The evolution of customer engagement across all verticals has led to significantly greater expectations of brands to understand, support, and relate to both HCPs and patients. Brands must continually understand the needs of their customers by sensing change and adapting dynamically in order to thrive. This podcast looks at how to leverage advancements in data, technology, AI and content development in order to become a Living Brand.

Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.

Recorded live at MM+M Transform 2024 it’s the MM+M Podcast any innovation is going to cause disruption and then in that disruption you’re going to have ideas about how to take advantage of the disruption, but I realised when my 14 year old was talking about it and and looking at all these things on tiktok something was going on and again that Curve

just did not

break when we plan

And we can utilise AI to understand the most effective ways to connect with people on a more one-to-one basis. We can drive that modularization of content we can simulate and capture and act on insight in a way that we couldn’t before that we dreamed in aspired to in partnership.

With all your health.

On today’s episode when you speak to people through other forms of content rich experiences.

You’re speaking to them in ways that are meaningful to them.

And that they can relate to in order to not only understand their disease state, but also feel good that they have opportunities. They have options and that there are.

Other people out there who are experiencing things that they’re experiencing when it takes to pull it off and guess what we’d call like.

brand plus omni channel marketing infused into one as opposed to

brand strategy and then on the channels separately

welcome to the MM+M Podcast my name is Jack O’Brien I’m the digital editor of MM+M. Please be joined today by two.

Esteemed guests Jeffrey Erb the chief media officer for Avalere Health and I’m Ryan Mason the chief marketing & creative officer.

also at Avalere Health

it’s a pleasure to have you both on the show today. I want to start off our conversation talking about living brands and everything that that means to.

Have your health and we can kind of give them more specifics from their.

Sure, I guess I’ll jump on that grenade first.

living Brands is a short hand we’ve

developed to describe

kind of our Ethos or approach to healthcare marketing.

In the era that we live in.

And it’s in some ways answer to the question of like.

That we often get asked by clients and potential clients which is.

We’ve launched our brand or we’re going to launch a brand. How do we do it better like how do we how do we do more with less?

How do we be more relevant?

How do we make sure that every dollar we’re spending has the greatest impact?

How do we make everything work together better?

And so our response to that is.

Living brands and so the most I think succinct way.

Probably to describe it is.

living brands or brands that are designed to

evolved and change

in a way that maintains and maximizes relevance with audiences, they’re designed to serve and I think we would argue that historically.

Pharma marketing or Healthcare marketing kind of has a relevance problem

in in so far as the way we target and then largely what we say so we often if we’re just going to say Focus

primarily on healthcare professionals

we tend to target the Professionals who treat or prescribed a lot of

either the condition or

treat a lot of condition wherever into

to focus on or prescribed a lot of

our product or competitive products

Which is great?

And that works as well as it works and it works very well, obviously.

Except at the point that then.

What we say to them is we continue to reintroduce ourselves.

Hello our name is product. X

this is how we work this is a safety this is a dosing and this is over and over again and so over time we’re

We’re not only preaching to the choir. We’re trying to we’re reintroducing ourselves to the choir again and again like this is the first days exactly.

With someone you’ve already yeah been on in the first date with.

over and again

It’s not 50 different First Dates so we think.

That there’s probably a better way of doing that.

went away that

allows us to be and I’d say the two main bed of benefits of living brands the reason why.

We believe this astronomy is that it allows us to be more relevant to more people.

And more relevant over time.

and that relevance leads to engagement which leads to

brand growth and

good things for the

patients and healthcare professionals were engaging

is there anything you want to add them to the

Concept and kind of bring that to life.


I think the concept and how it works and the whole idea behind it Brian’s covered very very clearly I think.

The way you get there is by understanding the audience.

alright and so

one of the things that

when we look at and we’ve had a lot of conversations today at the transform conference about.

AI and and

ways of of leveraging that and looking at how you can understand audiences and connect with them better.

You know utilising that.

machine learning to consistently take data

About that audience and bring it forward from a technology perspective.

Allows us to get to that place to help make sure that we’re staying relevant on ongoing basis.

with the

the target audience

and when it comes to

it’s an interesting point you bring up kind of what we saw with.

AI and I’ve know there was a lot of conversation earlier today about the Omni channel strategy and being able to you know replicate that for various brands.

How does living brands?

into Great with existing brand strategies that

firms might have how does how does that?

coalesce if you will

yeah, that’s a really good question I think that.

Maybe I’ll kind of start the answer with by saying the other.

Short hand for a living brands or what it takes to pull it off. I think is what we’d call like.

brand plus omni channel marketing infused into one as opposed to

brand strategy and then omni channels separately

so I I’d say that.

To the extent it.


a great entry point

to kind of adopt a particularly you know if

say brands are already in market a product or a franchise is already in market and the question is how do we become? How do we create living brands or how do we act in a more living brand compatible way?

I would say to similar to Jeff’s answer is like.

Start with your audiences and start with your segments a great way to think about it is if you’ve got different people you’re trying to talk to.

And that they need and want different things.

Then you’re probably have a living brands use case.

you know and and I’d be hard pressed to think of a


Therapy or innovation that doesn’t have to talk to different.

audiences and stakeholders

but differently

Is there an example of seeing living brands in Action that stands out to you? That’s worth sharing with the audience?

Yeah, I think.

one kind of ripped from

the headlines kind of law in order Style

and fictionalized we were recently working on a perspective client we’re working with them and we were.

Wrestling with okay, how do we help them?

Essentially have a couple indications and market tree to rare disease.

You’ve got another indication coming.

And that question is like how can you help us? How can you help us go to market differently? How do you help us with their digital strategy?

And as we were rehearsing kind of in getting into it and kind of pivoting from that.

Like getting smart really fast into what we thought we should do about it our point of view.

We quickly realised that some of the ideation was just about.

or was


very much about the product and it’s mechanism of action.

Which is of course very important, yeah?

But it was in some ways.

Limiting like that was going to be relevant to hcp’s and and patients.

But what they cared about?

more and we’re much more faced with we’re kind of

all the multifaceted burden

that this disease kind of insidiously as many rare diseases.

affect someone with so

in this case

You know the symptomology like the main the main issue.

That everyone was focused on was like wait.

Or wait gain.

Issue was that probably not the most insidious aspect of the disease.

And so there were a whole lot of other ways in which we could engage.

Those audiences and saw address needs and solve problems that were beyond.

related to but distinct from the mechanism of

of action or the mechanism disease and kind of


in the main symptoms

and so that was a case of like if we if we widen the aperture and say.

we’re going to

Have a brand that addresses and is more relevant kind of addresses people as whole people.

Then maybe we think about the way we.

Communicate the way we create experiences the way we create a brand.

that’s that’s

inclusive of certainly the product

but beyond that as well it almost sounds like it’s kind of simplifying it by kind of almost scoping out in a way whereas. I think a lot of marketers that you talk to are like well. We have to target we have to hone in we have to do all the sort of stuff and you’re taking a much more.

Broad-based approach to incorporate more aspects of it. Yeah, I’d say a simple comparing contrast to try to be a little bit more concise.

would be

to summarise myself, it would be to say.

Is the difference between say product promotion which I think characterizes a lot of healthcare marketing? We’re and that’s important here’s our drug here’s our treatment here’s our drug here’s our treatment. We’re going to talk about our drug because that’s what we do.

And creating a brand that’s more holistic that helps solve someone’s problems.

Or addresses some of their needs and life related to their condition.

but not

only defined by what the therapy can do.

In order for for brands to maintain their relevancy moving into the future and this is kind of been.

You know people.

Regardless whether their positions are consumers you know they’ve been trained.

Right to expect more.

alright and

to expect more from any brand. They’re going to have loyalty too.


pharmaceutical companies and the brands that that they own need to become

more relevant to a person’s life.

Not just relevant to their disease state.

And so what?

And the way people people change alright, they change over time.

And the as we can all see and we’ve been talking about again AI for like the past.

Day and and that change has happened.


Like explosively right in the past 12 months it’s really kind of exploded and changed.

And think about people right people are always going to be reacting to the things that are going on around them.

So you have to branch have to continuously evolve?

To maintain that relevancy with that audience and so you know when you look at that from.

from a as a holistic perspective

you want to make sure that you’re connecting with them and staying connected with them because you can’t just

you know you can’t just market to them or even driving on the channel solution. That’s not going to evolve with them and the only way that you can evolve with them is to continue understand them and make sure that you’re performing Analytics around.

How they’re engaging and how they’re reacting not just with whatever your marketing messages.

But with all the other aspects of their life right. How are they evolving and how are they changing based on other elements that are influencing that person?

beyond their disease state

it’s interesting to hear you bring that up because I know you spend a lot of conversations certainly since the start of the covid pandemic where it’s this can this consumerization of healthcare in terms of being able to roll out services and stuff, but it includes the marketing aspect too where it’s no longer. Hey we’re the ones that they have this.

Treatment or medication, it’s much more of a we want to be identified by our brand first.

And that helps you because then you become more like the apples nike’s McDonald’s whatever you know blue chip brand that you think about I’m curious from your and it kind of leads to another question. I have which is when you look at the core principles.

Interests being able to maximise your audience from a brand perspective, what are some of those that stand out to you.

Yeah, I’d say that maybe a good way to answer that it kind of weed argue that they’re probably four main.

Behaviors or characteristics that make living brands living brands like that is well.

They’re different.

Brand of brand therapeutic area to therapeutic area I think we’d say that like.

First of all kind of the key animating principle is you can tell.

That they are they relentlessly pursue relevance.

Right and and kind of all that they do both in sensing it engaging it and understanding what it is.

And then acting upon it.

And that kind of that’s that’s the thing that makes everything else go the other three kind of characteristics or behaviors, we’d say are.

that they co-create with the Communities they

they serve that they listen.

Actively and in a participatory way.

Whether that’s healthcare professionals whether that’s supporters whether that’s parents whether that’s patients.

They typically tell stories through content rich experiences.

so, it’s not just advertising it’s


most of what we’re doing.

And most of the behaviour changes or the consideration we’re trying to encourage.

is not going to happen in the context of a 30 second- or 60 seconds or billboard or banner ad

people are making real decisions about their health and their future and

that’s going to take.

some time

right and that’s going to take content and it’s going to have to happen across channels and so those are stories and I’d say then finally it’s

they treat different people differently they engage different people differently they can.

Like identify, they can recognise and they carrying member.

Who they’ve interacted with and what’s happened and then?

Create the next experience that based on that it kind of leans into the techno empathy panel that we were hosting earlier for this idea of trying to hyper personalized.

The health care experience for patients, I want to go back to what we were talking about though in terms of these kind of content rich experiences because it does appeal to me in my own coverage. We’ve we’ve seen brands that have put together.

Documentaries or in person events and stuff like that and it’s way different than like you said having a one- or two-minute add that may run in a really prime spot. What is the can you just extrapolate on that value where it’s like hey we’re not just doing that AdWords like talk to your doctor. We’re actually engaging with you. Maybe on a community level or someplace else you’re going to have that memorable experience.


alright, I think.


Certainly we’re not at anti-advertising but I think that’s right. That’s right.

But I think what we are is we it changes.

In a previous era or to date often kind of ads are often thought of as like the Pinnacle right the the full expression of the Brand and I think we would say.

Adds are important invitations to an experience.

and and I think

for like a practical example would be

often in many of the innovative therapies that we’re working on.

Sometimes in rare disease sometimes that oncology sometimes and could be anything.


the science is so new

that most health care professionals

aren’t familiar with it or aren’t trained on it don’t Encounter

maybe the conditions.

and so


patients into talk to their physician about something the physician doesn’t know about isn’t a good experience.

For anyone involved.

Including the brand that’s encouraging that and so one of the things that we often do is especially early on in a product lifecycle is.

While we’re doing really great.

Thoughtful hcp engagement really great patient engagement, is is we create experiences where?

H we’re patients and caregivers can engage with knowledgeable health care professionals.


In some ways, it’s making like a more of a kol.


but for patience

so that they can engage and have a good experience and have a credible empathetic experience with a professional.

About their their condition or those or this product or this type of therapy.

as a run-up to

engagement with their own Healthcare professional

so that would be like an example of that’s that’s a lot more than an ad

But obviously advertising.

And letting people know that that exists and inviting them and reminding them and inviting them back to the next one of those as absolutely crucial.

Yeah, I think in addition to where Ryan said you know.


to some of the things that you gave examples to like documentaries and whatnot.

I think those are cool. We make sure you’re cool exactly.

I mean.

I think what you’re looking at in that particular Circumstance is that there’s there’s different kinds of individuals.

Who have different?

personal motivators right

and so I given this example in the past where you know my father is very.

He wants to know about the disease he wants to know about the treatment. He wants to know.

Exactly, what’s happening?

There’s a very very large number of people who really don’t want to know about that. They just want another gonna be okay and when you speak to people through other forms of of content rich experiences.

You’re speaking to them in ways that are meaningful to them.

And that they can relate to in order to not only.

Understand their disease state but also feel good that they have opportunities they have options and that there are.

Other people out there who are experiencing things that they’re experiencing.

And so I think you know that from a holistic perspective and we are trying to surround a consumer.

or even a physician quite frankly with

Information you’re doing it in a way that.

Is relating to them?

Based upon their personal Motivator and the things that are important to them because some people are definitively more.

Driven by their emotion or as other people are driven by you know they’re analytic mind and that I think speaks to a bit about what you’re talking about with regards to the wise.

That we need to to relate to people differently.

beyond just here’s an ad

no absolutely and swallow those things where it’s so interesting to see when a documentary is put out there. It’s like Oh here’s our emotional appeal but then you’ll see other things in terms of like. Hey we set up a website that has these educational resources or a support system or stuff like that. It’s like that’s much more of what you talk about where it’s like. This is the cut and Dry no emotion.


side of it instead of the hey we feel for you because you’re going through X Y condition maybe it’s a really well known.

Disease or maybe it’s a rare disease in that sort of way and we’re offering you community.

Yeah, you need to relate to people based upon the way they need to be.

Connected with right everybody needs to connect with you in some way shape or form if they’re going through particularly in a lot of what we deal with this rare disease, so you know particularly those circumstances, you need to.

they need to relate in their own way and so

that’s what that’s all about and that’s really what a living brand is all about right. It’s about evolving with the individual and connecting with them.


and emotionally in addition to scientifically and and therapeutically.

I want to go back to something we had touched on earlier as it relates to techno empathy and

and AI just in terms of how you can use technology.

to effectively


the brand experience for patients or anything that stands out to you that our audience should know about on that front.

sure, I mean one of the things that

we started to talk about a little bit in the panel was leveraging technology to modularize content and to iterate.

different kinds of content people would think that an obvious place to Leverage AI or being in media planning

right, because you can

utilise the technology to understand where people are going to be and and yes to some degree, but you still have to have decisions that are going to be made that fall out side of something that AI can necessarily predict whether it’s

in some cases, it’s it’s creating video iterations and other cases, it’s creating content iterations.

In order to connect with those individuals based upon how we know that they prefer to learn whether the hcps are consumers right.

Because we can look at a lot of that data.

From that we would that we bring into our our toolset and understand how these different it’s kind of micro segmenting individuals.

You know you’re not necessarily making a specific unique individual piece of content for every human being.

But your micro segmenting in the people these groups of people are.


learning this way and so we’re going to take the content.

Utilizing a format and a template it’s already been approved by mlr.

In order to to surround that.

smaller group of people with this

this way of learning because they they learn in this particular fashion.

And that’s one of the ways that I think it’s really been beneficial from.

And it’s evolving from a creative perspective.

Not from the design which Ryan will talk about but from the building and execution.

Of the way, it’s delivered.

Yeah, I think.

and you can you can correct me Jeff if

any of this if I get the method of

kind of

whether we’re talking about AI or machine learning as a subset of that or just frankly predictive Analytics

I think that.

one of the big

transformation will moves.

that is

been exciting for me in my career.

has been being able to

be at a moment where we can take what?

most of our segmentation and Pharma is

attitude and all

in psychographic in nature and we go out and we do qual and we do quant we create these wonderful strategies.

And these segments of people and largely based on their attitudes and behaviors about their condition.

And the therapies available to them.

And that’s wonderful.

It’s really to date has been hard to activate against in a digital way because you can’t go by the segments of people and say in media. I want to target people who are

ability Seekers

like it doesn’t exist.

And so one of the interesting things that we can do now is when we when we’re creating.

For example a hand racer of CRM database where people say I want to raise my hand.

Because I’m interested in.

information and

That you have to offer.

We can begin to learn about them and pull them and and segment them in a way.

Then we can create lookalike models and say hey we have a critical mass of folks in our database who for example.


the ability Finders right or you know the ability warrior’s say?

Now we’ve created a look at like model we can go out and say people who look like this.

in Media when we’re trying to track might be more likely to be one of these ability Warriors

and and so that allows us to be a lot more relevant.

From the start.

And take things that we did in one domain and channel.

And be much more relevant in another in a media context.

And then of course have the content have the creative have the ads have the content experience is that appeal to?

What we understand and ability warrior wants to see in here and understand. Yeah, it was all those things that came up in the panel earlier. It’s like not deep prioritising the top of the funnel like you obviously have to focus on the results, but it’s like if you can make it more engaging there.

you’re going to be able to get those end results that you’re looking for I

appreciate you guys being on the show here and being able to Delve into you know everything that’s going on with living brands want to just throw a bag in case there is anything on the technology front I know that we talked a lot about AI and it’s prospects there anything else. I know that and I know the AI is kind of like a catch-all term for so many different Innovations that are under that and you know generative AI and the chachi PTS of the world was there anything else on that front? It’s released to technology you think our audience needs to know.

Going forward is release their advertising.


I mean, I think that they just need to be aware of what they’re actually looking into and what they’re buying right because

I think AI is right now become a buzzword and it can often be confused for a lot of other things.

And quite honestly, there’s things that are AI that can be confused with the people don’t understand is AI right so I think it kind of goes both ways and I think it’s important that people understand.

You know what it really is.

and not be

drawn in just by the buzz. I think you know this was talked about one of the panels too. It’s

you know there was a quote that somebody said and I forget who said it to be honest with you, but it was you know fall in love with the problem. Not the technology. Yeah, everyone seemed to love that that’s a great quote. That’s a great quote because it’s more about understanding.

What your need is and finding a solution for it not?

The fact that it’s AI and in fact you know even on our panel. It’s it’s beyond the buzz alright. Let’s like let’s let’s look for practical applications that actually make sense to solve your challenge.


hey, let’s use AI to do something cool because that’s

never going to get you anywhere.

And people spend that they’ve over the years have spent a lot of money.

on the latest coolest thing just so that you know it looked like it looked great in front of their CEO

The reality of it, is is it looks better when you’re solving a problem and doing effectively and just make sure that you’re not buying into something for the sake of.

Of the term so to speak.

yeah, I would I would my

my violent of agreement with with that Jeff would sound something like.

We’ve been talking about data and technology for the better part of.

Last couple decades in some way shape or form.

And I think we would all agree that like.

The reality or the promise of that is still largely unrealised right. There’s still a lot of potential particularly in Healthcare



in many ways it’s because it’s hard.

It’s Complicated

and I think

the good side of AI

is it maybe simplifies some of the things that are?

laborious or tedious or difficult

But it doesn’t.

It doesn’t create data that doesn’t exist per se.

And so that in some ways.

If we’ve been struggling with omni channel or even struggling with this or struggling with that.

because of the discipline and Investment requires like

Hey, I doesn’t necessarily make all that go away.

it may be

helps Usher us along and and signals a certain readiness in certain areas.

but it’s still me like

The fundamental still exists like the data is still the data. We have to understand how to use it we still have to collect it.

we still have to kind of

there are no

per se easy shortcuts.

That make it.

You know easy button clickable.

Yeah, I think we still we still have to really understand that the data that we’re collecting the data that we’re using.

What that means?

and the decisions that were the recommendations we get out of AI

what we can trust them for and and and what we can’t.

Yeah, it reminds me of one that came up on the panel. Where people are talking about like you’re not going to lose your job because the AI but your job is going to change and

those principles in those techniques that you still use are going to be supercharged now and you have to learn how it’s going to fit into your workflow and everything but it’s not going to be the sole reason you’re only going to lose your job they AI if you don’t adapt with the technology and it overtakes you.

So right, I think you’re exactly right one of the things I mean.


technology is continued.

to do

particularly in our space and marketing and advertising.

Is that it doesn’t necessarily?

Because we can do more faster. It doesn’t mean we work less.

Yeah, it means what we’re able to do is often iterate more quickly and we’re able to explore variations and avenues.

More quickly or more of them than we could have before.

or we can

Back to your point about kind of techno empathy we can make.


more relevant experiences or more personalized experiences more often.

More quickly and more affordably than we could have.


excellent well, I appreciate you both being on the show here. We’ve covered a lot of ground in terms of living brands, but also just the broader marketing ecosystem, so I appreciate and hope we get to have another conversation somewhere down the line.

Absolutely thanks for having us. Yeah. Thanks so much really appreciate it.