Where 2020 saw the patient and health care catapult into the spotlight, early 2023 research suggests we’ll not be peddling backwards on that anytime soon. Ben Fisher, head of health UK at WE Communications, joins the PRovoke Media Podcast to discuss the agency’s latest Brands in Motion report focused on the corporate reputations of biotech and pharmaceutical companies. 

Growing skepticism over whether brands are delivering on their purpose and their environmental, social and governance pledges is a resounding theme across survey responses. Participants from Australia, Germany, India, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom and the U.S. say they want brands to share their entire purpose journey and deliver clear metrics and tangible results… but are they?

While remains paramount for biotech and pharma brands to participate in conversations about innovation and safety, health care professionals and consumers alike are demanding more of these companies — with patient care being top-of-mind. 

“There’s been a shift over the years, broader expectations with value and mission, and doing things that go beyond your lane,” he said. “You can’t do everything, but it’s quite clear that there is an expectation to do more than your core offer.”

With health care being such a regulated industry, Fisher notes that some companies are hesitant to put out any messaging until every box is checked and everything is perfect. But that’s not the expectation from those companies’ many internal and external audiences. Transparency and authenticity are key moving forward. 

The Brands in Motion survey, “More Than Medicine,” found that 74% of survey respondents say that brands should be transparent when informing the public about their actions in response to current and emerging societal issues. The survey notes that by including stakeholders in the process, providing regular updates with hard data, clear metrics and quantifiable results — even when those results fall short of expectations — companies can build trust with them along the way.

“It’s absolutely fine to talk about work in progress, to show a bit of mess,” he said. “‘We tried to do something, we’re going to do this…’ HCPs want to know what you are doing the business for, what the purpose is. We don’t need to be overly polished. What we need to be is completely, authentic and aim to do better.”

Key Moments
0:00 Introductions
1:50 What Is The Brands in Motion Survey 
6:00 How Trust Can Be Better Exemplified 
8:43 It’s More Than Just Medicine 
12:30 The COVID-19 Pandemic Put Pharma on the Map Like Never Before 
15:49 Missing The Mark On Patient Centricity 
20:53 Applying Brands in Motion Learnings 
23:47 Health Care As A Societal Issue
27:00 Where Product and Corporate Communications Overlap
35:20 Authenticity Reigns Supreme
38:00 The Future Isn’t Settled