The Big List Blog
Sanofi US: Sanofi US & The DX: The Diabetes Experience — Live from BlogWell
3:51 — Laura: How many work in regulated industry? [40% raise hands] How many work in pharma? [few hands]. It’s a bit tough to participate in social in a highly regulated industry.
3:52 — Laura shows disclaimer that she works for Sanofi: Sanofi has taken an atypical approach for Pharma. We spend quite a bit of time trying to understand how they can participate in social media by sharing content specific to our brands. For a while, we were banging our heads against the wall and decided that was the best. We are leveraging social to drive our strategy.
3:53 — Laura: We are publishing content by the people for the people in our community. Laura joined Sanofi when they were already adopting the mindset of patient first vs brand first. We are a company evolving from a focus on the molecule to a more patient-centered approach.
3:54 — Laura: The approach we are taking in social is putting the consumer at the center. While many people are saying they are doing this, it’s challenging and there’s no bold, direct line to ROI. Our engagement is grounded in this idea of customers at the center. We started with baby steps in 2010 with Facebook and Twitter.
3:55 — Laura: In January, we released Discuss Diabetes, a pharma blog, and later that year we rolled out Data Design Diabetes. The challenge created a larger effect.
3:56 — Laura: If we’re going to say the patient is at the center, we need to make sure our social and content reflects that. Within two years, I was interviewed by Fast Company and they touted Sanofi for writing social media rules on Pharma. With these assets, coupled with intelligent sources, we have the ability to really listen to our community and learn what they want. That led to Diabetapedia.
3:57 — Laura: Through the listening and observations on how people gather diabetes related info, we saw they were going to 8-10 blogs a day. From there, the Diabetes Experience (The DX) was born. It’s an authentic dialogue for those touched by diabetes.
3:58 — Laura: The DX is grounded in life and living your life. It’s an engagement tool not a sales tool. It resides in digital environment that gives people a view into our other offerings. We are bringing them in through content meaningful to their life, and giving them an opportunity to explore other things.
3:59 — Laura: Anything we publish has a stringent review process. To curate content from bloggers and resources, took a lot of conversations with internal stakeholders. Content is informed by listening and analyzing what those touched by diabetes want and need to know.
4:00 — Laura on finding content ideas: Unmet search needs and unanswered queries are an opportunity to develop content for that topic. The original content has high journalistic standards. It never mentions treatments by a branded term. The editorial team is responsible for vetting content that goes on the DX.
4:01 — Laura: Why did we create The DX? To create a community for those with diabetes to engage around life, not diabetes. It takes a lifestyle change to manage the condition appropriately beyond treatments. We’re looking to offer that education and motivation.
4:02 — Laura: We wanted to create an authentic dialogue. There isn’t anything we publish that we aren’t proud to publish. It’s critical we earn trust from diabetes online community. The platform helps us learn.
4:03 — Laura: The community was built to embody an agile approach that offers a deeper understanding of life with diabetes. We didn’t know a whole lot about the life journey and key milestones.
4:04 — Laura: Every day we bring together original and curated content from trusted sources. Some people may not consider bloggers to be trusted sources but through education, we helped our internal stakeholders see why some blogs were valuable. We have smart, welcoming tone and simplify complex medical issues.
4:05 — Laura: What type of content? One thing we uncovered is there’s a struggle around life transitions (college, retirement). At that moment we hope they search and find the content we created about that situation.
4:06 — Laura: We listen. We have multiple intelligence data, search data, patient advocates, writers, and editors to listen and keep us grounded. What we don’t hear, we ask.
4:07 — Laura: We’ve built a community of influencers and authors who want to write for us. We also would listen and pitch ideas to journalists.
4:08 — Laura on what they’ve learned: Always be listening to your community. Be creative in how you listen. Ask your community questions and let them drive story ideas. Realize there’s always an opportunity for face to face. Don’t be afraid to push into new territory. When you hear no, ask why (respectfully).
4:09 — Laura on what they’ve learned: Build thoughtfully. It’s been a journey for us and we didn’t come out in 7 different channels. We started with two and let the learnings drive future assets. Be authentic. Don’t be promotional if you say you aren’t promotional.
4:10 — Laura: Be creative and keep iterating. Take an agile approach. Don’t invest a lot of money upfront. Create something that’s good enough. Then test test test.
Q & A
Q: — Could you expand on multiple listening sources, what are the different ways you’re connecting with patient?
A: — Laura: In terms of tools, there are a plethora of listening tools available. We also analyze search behavior. We’ve created segments for Type I and Type II and for their loved ones to make sure questions are answered. We’ve built relationships with influencers and because they see our approach is authentic, they proactively come to us and share their opinions.
Q: — Where would you love to go next for the organization?
A: — Laura: It’s easy to be lured into next shiny object. We’ve done some testing on Pinterest and think that may be a good place. Our immediate focus however is optimizing the assets we do have. In short term, focus is on optimizing what we have versus entering new.
Q: — What was it like building the business case for The DX?
A: — Laura: We are extremely fortunate to have a VP who believes when you do right by your customer, the benefit will come. The case was very qualitative in nature and our interest was helping those with diabetes versus selling our product. Let us build that relationship.
Q: — Can you talk about legal process and review?
A: — Laura: Only 5% of content we publish goes through the traditional review process. We have content parameters (if this, then that). It wasn’t easy but by getting buy in earlier, it paid off. We also didn’t come out of the gate with The DX. We demonstrated through Twitter and Facebook and the blog first.
Q: — How are you identifying influencers? What are you doing to work with them?
A: — Laura: We do not pay influencers but we do pay contributors as they are developing content and they are journalists. For influencers, that’s been just good old-fashioned relationship building. We identified them early through listening tools and created a document that ranks individuals based on importance and voice in community. Show up at in-person events. You can’t replace relationship building.
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