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Thinking clearly and imagining better

Earning trust by temporarily ignoring business plans and goals

Stephen PageTo be able to think clearly, know what to do and then to be able to reflect on the success of what you did so that you can do it again, is a thoroughly enjoyable privilege. With our sector energised by the unstoppable power of compulsory change, don’t we all have a cracking opportunity to do this?

Speaking of which, when did thinking clearly, knowing what to do and reflecting on it become so desperately tied up in the language of brand, strategy, planning, multichannel dissemination and data-driven insights?

Thinking clearly

The Trojans were good at this. That’s the example often trotted out (pun intended). Objective: get Helen. Strategy: deception. Tactic: a wooden horse full of soldiers.

However, perhaps the real reason the Trojan horse was a big success is that it deployed a far more significant facet of human nature: imagination. Imagination overcame the hard-boiled human nut called confirmation bias; ie most of us, including HCPs, are guilty of only hearing the arguments that support an existing position. A large wooden horse is a brave move and difficult to ignore.

Thinking clearly requires us to be brave and uncompromising. The trick perhaps is to, temporarily, ignore business planning, commercial goals or the features and benefits of our product, and think clearly about how our brand will earn the greatest degree of trust.

Knowing what to do

Perhaps the place to start is to strip everything back to a sincere assessment of the patient’s unmet needs and then layer on top of that a deep interest in the needs, beliefs and behaviours of the healthcare professional - our findings. At Page & Page we create personas, imagine typical customers and then we try to see the world through their eyes. We get creative and think about what would make a difference - our insights - and then lastly the tactics to fulfil the strategy.

Aileen Thompson, ABPI communications director, in August on PMLiVE talked about ‘celebrating science in our story telling’. We’d agree, as pharma reimagines its business model and strengthens its business planning, that telling stories clearly in the context of imagining better has to be business critical.

Stephen Page is brand development director at Page & Page
(www.pageandpage.uk.com)

In association with

Page and Page

19th September 2017

From: PME

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Seven Stones is a creative, independent healthcare communications agency of movers and thinkers. We've been doing health differently since 1991....

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