Private View October

In modern marketing, relationships rule. Brands need new ways to engage with customers wherever they are, including social media.

The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” showed healthcare marketers what’s possible when a phenomenon truly goes viral. Unfortunately, there is no formula for developing content that’s guaranteed to hook customers and get them involved.

These healthcare social media campaigns successfully use emotion, altruism and the human desire to “brand” oneself to get customers engaged. (Click the slideshow above to see images from all the campaigns)

• #OneGoodReason
Bowing to pressure to ban tobacco sales, CVS took the opportunity to rebrand itself and invite customers to share their own reasons for living tobacco-free. The campaign gives users the chance to “humblebrag” about quitting or nudge a loved one to quit. CVS may be caving to customer demands, but it’s hard to fault them for helping people save their lives.

Pfizer expanded its Get Old campaign, using Facebook and Twitter, based on the insight that 87% of Americans have a “fear of getting old.” This campaign consists of shareable, age-related articles and other content that invite users to declare their courage in the face of aging or joke about their “#FOGO.”

• #LikeaGirl
Women’s health company Always is taking back the term “Like a girl.” This viral video features girls talking about what the term means to them. The answers are moving: acting “like a girl” means trying hard, being graceful, being powerful. It’s not selling product, necessarily, but it is creating brand relationships.

• Our Promise
When Johnson’s baby products came under fire for questionable ingredients, Johnson’s adopted a stance of transparency. They demonstrated this practically, by reformulating, and symbolically, through events and social media. Johnson’s continues to own the word “Promise,” asking parents to name their promises to their children and letting users  “brand” themselves as good parents.

• Long Live Life
Another effort to position a pharma company as a partner in extending and enhancing life. The campaign lives on the Novartis website, and uses Pinterest to illustrate how each day is a gift. The content is from Novartis employees, not the public—which seems like a missed opportunity. Still, it is striking and effective, if quiet.

• Cancer Tweets
Older than the others, but a brilliant use of social media. “Virtual cancers” followed a number of people, including celebrities, over time. The messages, which stopped when detected, began subtly and became more intrusive if ignored. It was a powerful, if chilling, way to reach a broad audience about the need for early cancer detection.

Kelly Wilson is SVP and creative director, Concentric Health Experience.