CEO Charlie MacLeod gives five how-to tips on humanizing healthcare brands
Written by Alyssa Clark
Effective marketing and advertising for a healthcare organization is essential, not only in terms of generating the company’s revenue, but in terms of promoting a recognizable and approachable brand to consumers within such a competitive market. Whether it is print marketing, video marketing or social media marketing, the most important aspect of your company, in a consumer-driven market, is its public reputation; this reputation is solidified and deemed credible in the consumer’s eye through both brand consistency and brand recognition.
In order to effectively “humanize” a healthcare brand, marketers will to conduct serious internal research and market research to understand a company’s place within its current market. From there, multiple company-specific factors are taken into consideration: company environment, company culture, company values, company history and the company’s location. The collected information begins to form a consensus used to benchmark against industry-specific competition, which highlights market trends, surpluses and gaps which the “humanized” company can now work to fill. By reorienting an organization’s brand and tuning into market competition, a company will not only improve brand consistency and recognition, but will expand into new markets to become more profitable.
CEO of SMM Advertising Charlie MacLeod specializes in increasing healthcare companies’ profitability and brand recognition. He has become an expert in humanizing healthcare brands in order to make them more approachable, accessible and desirable to healthcare consumers and profitable to the organizations that choose to invest in their own infrastructure. Breaking down the larger marketing project into five words, MacLeod presents tips and how-to tricks for those interested in capitalizing on their existing marketing and advertising potential with five simple words: build, discover, help, research and recognize.
Charlie MacLeod’s Top Five how-to tips for humanizing healthcare brands are:
1) "Building trust with the brand is essential. The tone of your messages must not talk down to your audience – it'll help to create a better customer experience."
2) "Discover the brand's essence and communicate it in a positive way that fosters a positive human connection."
3) "Help patients help themselves by having human connections via social media. Form online "Wellness Communities" which will result in patient volume."
4) "You must research – your community's perception of your brand is much more important than your perception."
5) "Recognize that your brand is no longer being defined by one voice, but by the voices of many."
By embracing these five words (build, discover, help, research and recognize) and embracing a commitment to “humanize” your healthcare brand, your organization will be on its way to seeing both financial payoffs and reputation longevity within your respective marketplace. For more information on humanizing healthcare brands or SMM Advertising, visit http://smmadvertising.com/.
The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined.
Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.
Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short.
Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification.
The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.
It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.
It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.
For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.
The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.
Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.
Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.
Disconnected information systems
While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration.
A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.
By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.
Political influence and social equality
As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.
In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.
However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.
Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution.
The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.