Great content has its privileges…

American Express launched OPEN Forum in 2007. You might be asking yourself what does this have to do with content development within the healthcare space but stay with me here. The need met by OPEN forum includes a hub where small-business owners can become informed, network, or seek advice. What has evolved is a lively community aligned by business objectives and a common goal. I am imagining the topics that would bring value to us. How do you plan for growth in an evolving healthcare economy? How will health policy impact my pipeline, business model, or funding opportunities? How can I strategically get new customers and build effective teams to manage new business? Let’s see how this might apply directly to the healthcare space…

Pharma spends more on advertising than on R&D

Let me first remind you of the amount of spend dedicated to sales and marketing within big pharma. Can you recall any personal narrative stories that have resonated or captured the humanity of the consumers of our trillion dollar healthcare industry?

When I think of the industry messages that are directed to me the consumer what I actually can remember consists of the Abilify cartoon being followed by a little dark cloud of depression that persists no matter how hard she tries to manage her symptoms. Or the erectile dsyfunction/sexual dysfunction adds that warn of a persistent potential 4-hour sustained effect and a myriad of other risks while a couple holds hands across two individual claw foot tubs — hint: perhaps you might want to be in the same tub?

A popular post in Linkedin introduced many of you to Seth Godin. His narrative voice resonates with me and has influenced much of what I believe about client engagement. Seth writes about the “post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.” The concept that he introduced to my lexicon and millions of others is that of a “tribe”. All a tribe needs is a shared message and a communication strategy to dramatically change the way business is done within a certain industry.

For the sake of argument let’s assume that if you are reading this and/or follow the blog you are at least dipping your toe into the concept of a tribe. What could we achieve within our industry if we collectively gathered around a common theme or story and empowered each other to contribute our shared stories and insights toward dramatically altering the narrative? What if instead of direct-to-consumer advertising, we helped develop high-value content that truly engaged the consumer. If we really believe that social determinants of health influence our quality of life and susceptibility to disease shouldn’t these be part of our prevention strategies? What would an add space look like that educates on adherence, healthy food choices, exercise, mitigation of side-effects?

Day in the Life: Managing your Diabetes Diagnosis

Short humanistic stories that contextualize the challenges of understanding what the right choices are and useful strategies personalized for the patient perspective can be powerful — instead of a firehouse of pharmaceutical adverts that medicalize everyone and turn the patient into a retail pharmaceutical client — purchasing healthcare instead of health.

And that American Express Forum that I mentioned in the beginning? They hired a long-form content company to tell their narrative. It has been quite successful and people are paying attention.

Are you listening?

Originally published at