Virtual and hybrid is here to stay: 5 areas of opportunity in healthcare

Jack Health Blog

March 5th, 2021 By Nigel Downer

2020 threw each and every one of us for a loop.

As individuals, and as brands. We’ve had to react and pivot. To rethink and reimagine. Healthcare brands were certainly no exception. Many quickly shifted their business model to focus solely on research to fuel the development of a vaccine. Others opened up their facilities for COVID testing. Some even allowed their employees to take leave and help on the front lines. And with large group gatherings no longer a viable option to share information, we all looked for new ways to stay connected to and communicate with key audiences, inside our organizations and out. For healthcare brands to continue to drive growth, they must ensure that patients, health care professionals (HCPs), and their own employees are informed and supported. The experiences that are delivered to those audiences in 2021 – both virtual and hybrid – will be an essential element of their success.

Virtual and hybrid is here to stay: 5 areas of opportunity in healthcare

Let’s explore five areas where your brand has opportunity to deliver more meaningful experiences:

  1. Connecting, Training & Supporting Sales Teams
  2. Ensuring Leadership Connectivity & Alignment
  3. Supporting & Engaging HCPs
  4. Congress & Trade Show Alternatives
  5. Media engagement

1. Connecting, Training & Supporting Sales Teams

Drug launch schedules aren’t changing due to COVID, and sales teams still need to be motivated, educated, and on message in order to drive growth. How launch and sales meeting experiences are reimagined is crucial to a brand’s success. Recently, a major pharmaceutical company had planned for a global in-person sales meeting for a drug launch. When pandemic restrictions prevented travel, the show still had to go on. A transition to a virtual experience was essential but screen-fatigued audience deserved more than just another Zoom meeting. The result? A global multi-sensory experience that engaged audiences from multiple cultures. Complete with branded headphones, an 8D soundscape with an emotional story was unleashed to attendees followed by a vivid array of content– half performance art, half sales meeting. As a result, participants couldn’t look away.

2. Ensuring Leadership Connectivity & Alignment

In fast paced, quick changing environments, businesses must navigate how to sustain and drive growth. Leaders at all levels need to be connected now more than ever to ensure all areas of the business are moving cohesively in the same direction. Organizations are desperate for virtual experiences that inspire and align leaders for the road ahead, and are looking for something different, more innovative, and more engaging than talking heads on a screen.

3. Supporting & Engaging HCPs

Sales teams can’t make live calls and congresses aren’t happening. To fill the void, virtual HCP and key opinion leader (KOL) experiences have become more important than ever before. HCPs are hungry for content and for connection. They need the most up to date product information and to be able to ask questions so they can feel that their patients are getting the medicines they need. Brands need to focus on creating compelling virtual programming that is simple, moving, original and effective. Break the mold with innovative formats, serialized storytelling, and enable the connections that wouldn’t have been made without the program.

4. Congress & Trade Show Alternatives

Live congresses aren’t happening and both HCPs and brands continue to be disappointed by the virtual trade show experience. Owned experiences driven by content and technology are emerging as an alternative. Inspired storytelling and innovative virtual experiences provide HCPs with timely information and the connection they crave, while building a meaningful relationship with the brand.

5. Media Engagement

Brands are looking for ways to amplify important milestones and key messages with investors, analysts, and other stakeholders. Innovative delivery formats that take cues from TV and broadcast turn announcements into events and drive engaging experiences that go well beyond the press release. For example, a global life science company recently rebranded and wanted to share the news with employees, customers and other key audiences. The brand opted to create a vision film that articulated its future vision for the company. Taking a cue from Hollywood, a cinematic two-minute content piece was developed. A visual splendor of images and powerful music (no words) showcased how humans can benefit from incredible science and captivated audiences in a way that no press release ever could.

Planning for 2021

Despite much gloom brought from the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, the future is bright for healthcare. Vaccines are underway and technology is driving advancements in the field. For the first time in a long time, the industry’s reputation is on the uptick. The experiences delivered to patients, HCP’s and employees must build on this momentum.

So, as healthcare brands think about their 2021 roadmap, they should ask themselves these 5 questions:

  1. How can you better serve patients, keep leaders aligned and connected and engage HCPs?
  2. How are your brands driving physician engagement?
  3. How are you effectively setting up your teams for a successful virtual launch?
  4. Are you effectively spending the budget that was allocated for conferences and congresses?
  5. What major announcements and milestones need to be amplified?

But one question that should permeate everything your brand does is: Are we doing enough to deliver on our mission? Because brand promises are empty without the proof to back them up.

What lies ahead in healthcare is exciting. Make it worth talking about.

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