Josie Martin, VP of public affairs at PhRMA, talks to Virgil Dickson about the association's impact on healthcare and how it utilizes outreach strategies.
What made the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association launch the From Hope to Cures initiative?
Research conducted in 2010 and 2011 found a growing gap between the public's view of the biopharmaceutical industry in Washington and their understanding of what the industry does.
While most understand that we produce the medicines each of us use to stay well and get better, too few had any idea that the biopharmaceutical industry accounts for more than 20% of all research and development in the US, that we employ more than 650,000 people, and have invested more than half a trillion dollars in R&D since 2000. The biopharmaceutical industry's dedication to better patient care and medical progress was simply not understood.
This is how our campaign – From Hope to Cures – was born. We are creating a narrative that captures the innovative and complex work of biopharmaceutical R&D to better our health and advance medicine.
What impact has this effort had?
Since we just launched the campaign last September, it's too early to measure the impact on the group's reputation, but early indications of the reach are exciting.
In the last months of 2012, we saw campaign messaging in 60% of our media coverage, up 20% from previous months. We saw an 18% growth in our social media community in December. And we've had more than 9,000 unique visitors to our website. Importantly, our new brand repositioning – Research. Progress. Hope. – has been embraced by our members and employees.
What outreach methods did you use?
We have integrated messages from the From Hope to Cures campaign in everything we do, from conversations we have with policymakers and stakeholder groups, to events we host to celebrate innovation, to interviews with traditional and social media leaders.
We launched an online hub for the campaign, took part in a National Press Club newsmaker event and a National Journal policy forum with lawmakers and healthcare policy leaders, conducted a week-long online conversation about innovation in the context of presidential inaugurations, and much more.
The integrated nature of the campaign has reached audiences on several fronts, and we're seeing positive results.