Eric Foster
Global marketing director

Inspiration for change can blossom even when things have been quiet for a while. For GlaxoSmithKline, lupus presented an opportunity to shake things up by prompting patients to get more engaged with their condition though an awareness campaign. This may not seem like a big deal—awareness campaigns aren't exactly on the endangered-species list—but Foster notes that GSK was attempting to create a community around a condition for which there hadn't been "any new development or treatment" for decades.
The first iteration of the campaign, by Foster's admission, was basically "if we create it, they will come." The second attempt —the first was reframed as a "learning"—gave the team a chance to seek out patient needs, like a conversation guide, and create an environment in which they wanted to engage. "Patients are passionate," he says. "You need to believe that you make a difference and use that motivation to push for the patient." —Deborah Weinstein