Sunday, 28 November 2010

Can pharma use social media for marketing?

The short answer is 'kinda', but they need to do it differently to traditional consumer brands. This question was asked by Jonathan Richman here, who answers it very comprehensively and reasonably emphatically with a 'No'.

I'm not so emphatic. My answer is 'kinda'. OK, few people are going to share information about their disease state by Liking a Page in Facebook - Jonathan uses the example of 'Jonathan Likes Viagra' being high unlikely of ever appearing in a status update. I can see his point.

However, I do think social media can be used in pharma, but not in the same way as used by Coca Cola or Apple - where people Like a Page or join a community to show their affiliation. I think pharma companies best use social media to offer useful information and bring people together in some kind of support community.

ADHD Moms on Facebook is a great example of a pharma company [McNeil - who I don't work for] using social technologies to enable a support community. Also, Bayer has created a community for MS sufferers called BetaPlus, where people can talk to others suffering from the same condition, access Peer to Peer mentoring programs and a round the clock nurse. [Btw I don't work for Bayer].
There are also some good examples of pharma companies using social media to help people share their stories and so connect with other sin similar situations. AZ's Asthma stories and JNJ ADHD case studies on YouTube are good examples. [Nope - don't work for J&J either]

So, my answer to the question 'can pharma use social media for marketing?' is 'Yes, we can', but not in the same as FMCG brands.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Is the future of social 'personal'?

With the launch of Path last week - the 'personal' social network - I've heard discussion around 'personal' being the new social. I'm not so sure.
OK, Path limits you to 50 friends with the philosophy that it connects you to your closest contacts/friends. And I get the logic that it's hard to have a more than a superficial connection with 150+ people, as on Facebook.

But, I think Path will have difficulties because of the amount of information you need to hand over - phone number, mailing address - and its lack of functionality.

OK, I may trust my 50 closest contacts with that information, but I'm afraid I do not trust, what is essentially a marketing organisation, not to abuse my data.

It's functionality seems very limited. You share photos, but that's about it. There is no two way friend type relationships, no likes, no comments, no photo editing features, no invite a friend function.

On first glance, I'm not convinced. Still, Path has been founded by Dave Morin, ex Apple and Facebook, and Shawn Fanning, the co-founder of Napster. Both are a helluva a lot smarter than me, so what do I know?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Toyota crowd source new ideas for its technology

Toyota US has launched an interesting social-type initiative called Ideas for Good where the car giant has released five auto technologies to the public and asked them to come up with non automotive ideas that will benefit society. Hence the name. The best ideas, according to independent judges, will be brought to life in a design session with experts.

Toyota is spending a butt load on all forms of advertising to get people interested in the initiative.

I think this is a good example of how campaigns are becoming socially centric and using all on and offline channels to drive awareness and create engagement. Plus how campaigns using social channels just to build relationships with people seems to be dwindling.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Facebook Deals

It will be interesting to see how Four Square fares when Facebook Deals comes to these shores. I didn't really think that Facebook Places would be the Four Square Killer that perhaps the boys from Palo Alto hoped.

However, I reckon adding an ecommerce element to Places will give Four Square a serious run for its money. People are more likely to use Places to check-in to locations if there is an economic reward.

There are four types of Deals:
  1. Individual Deals: a one time special offer
  2. Loyalty Deals: a deal to reward your most loyal customers
  3. Friend Deals: group deals for up to 8 friends
  4. Charity Deals: the retailer donates to charity every time you purchase.
While Facebook Places doesn't have the game play element of Four Square, adding Deals will probably make Places more compelling.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Four Square check-in in space

I sooo wish I could have done this. Commander Wheelock unlocks the Nasa Explorer Badge by checking in when he arrived at the International Space Station.

Astronaut Rick Mastracchio participates in the mission's second spacewalk as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. During the seven-hour, 26-minute spacewalk, Mastracchio and astronaut Clayton Anderson unhooked and removed the depleted ammonia tank and installed a 1,700-pound ammonia tank on the station's Starboard 1 truss

This is a great stunt to promote the NASA Four Square partnership that will enable people to unlock the NASA Explorer Badge by checking in at space theme venues e.g. the Kennedy Space Centre.