Please login to the form below

The pharma rising star and what they mean for your KOL strategy

Rising stars are the KOLs of this future. They must be considered for any effective KOL strategy. This post expands.

We’ve spoken in previous blogs about how important Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are, and how we must strive to find and engage with these experts, with an effective KOL strategy, if we want to be at the very top of our game. But here’s an idea: how about being ahead of the game? KOL engagement is essential in keeping abreast of medical developments, we understand that. Yet it’s only the tip of the iceberg if we want to be at the very forefront of fresh ideas and discoveries. The present is all well and good, and you’re doing well to be on board with it. But what about the future?

‘Rising stars’ are the KOLs of this future. They may be the ‘new recruits’ of today, finding their feet in the industry, but tomorrow they could well be the leading lights of innovation and development. If relationships are forged with these stars. You’ll know of their discoveries before your competitors, and perhaps even help the discoveries to be made in the first place.

Yet first, you’ll have to find them, and nurture their talents (bear compliance in mind). So how do you do this and incorporate them in your KOL strategy?

‘Star spotting’

It’s a corny analogy perhaps, but if so – how about ‘scouting’? Whatever you call it, finding rising stars is all about seeing beyond the obvious.

In the world of the obvious, we look for evidence and hard facts. In pharma terms, this would mean researching publications, presentations, studies and more for the experts in any given field of study. As we scroll through the libraries of knowledge and tune in to the general buzz coming from medical forums and communities, the names we see and hear most often are the obvious suspects.

Although there’s a lot to be said for this analytical approach, star spotting is as much about faith as it is reason; about heart as it is mind. The tide of pharma is constantly changing, so rising stars are those who have the potential to ride the waves – i.e. be adaptable to change. Beyond qualifications and experience, it is personal qualities which separate rising stars from the rest – such as innovation, inspiration and determination. These qualities can’t be learned, and neither can they be seen until they are put to the test. 

But even if you do follow your logic alone, remember: a ‘false star’ can emerge by merely being associated with new findings and developments. An author of a paper may have had plenty of help with their work, or may be plagiaristic even. And even if they are genuine, how valuable – in the whole scheme of things – is the work or subject itself? It’s essential to look beyond the obvious. 

Attracting and nurturing talent

Fortunately, you’re not alone if you want to attract and nurture rising stars. So who, then, are your greatest allies?

In short the KOLs of today. Once upon a time they were the rising stars themselves, so understand the challenges they face and what is needed to bring the best out of them. Their expertise is not just in pharma in general, but in understanding what makes their own people ‘tick’ – and in having a radar for talent. They also care about bringing the best prospects to the fore to continue their work long after they’ve gone, so KOL engagement is essential in finding the new stars.

That said, one opinion is not enough. Like anyone, KOLs may have preferences based on group affiliations, subject areas and so on, so rising stars should be supported by a number of KOLs before you can be sure.   

Ultimately, however, rising stars need your help to become as good as they deserve to be. Their excellence needs to be marketed to the rest of the world, not just the pharma and medical people they work with, and this is where your powers come in.

Yet in return, you’ll be party to their knowledge and associated with their groundbreaking work. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship in which both reputations – your brand and the rising star’s – grow together and earn you respect and prosperity. All that’s needed is some foresight and imagination, as well as the determination to make the friendship work.

This blog was originally published here:

13th November 2017



Company Details


+44 (0) 161 818 8399

Contact Website

4th Floor, Churchgate House
56, Oxford Street
M1 6EU
United Kingdom

Latest content on this profile

We need to be better for mental health sufferers
In support of World Mental Health Day, Manchester-based health communications agency, COUCH, is calling out for the industry to do more and to be better for those who need help in this area.
Improving medication adherence by increasing health literacy
Health literacy and therapy adherence are interlinked. Improving health literacy involves removing barriers that prevent patients’ medical understanding.
What pharma marketers can learn from behavioural science
Pharma behavioural science and traditional emotional marketing create a powerful mix of techniques that have impact on real lives.
Health knowledge: Why is it so important?
Health knowledge plays an important role in population health, but by itself is rarely enough to prompt a change in the behaviours that cause the risks.
COUCH study finds almost half of patients skip medication
Young people and less educated among those with less understanding of their health condition, according to UK-wide survey
Does a lack of understanding of human behaviour affect healthcare?
Only by synthesising research across multiple disciplines can we truly understand how to effect patient behaviour change