By Abe Kasbo:Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Swedish-American Life Sciences Summit. I participated on a panel where I discussed innovations in communications relative to healthcare and met some extraordinary people working extraordinary things in the life sciences arena. I met several companies who were either forging new markets or new technologies and watched carefully, as attendees and speakers alike eyed China with hope for new markets and as a source for investment. While everyone was talking innovation, I was think communication.
Technologies and innovations need investment, but they also require essential communications strategies if they are going to thrive in a competitive and crowded marketplace. It’s hyperbole to point out that any successful communications program requires some level of investment and commitment. Think of the iphone or ipad. Apple invested in the technology and meticulously planned for how to communicate with the market to raise awareness and drive sales.
In healthcare, we tend to think of innovation in terms of technologies, clinical breakthroughs, or medicines. It is also right to look outside of healthcare for innovation. Consider how Allegheny Medical Center used Toyota’s method of manufacturing to learn from their errors, streamline their processes, and stretch their budget. The goal is for Allegheny Medical Center to standardize their processes and increasing efficiency, nurses and doctors can now spend more time with their patients,” said the website.
And while I love the Toyota example, Ernst & Young made an interesting point at the conference. Cross-market penetration into healthcare is prevalent if not alive and kicking. Samsung is investing almost $3 billion in electronic health equipment. Nestle a half billion in health and wellness products for diabetes, and obesity. Pepsico, almost $3 billion in healthy drinks and snacks inspired by traditional Chinese medicine, and Telus is investing almost a billion dollars in a social network to allow Canadian patients manage their health.
What kind of partnerships lie are ahead for hospitals and pharmaceuticals? How can patients be involved in their healthcare, and more importantly, their wellness? And just as important, how do we effectively communicate theses programs in an increasingly fragmented and social world? These are some of the questions that occupy our thoughts. Because our job is not only to develop and execute strategic communications campaigns, our job is to partner with our clients and the markets they serve, and deliver transformative ideas that make a difference. It is how we invest in our clients, it’s how we are looking to change the agency game. And now, we just need to communicate it…well.