Brand Positioning and the Shift to Digital

Covid has unsurprisingly had a disruptive impact on medical Congresses as well as face-to-face MSL and rep interactions. Yet alongside the challenges and restrictions such disruption brings, so too come opportunities and a drive to innovate. 

Digital channels have been adopted at a faster pace as much out of necessity as for their practicality and perceived value. Social media for instance continues to be embraced as a valuable channel for healthcare professionals to share knowledge with others, raise disease awareness and gain a global perspective. As a result, campaigns can certainly benefit from the support of experts and authors, consumer influencers, or both. 

HME is continually adapting to this changing landscape. Our traffic-driving media strategies take into account:

1. The brand’s strategic positioning

2. The best, most relevant environments for the desired audience interactions

3. Audience emotions 

4. Audience educational requirements 

5. Discoverability and reach

The content shared by pharma should also be in line with what’s best for a brand’s strategic positioning. It should clearly reflect what it is that makes a brand unique, of value and different to its competitors. From there, audience-specific positioning can be layered into the mix to ensure the needs and desires of an audience are being met.  

The virtual nature of recent Congresses has encouraged a rethink in the type of content produced. To accommodate online interactions, large attendance numbers and greater global reach, distilled and immersive content types have been adopted to better accommodate visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles. By making content more audience-specific, this should further invigorate pharma’s interactions with healthcare professionals and wider audiences. 

At a physically attended Congress, an attendee can engage with the event based on their preferred learning style – whether that’s to independently read through and absorb a lot of content, participate in discussions or listen to talks. Online, the options are limited, but they shouldn’t be. The content shared can be varied to allow for alternative methods of consumption and accommodate personal approaches to learning. 

STM publishers have also embraced the digital shift by presenting clinical paper content in increasingly refined, interactive and varied formats. Those wanting to absorb content on the move can get to grips with methods and key findings via audio recordings of clinical papers, KOL videos and podcasts. Visual learners can benefit from infographics, video abstracts and peer review videos whilst immersive content – often adopted for congresses as already mentioned – use gaming techniques, animation, quizzes and CPD qualification opportunities to appeal to more physical learners. 

In a broader sense, the digitization of the pharmaceutical agency as a whole appears to have picked up momentum too. For instance, Moderna’s efforts to become the first truly digital biotech company have helped them become frontrunners in the COVID vaccine race. By embracing cloud enablement, automation and AI, Moderna is bringing attention to the benefits of a truly digital R&D infrastructure.  It will be interesting to see more and more Pharmaceutical companies construct their own digital infrastructures and mobilise truly integrated digital technologies to positive effect. Such digitisation can lead to significant inroads in speed, scalability and quality when making advancements in medicine. This can surely only be to the benefit of healthcare professionals and their increasingly ‘digitally-enabled’ patients. 

Devneet Atherton