Amar Urhekar, McCann Healthcare WorldWide, McCann Worldgroup


Amar Urhekar
Global agencies are now adapting to changing dynamics— social media, etc.—along with an increasingly diverse and available talent pool. Advantages of having a global or regional agency partner in healthcare brand marketing and communication are embedded in the particular characteristics of the healthcare brands and their specific requirements. Consider:

Audience dynamics Interestingly, influencers for scientists, physicians, and practitioners across markets remain the same—the international KOLs or authorities on the disease area. Physicians continue to be very critical influencers for end-users of the brand across markets despite cultural and social differences. Having a global partner makes it relatively easy to drive consistent efforts for brand marketers and to leverage the influencer networks of different regions.

Evidence-based brand communication Global and/or regional partnerships ensure seamless transfer of accumulated knowledge, both in terms of understanding brand-and molecule-related evidence and also in differentiating ways to target audiences. In the process, marketers stand to gain considerably in terms of ROI on brand communication resources.

Brand value and core communication A global agency has the highest chances of ensuring core brand value if the proposition is seamless and effortlessly executed across all markets. Local cultural context is critically important. It needs to be considered and debated while the global brand tool kit is being developed. Failure to do so at the development stage could result in local disconnect. Then again, a global agency has the ability of alerting you in advance should there be any local dissonance.

Alliance model cannot deliver In healthcare communications, the very real need is for experienced talent and professionals in scientific, medical, and consumer communication. The alliance model cannot guarantee the consistency of talent and capacity for global launch efforts.

Emerging Digital Digital platforms are already a part of life in most emerging markets. Digital marketing can be a big boon for an overworked healthcare system. In most markets, the doctor-to-patient ratio is very poor, and this inhibits HCPs' ability to properly educate consumers on medications and the importance of compliance for desired treatment outcomes. This lack of doctor-patient interaction results in several complications:

  • Lack of disease education among patients.
  • Underdosing or overdosing in the case of acute therapies and non-compliance in chronic therapies. Patients are developing medication resistance in acute therapies and failing to reach treatment goals in chronic therapies.
  • Constant frustration among patients on not getting enough time from their physicians.
  • Frustration among physicians about their inability to help their patients reach treatment goals.