Reputation plays a big role in many industries. For Big Pharma, each year brings a new corporate reputation survey that places the industry one notch above car salesmen and insurance companies. While there are many reasons for this – from the regulatory handcuffs of the FDA, to DTC-ads with their scary voice-overs, or frustration over drugs being too expensive to afford — there is a clear need to try and let the industry tell its story.
Thus, www.innovation.org. Here is the home of the industries “story.” There is a ton of information, interactivity, mobile-friendly content. Just one of the top three tiles is an interactive guide to understanding clinical trials — one of the industries biggest issues due to poor patient recruitment and that they take so long and cost so much; next to that, articles and slideshow carousels on innovation and the future. Just from the home page, you can educate yourself with content that has never before been aggregated and delivered in such a consumer-friendly User Experience.
Why is this hot? Biopharma/Life Sciences is an enormous and incredibly complex and little understood industry. This content-rich Web site may seem like the industry is pulling back the curtain: but is it believable? At the very least, if you want to get an education on many aspects of the industry, this would be the place to do it.
This new site, www.innovation.org was created by the industry lobbying trade group, PhRMA. While their key audience may be politicians, policy-makers and such, this site was clearly created for patients and those in the public who relish information and any potential transparency that comes with it.
Oddly enough, while reputation can have a direct correlation to trusting a company’s product, it has little meaning or impact in Biopharma/Life Sciences. Most patients have no idea what company makes a drug; and most doctors, while aware, are driven by other more quantitative factors like clinical data.
So we have to ask the right questions: While it is very engaging and easy-to-navigate does it actually help the industry reputation? Or is it a self-serving content strategy served up with good UX? Or more realistically, will patients appreciate the content but cherry-pick what they believe, or not — this is an established behavior when searching for drug information…cull from a dozen sources, weigh the results and synthesize an opinion.
Perhaps the real strategy here was not to enhance reputation or gain consumer trust, but to just add one more source/voice to the conversation. In this world of too much information, they have decided that to join the discussion with credible, easy-to-understand content, thus they gain a share-of-Influence, while still striving to raise their credibility.