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Three things that inspired us at PharmaComms 2020

The team who attended PharmaComms 2020 share the key things they took away with them from this year’s conference.

Earlier this month, Pegasus was proud to sponsor the annual PRWeek PharmaComms conference. This ‘coming together’ of pharma communication professionals is always a great opportunity to reflect on how much the industry has moved forward over the last 12 months, and where it still needs to make good progress. Those of our team who attended tell us what stood out for them:

The power of empathy

Jo Spadaccino, Head of Client Partnerships

“The pharma sector appears to be waking up to the role that empathy can play in marcomms excellence. Though mentions of the actual word were scarce, it is the one trait that all the best practice case studies had in common without fail.

“Delivering programmes that put the audience at the centre has not always been easy in an industry that can be distracted by what is not possible, rather than what is. But what I heard during the two day event is that there are plenty of people – both communicators and those from other disciplines – who are flipping this on their head. The secrets of their success? Bringing fresh perspectives into the mix, deploying better than ever planning techniques and using data and technology to do this efficiently, continuing the listening process not just at the start of the journey but as a continual feedback loop, and perhaps most importantly, understanding the power of teamwork.

“The ability to walk in the shoes of others runs the risk of being dismissed as a-nice-to-have ‘soft’ skill, but my take-out would be that to ignore it will have a damaging effect on any competitive advantage if it hasn’t already.”

Returning to authentic patient-centricity

Kesha Tansey, Associate Director

“PharmaComms 2020 was full of really informative sessions, however a recurring theme that really struck home to me is the idea that “patient-centricity” has become a bit of a buzz word and somewhat lost its true meaning. As an industry we claim to have patients at the core of all we do. But how many of us actually do?

“Hearing inspiring stories and understanding the real investment companies are making, as explained by James Fitzpatrick at Janssen, can we reclaim patient-centricity to create real change?

“Personally, I will endeavour to have at least one conversation with a person living with the condition that I’m working on a comms strategy for. It may sound basic but if we all made this commitment, I would be truly excited to see the difference we could make.”

Purpose must be stitched into a brand’s DNA

Helen Pattison, Director of Business Development

“Purpose. It’s a well-worn word, to the extent that some at PharmaComms proposed that we are living in a post-purpose era. Brand purpose should no longer be part of a CSR exercise or a project work stream. It needs to be fundamentally part of an organisation’s DNA. Any attempts to attach a purpose to a business’s commercial endeavours as a communications ‘after thought’ is going to stand out for all the wrong reasons. It will look inauthentic, empty and insincere.

“The question was asked a few times during the conference: how can pharma organisations become purposeful or purpose-led? Ferring shared a great case study of how it created a purposeful mission from the ‘inside out’ by simply asking the question, ‘why?’ Why are they in the business they are in? Because they are ‘building families’. Its simplicity and authenticity meant its people in Ferring believed in it, responded to it, engaged with it and celebrated it. It truly became their purpose. Only then did Ferring take this purpose out beyond their walls. And not only that, they relied on their people to talk about their purpose – up and down the business – to drive genuine brand advocacy.

It is a great example of true brand purpose. And the lesson to us all is that it’s those brands with exactly this authentic purpose that thrive. Here at Pegasus, our mission to inspire healthy decisions applies as much to our organisation as our clients, and is a purpose that defines not only who we are, but who we work with and how we partner with our client to bring about positive behaviour change in health.”

is Director of Business Development & Marketing at Pegasus, and brings with her over 18 years communications and new business experience.