The numbers tell a dismal story for pharma industry. After gaining ground last year in adopting community best practices, this year’s report data reveals stagnation. In 2012, 23 of the 32 best practices had less than 50 percent adoption. Thirteen of the best practices had less than 30 percent adoption—most notably, advocate programs, mobile apps, leader boards, offline engagement, community management, forums, rewards and recognition,content tagging and content. Mobile, for example, can be a powerful delivery channel for resources, tools and checklists for the health care consumer but few brands offer mobile options.
There are two exceptions when it comes to mobile:
- Merck offers a Journey for Control app that helps those with type 2 diabetes track nutrition, exercise, medications and access healthy lifestyle resources.
- Pfizer ported its Heart Wise community to a Lipitor app that gives
Most pharmas “brand-handle” their member stories by over-editing and using a corporate brand voice instead of enabling the genuine VOC inject “heart and soul” into the brand asset.
Pfizer’s Get Old community takes an interesting content approach. Members can choose color-coded “post-It” notes to indicate their attitude about aging. That same mechanism serves as a tagging function for content and experience, and helps call out new content. The site aggregates content and offers a faceted search based on the person’s age and “emotion.” However, centering on age as a driving factor of experience is insensitive to the reality that people age differently—a better center point would be interests, needs and life events.
While basically a good “lifestyle” model for health care brands, the lack of social sophistication in the industry is evident.The industry would benefit from studying and judiciously adopting some of the more innovative ways that other industries interact and build band affinity through their community models. Taking a cue from the food industry, a diabetes community, for example, could use crowd sourcing torate recipes for yum factor and family “likes,” and also have a registered dietitian badge select recipes as “nutritionist approved.” The pharma sector bears watching for signs of social maturation.
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