Fear in America


  • Even though 80% of Coronavirus cases are mild an environment of fear is being spread through media headlines and social media.
  • “It’s a new, unknown illness, we don’t know how severe it’s going to be, and we don’t know how concerned to be,” said Lynn Bufka, associate executive director for research and policy at the American Psychological Association and an expert on anxiety, stress,
  • Part of what drives feelings of anxiety is a lack of information. and misinformation spread through social media.
  • The void of effective leadership is adding fuel to the crisis of fear

Trump’s Oval Office address Wednesday night reflected not only his handling of the coronavirus crisis but, in some ways, much of his presidency. It was riddled with errors, nationalist and xenophobic in tone, limited in its empathy, and boastful of both his own decisions. This is a classic example of a failed leader.

I learned in military leadership school that even when you’re unsure of a decision you can’t convey to those who you command that you are unsure. When a leader makes a decision he, she, has to convey that they have a good handle on the situation. In this area, Trump has failed spectacularly.

Pharma companies have been dealing with the unreasonable fear spread by irresponsible media around drug prices. Sure, some drug prices are way too high but the bigger threat to our nation’s healthcare are hospital costs and the price we are going to pay for our unhealthy habits.

Pharma marketers should be learning a key lesson here: we, in a lot of ways, don’t control the message anymore. The message is spread by a media that has laid off real journalists and replaced them with writers. In addition, social media allows bad information to spiral out of control.

We, as pharma marketers, must learn these lessons NOW. We can no longer continue down a path to irrelevant marketing. This means getting more personal with content and fighting to change processes that prevent us from implementing actionable information while it counts, not when people have formed opinions based on bad or incorrect information.

Trump’s prime-time televised address to the nation, was one in which he decided ad-lib — and as a result, his errors triggered a market meltdown, panicked travelers overseas and crystallized for his critics just how dangerously he has fumbled his management of the coronavirus. The lesson here is clear. If you don’t get it right you can damage your brand for a long time.

How mistrustful will the public be as we move forward? Only research will be able to tell us that over time. To believe it won’t affect our drug marketing is an invalid response.