GREEN SHOOTS OF OPPORTUNITYApril 20, 2021
Opening Remarks and Housekeeping
Gabriela Dobos, PMCQ Director
- Our next event is a cocktail lounge that will take place on May 18th. This will be a networking and game night.
- Gabriela thanked all the educational, corporate and support partners.
- She also thanked Toc Toc communications for the creative work used in this event.
Introduction of Speaker
Gabriela Dobos, PMCQ Director
Identifying green shoots of opportunity
Mr. Miller started the conference by highlighting the importance of disruptive initiatives during transformational periods. The Covid-19 era has created a clear dividing line where many needs and behaviours have shifted in our lives and we can expect these changes to remain present long after the pandemic. This is indeed a transformational experience that should be viewed as a great opportunity to look at things from a different angle, to innovate and find better ways of operating to create a competitive advantage. Many of today’s needs will become tomorrow’s markets. This changing landscape is full of opportunities and this is where our green shoots for tomorrow reside. However, Mr. Miller stressed the importance of contrasting the emerging needs with those that remain constant in time even in a changing landscape. These constant needs are also an area that can benefit from innovation and optimization when we go through a transformational period.
Here are the key questions you need to ask yourself to help you identify green shoots:
- who needs your company and its expertise the most, right now, to succeed?
- what products or services can you deliver to solve real problems that offer value?
- how can you proactively sell and deliver your services to the people with the most need?
Participants were then invited to discuss in small groups the potential green shoots and the areas of change that will shape the Canadian pharmaceutical sector. The main topics that were shared are summarized below:
- An increase in electronic medical records (EMRs) interest and investments has been seen during the pandemic. This is an opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to develop new tools that are more adapted to EMRs in order to help physicians manage their practice more efficiently.
- Communication channels should be centralized in order to engage HCPs more efficiently while providing value. The pandemic forced a new way of working in the pharmaceutical industry for customers facing employees. Having a single point of contact per medical expert is now a privileged approach that is cost efficient for the industry and time efficient for the HCP.
- Integrating a patient-centric culture across different areas of the pharmaceutical industry to better engage with patients.
- Promoting patient empowerment and developing creative tools to address patients’ needs for information.
Transitioning from a relationship driven to a brand driven business model
One of the most significant transformations that we can expect within the Canadian pharmaceutical industry is going to be within the sales force. As virtual engagement and telemedicine are increasingly becoming more present in the healthcare industry, we will witness a slow transition over the next few years from a relationship driven business model to a brand driven model. Virtual engagement is not the optimal approach to build relationship capital. This will force a shift in the way we communicate with our customers and spread information.
The pharmaceutical industry frequently uses abstract words to communicate things. Although these may sound very appealing, they are difficult to remember and share. As a result, this industry still relies heavily on the human relationships to connect with its customers. Mr. Miller is proposing the use of concrete words in all different types of communication whether internal or external. When you convey your message in a clear and concise manner, you paint a picture in people’s minds, the idea becomes more anchored, meaningful and shareable.
Our communication style needs to evolve and use a simple and clear language that is accessible to our customers so that they can identify with the idea and remember it. This will not only help you communicate more effectively, but it will also impact the way you market your products and services to slowly see a true shift in behaviours.
These are the things you need to keep in mind when you want to convey a message:
- Short: 10 words or less
- Descriptive: clear explanation
- Memorable: Easy to share, hard to forget
Finally, Mr. Miller discussed the importance of creativity during transformational periods. He noted that most technologies that became increasingly popular during the pandemic were already existent. The Covid context only acted as an accelerator and not so much as a change agent. The creative people and companies were able to leverage current technologies while taking advantage of the momentum to implementing new ways of doing and creating a disruption. This is exactly the type of approach that we need to change behaviours and shift industry conventions. Unfortunately, we have been seeing a steady decline in creativity these last decades. People are less and less keen to explore their creative side and that is even more true in a work environment. We need to foster a creative culture at work to take the current challenges we are facing and turn them into green shoots of opportunity. The companies who act first and adapt fastest will be the brands that will be the leaders in every industry, at the end of this whole crisis.
Q: How do we manage to use simple clarity in our messages when we work in a highly regulated environment?
A: I think the pharmaceutical industry needs to push the regulators to innovate their approach when it comes to communication and content dissemination. However, the key thought for the industry is to focus on the clarity of content using simple and concrete words rather than focusing on benefit statements.
Q: Do you have a favorite brand story to share with us where an outsider was able to be successful in this era of immense competition?
A: A fitness center in Ontario was able to innovate their approach and increase their revenue even when they had to be closed for most of the year. This center did a brilliant job at identifying a green shoot and transitioned to virtual fitness programs. Interestingly, their programs were really successful, and they were even able to license them out to other centers.