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Robyn Cabarrao: 'If I could change one thing...'

The Global Affiliate Liaison at inVentiv Health Communications/Europe explains what she would improve within the industry

I would urge marketers to shift their perception of what it means to be global. There is no way around it – cultural adaptation and integration is fundamental to success in an increasingly global marketplace. The ability to understand and embrace cultural dynamics and sensitivities, and therefore communicate successfully across boundaries and borders, is essential when engaging any audience.

While this need to leverage cultural differences constructively is integral to all manner of business, it is absolutely critical to the global healthcare industry. With a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse patient population, it is becoming more and more important for healthcare providers – from the pharmaceutical industry to physicians to payers – to possess strong insights into the cultures that drive and shape patient behaviour. It is about understanding that the values, customs and norms in China, for example, may dictate completely different attitudes toward patient compliance, patient management and patient outcomes than those in a country such as France.

As a result of diminishing budgets, pharma is increasingly focusing its attention on delivering broad global communications programmes in the hope that talking to one perceived global culture will not be at the expense of the millions of cultures that transcend countries, cities and communities. This could not however be further from the truth, because when put in simple terms, this lack of cultural awareness primarily hurts patients.

As healthcare marketers it is our responsibility to help our colleagues navigate this complex landscape. It is our duty to shift behaviour and drive belief that simply providing the traditional dearth of communications, educational materials and resources in a local language is not an efficient or effective way of reaching or mobilising target audiences. Equally, by encouraging increased investment in more culturally engaging or appropriate communications, we're inevitably helping our clients achieve a core objective – to build their brand equity across all, as opposed to only some, of the relevant audiences.

Building virtual bridges between cultures, geographic locations and healthcare communications disciplines is essential if we are ever going to be able to provide solutions that are founded on cultural intelligence and cultural sensitivity.

Robyn Cabarrao inVentiv Health Communications Europe
Robyn Cabarrao
is Global Affiliate Liaison at inVentiv Health Communications/Europe. For further details, visit http://www.inventivhealth.com

10th January 2013

From: Marketing

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