Orangefiery Quarterly: February 2020
Author: Diana Dopfel
We’ve been thinking about what makes our work meaningful, and it boils down to our strong relationships and partnerships with our clients. That’s why we’ve launched this new quarterly. In it, we share perspectives we find valuable, in the hope that you’ll find value in them too. Whether it’s a useful insight in one of our case studies, or an “a-ha” moment in one of the podcasts or books from our “stories and sounds” section, we aspire to provide a meaningful spark of inspiration. It’s our first one, so we welcome your feedback and suggestions.
the year ahead
It’s too late to say Happy New Year, at least according to Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David, so we’ll say happy Valentine’s Day instead. And it suits the moment. We feel like with all the remarkable innovation we’ve seen coming out of the life sciences sector lately, we’ve been hit with cupid’s arrow. From a new documentary about bionic limbs at the inaugural STAT Summit in Boston, to panel discussions on biotech innovation at JP Morgan Healthcare, it’s truly inspiring to see the progress the industry is making.
We’ve also paused to consider some really big questions, like what would stem rising obesity rates and what could reduce the rate of so-called “deaths of despair.” Are we pursuing the innovations that will improve our world? Are we prioritizing the right things?
We had a chance to pose that question to a dozen chief communications officers over dinner last month, and the answer to that question was both wide ranging and deep. Some communications leaders are helping their companies navigate the pivot from early stage to commercialization. Others are focusing on creating a robust scientific story for emerging platforms. Some talked about navigating a complex pathway of milestones from clinical trial results to regulatory filings and patient advocacy group engagement. Still others are taking on broader responsibilities for HR and culture in their organizations. Not surprisingly, many also talked about trying to find balance in their lives amid these big challenges.
Thematically, it appears these leaders are navigating change for their organizations and solving problems that are critical for the future. In our experience, this is where leaders have the opportunity to make a significant impact, helping organizations manage their way through inflection points. It brings out the best of the discipline: a focus on the big picture, an emphasis on multi-factorial storytelling and engagement with the outside world. We look forward to helping you and our clients navigate similar high-impact challenges for the balance of 2020.
Founder & CEO
constructing a customer centric approach (case study)
Many companies claim to be customer centric – but are they really? Only 14% of marketers say that customer centricity is a hallmark of their companies, and only 11% think their customers would agree with that characterization.[i] As part of a five-year strategic planning process for a large pharma company, one of its largest business units (BUs) identified customer centricity as a strategic pillar. We partnered with BU leadership to better understand what customers want and need from a pharmaceutical partner, ascertain the perception of the company from the customer perspective and develop a framework for operationalizing customer centricity.
So what exactly did we do?
- Created a cross-functional customer centricity workstream
- Interviewed 8 individuals from multiple BUs that shared the same customers to get a holistic perspective
- Interviewed 13 external stakeholders representing multiple customer POVs
- Conducted 3 stakeholder mapping workshops
- Examined and synthesized findings from interviews, workshops, internal audits and secondary research to understand customer perceptions and challenges and determine brand attributes valued by customers
- Defined the BU’s approach to become more attuned to customer needs internally and externally and created a 5-year framework for the implementation of the plan
In the end, the leadership team gained a cross-function, cross-office understanding of what customers need and want, and how to operationalize customer centricity to achieve business objectives.
Here are recent articles from our blog, which features our thinking on topics of relevance to us and the industries our clients operate in.
Communicating scientific information is complex and made even more challenging in an environment in which fake news dominates and simple truths seem to be subject to interpretation. It’s our job to make sure that we – and our clients – do not contribute to the problem. Diana Dopfel reminds us why it is important to be skeptical when consuming scientific/clinical news and how communicators and journalists can work together to tell a clear, complete and accurate story. Read more.
In creating a pharmaceutical compliant social media program, you’ll find yourself operating in a world of unknowns. Whether it’s adhering to FDA draft social media guidance, managing internal reviews, or developing and modifying materials, accounting for the unexpected is likely the only thing you can expect. However, some frameworks can be put in place to establish a solid foundation for the program and to make sure no matter what happens, the program will meet all requirements and deliver results. Katie Halper-Bogusky shares some lessons for building a pharmaceutical compliant disease awareness social media program. Read more.
stories and sounds
If you’re looking for something new to read or listen to, here are some things we’ve come across recently that we thought you might like.
It’s hard to come up with a pithy one-liner to describe Jonathan Goldstein’s podcast. Funny? Yes. Heartwarming? Yes. Edge-of-your-seat, “will this guy screw up the lives of the people he’s trying to help,” terrifying? Definitely. Goldstein is, as he puts it, a professional interlocutor. One part amateur sleuth, another part amateur therapist, Goldstein helps people resolve unresolved regrets in their lives. In so doing, he illuminates connections that are deeply human and resonant. Our favorite, “The Marshes,” chronicles Goldstein’s efforts to reunite a family with the child they gave up for adoption more than 40 years earlier.
Brain on Fire
One of the most memorable books I read last year was Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. The author, a reporter at the New York Post, chronicles her terrifying journey to being diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, an autoimmune disease that was attacking her brain, causing, among other things, seizures and psychosis. I tend to get pretty passionate when women get poor medical treatment due to gender discrimination and boy was she treated poorly by the neurologist who determined she was just drinking/partying too much. It’s also a fascinating account of how the brain influences behavior. Luckily, her story had a happy ending, and her telling her story has helped many others to receive a proper diagnosis.
In The Alchemist, a young shepherd takes a big risk and goes on a journey to fulfill his destiny. With this comes a variety of decisions – whether to act with his rational mind or his emotional mind. When he finally decides to follow his values and step outside his comfort zone, he recognizes that there is so much to be learned through experiences that require you to push yourself. From start to finish, his journey is a true exploration of what it takes to recognize your own values and aspirations and how/if you can go about attaining them.