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Bringing Pharma comms in from the creative cold

Our Associate Director Kesha Tansey and Creative Director Stu Hehir discuss how we’re getting the Pharma industry’s creative juices flowing.

It’s been a long held myth that creativity equates to risk when it comes to pharma comms. But at Pegasus we’re on a mission to help pharma break free from its creative shackles.

Of course, there are real reasons why the pharma comms sector has been held back, compliance is much more prescriptive in this area than consumer health, for example, and for many pharma clients, a campaign idea that follows its own pathway can feel out of their comfort zone.

But too often, compliance is used as an excuse for not sticking with a creative campaign. It’s an easy get-out and we need to call it out as such. Great work can be hard to deliver but we’re not afraid of hard work.

And creativity is in danger of becoming a byword for risk, so we need to reframe what we mean by ‘being more creative’.

But things are starting to change and we need to increase the percentage of great creative work within the industry. We need to unleash pharma’s creative potential – this was the subject of a workshop we ran at the PharmaComms conference in February. You can read PR Week’s take on the session here.

We took attendees through a key method we use at Pegasus – looking at our work through the lenses of the hand, head and heart:

  • Hand – are we investing in the craft – the right time and skills to do the idea justice?
  • Head – is it grounded in smart insights and strategy – understanding that research and data are not insights, but the route to them?
  • Heart – are we communicating to people in way that elicits some form of emotional response – do they care enough to listen to what we have to say?

When we shoot for the space where all three intersect, we believe we will naturally start to move things forward.

Then we put our CHANGE model – developed in conjunction with the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change – and its COM-B framework into action to explore the barriers holding us back.

A brief check-in around the room threw up some interesting themes that included ‘lack of understanding as to the commercial ROI of creativity’, ‘constraints from internal brand police’, ‘no clear mandate to change’, ‘siloed teams’ and simply ‘apathy’.

When we know what’s holding us back, creative and pharma can come together to move things forward.

If you’d like to embrace your inner creative and create your own personal action plan, feel free to download a copy here.

is an Associate Director in our Pharma team. With a background in journalism, Kesha brings a decade of healthcare comms & med ed experience across a breadth of therapy areas