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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

How to say a thousand words

There’s no need to make it as complex as ‘gamification’  – just get visual in how you reach your audiences

There are times when we read a good book it stays in the back of our mind and in our heart. Whether sad, funny, contemplative or just a good read, words mean a million things and can have a powerful effect on our thoughts.

When I saw a trailer for a 3D film of one of my favourite books (Life of Pi)) I shuddered in horror. When one of my colleagues said it was as good as the book, I decided to take the plunge and watch it. After literally the opening sequence I was hooked. Two hours later I was feeling even more emotion than just reading the book.

The next day in work I started thinking, we have a number of clients who produce numerous 'how to' leaflets... From patient info ones, to mode of action on leave pieces, to best techniques. Looking through them I realised that sometimes we get stuck in a rut, or just think that the way we have always done is the best.

I never thought the book I loved would actually work as a film but it undoubtedly did. Similarly the same old leaflets you produce may work in the format they are in but what about challenging your thinking and doing something a little different. 

I listen to Radio 1 driving into work (trying to keep up with popular culture and fit in with all the youngsters). Most of their competitions are video competitions where you make a home-made video from your phone against some music - so even radio is going visual. 

YouTube is becoming so popular that most new pop music acts are found on the internet. Perhaps the old saying that “a picture paints a thousand words” needs to change to “moving images capture a thousand words”.

Taking it one stage further check out Vine – a recent app made from the Twitter folks. Where Twitter is 140 characters, Vine is six seconds of video – that loops. It's becoming one of the most popular apps with people taking daft videos of their cats through to 'stop motion animation'. This sort of stuff may be slightly too advanced for some pharma companies (picture your medical director saying yes to this), but it does show us that video has a larger part to play than even three years ago.

It can be a challenge but it could be a rewarding one – providing you think about your format and undertake it in the right way. We package everything up with fancy words like 'gamification', when all we need to do is think about our audience as consumers and try to understand what makes them tick. Doctors, nurses, patients – we are all consumers and we all live in a social environment.

Video, animation, interactivity, whatever it is, maybe it's time you started thinking in moving images rather than words.

Article by
Melanie Kirk

managing director, Pulsar

18th July 2013

From: Marketing

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