535 followers Listed 197 times 6690 updates Klout: 55 Joined Jan 2 2009||Yes 37 subscribers 72,035 upload views Joined Jan 2 2009||Yes|
|Pharmaprix (the Quebec equivalent of Shoppers Drug Mart)||Yes, sort of 25 followers Listed 1 time No updates Joined Oct 30 2008 The site is completely inactive. It lists the actual Pharmaprix.ca website as its URL, but other than that, it seems completely unofficial.|
|Shoppers Drug Mart||Yes 18,326||Yes 3,282 followers Listed 171 times 756 updates Klout: 42 Joined Apr 25 2009||Yes Weekly flyers, points tool, prescription refill, promotions and offers, store locator|
|Uniprix||Yes 2,184||Yes 577 followers Listed 32 times 331 updates Klout: 29 Joined Oct 20 2009|
- Both organizations are engaged with their followers and are responding to posts by others, but London Drugs is doing so at an incredible rate on Twitter. In fact, London Drugs has posted on Twitter almost 9x as often as Shoppers Drug Mart.
- But who cares if London Drugs tweet a lot. Volume does not mean quality. But in this case, London Drugs have proven the level of quality of their engagement on Twitter with their higher Klout rating. This needs to be taken with a grain of salt though, as this figure can fluctuate quickly depending on engagement activity within a certain period of time.
- London Drugs has a successful YouTube channel. This is not only strategically clever from an 'online search' perspective, but it is also a great way to showcase your products.
- The #1 reason why I am naming London Drugs as the most social Canadian Pharmacy chain vs. Shoppers Drug Mart, is because London Drugs serves the Western portion of Canada only, whereas Shoppers Drug Mart serves the entire nation. So what? If you look at the amount of social media effort put in on a 'per potential client' basis, London Drugs is by far the leader. However, one might argue that their ROI may be weakened as a result.