Boehringer Ingelheim broadens YouTube, Twitter efforts

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Boehringer Ingelheim recently launched new YouTube videos and a channel devoted to Parkinson's disease, while the firm's US operations just launched a Twitter feed, following its German parent, which got onto Twitter last year.

Boehringer Ingelheim's US operations, located in Ridgefield, Connecticut, are not party to the company's YouTube executions as of yet, although it is “in our sights,” according to Kate O'Connor, executive director of US PR and the division's chief Tweeter. The company's German headquarters launched a corporate Twitter feed in November of 2008. 

O'Connor posted her first tweet last week, and hopes the free micro-blogging service will enable the company to display its personality, without the corporatespeak endemic to press releases. “We'd never put out a press release about giving Easter baskets to kids in Dansbury, Connecticut,” said O'Connor. “But we might tweet about it.”

O'Connor said the primary reason for using Twitter would be to inform journalists about company goings-on. “I've heard journalists say that ‘if you aren't on Twitter or have an RSS feed, you're not getting covered,'” said O'Connor, adding that the company's US homepage will institute an RSS feed in the next few days.   

Boehringer Ingelheim doesn't currently see Twitter as a DTC channel for product communications due to regulatory concerns, but O'Connor acknowledges that anybody can follow the feed. One of the challenges will be to keep it interesting, she added.

Update (8/27/09) Boehringer Ingelheim confirmed reports from yesterday regarding sales force cuts. Christina Chan, public affairs and communications manager, said the company will indeed cut 30% of its sales force, leaving a total of 2,200 reps in place after the layoffs.
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