Goodwill in the pharma sector—maintaining momentum post-pandemic
Posted by | Alan Gray
Earlier this month I attended a London-based event focused on communications and reputation in the pharmaceutical sector. Mingling with the delegates and attending the sessions provided me with the chance to hear directly from communications leaders in the pharma sector talking about the latest trends. Interestingly, one topic that was raised quite often was around the sector goodwill that was created during the pandemic, only to be followed by the ‘post-pandemic’ period, with its attendant concerns and opportunities.
Vaccines in the headlines
To paraphrase one of the event speakers, the pharmaceutical sector is not a business sector that is usually uppermost in the public’s mind. Certainly, we are all grateful at one time or another for the medicines and treatments that keep us and our families healthy. However, the collaborative effort and speed at which the sector as a whole reacted to develop vaccines in the urgent and frightening circumstances of the pandemic, deservedly became positive global front-page news.
Notwithstanding any misinformation largely distributed via social media, the goodwill towards the sector was evident.
Change and challenges for pharma comms
Although the media agenda eventually moved on, and with the war in Ukraine and the resulting economic impact on energy prices and supply chains, a looming recession, rising interest rates, and corporate layoffs, the world’s attention was soon deflected. Many of the pharma comms professionals were also faced with the additional headwinds presented by the political instability in the UK and elsewhere, particularly for those whose remit included Government liaison.
These scenarios brought to the forefront the question of what the sector should or could do to maintain the goodwill earned during the COVID-19 pandemic. The answer to which, of course, is complex and nuanced. The phrase, ‘International is not a country’, raised smiles with event attendees and of course reflects the need for local and national context.
At the end of the day, it seems that companies should endeavour to quickly formulate a strategy to maintain the goodwill gained during the pandemic before the momentum is lost. If COVID vaccines become the next flu shot, reputation may play an important part, particularly in out-of-pocket healthcare systems.
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Author: Alan Gray | VP Sales and Client Success | Fuld & Company