Ok, so I don’t speak French. I speak German, but “Teil Zwei,” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Though I think French is a beautiful language and the French offer beautiful cuisine, the first food love of my life was German. My Oma (grandma) raised me with an affinity for all things pickled, potato, schnitzel, and for adding butter to everything, even to things it most likely shouldn’t be.
Ah, butter– the biggest reason that my families’ arteries are clogging one buttered cold cut bread piece at a time. Butter is also the reason that I began using MyFitnessPal. Working in healthcare, I am inundated each day with more studies extolling the benefits of preventative healthcare and though my health habits have taken quite a 180 since I was a wee one, I thought, “why not give one of these apps a try?”
After last week’s post, I was reminded that this type of health app poses an incredible engagement opportunity for pharmaceutical companies. Everyday that I scan a bar code of a salad I’m eating at lunch or entering my most recent Pilates work out, I think of all the untapped potential.
Gameification is currently leading the tactical PR world as the digital and physical worlds continue to converge. I recently attended a Gamification seminar during Social Media Week in NYC I think that pharmaceutical companies can gameify with health apps in a couple of ways:
- Creating apps for advocacy and educational campaigns: If a company is launching a new drug for heart disease, it has the opportunity to create its own app offering some kind of tracking system, healthy recipes and suggested safe exercises. The company can also provide safe use and efficacy monitoring information to help the patient stay on track and provide the best information possible of their progress to their doctor. The tracking piece of the app needs to incorporate some spirit of “gaming” with rewards and incentives a long the way to the main goal to ensure continued use.
- Informing existing health app content: Though this may not be as directly impacting as a self-created app, any opportunity to share messaging in the brand’s voice to draw attention to a specific disease space will ultimately benefit the company by inciting more discussion about it. Creators of apps are constantly looking to update content to keep users interested. Why not help by contributing it?
Though proving the ROI on word of mouth marketing and unbranded advocacy campaigns can be difficult to sell to company management, the benefits are lasting. If a company can establish its brand as the leading voice it indirectly encourages consumers and patients to speak with specific brand verbiage. Thus, potentially driving sales.
The other proof of ROI here is that you’re giving patients what they want. I think that today’s patient is searching for ways to support a medication regimen with a healthy routine.
The key here? People do not want to do it alone.
Organizations like Weight Watchers and “living-with-disease” support groups have seen the merit of social support and validation for years. Apps are capitalizing on this by making health social. For instance- as you can see in the above image- I’ve connected with a friend on MyFitnessPal. We comment on each other’s progress update, poke fun, but overall provide accountability and socialization to an otherwise not enjoyable task. The gameificaton here is that I am in a sense competing with my friend and we both get encouragement and rewards of small successes along the way to the main goal.
And hey, who doesn’t like games that we benefit from not only by”winning digitally, but by winning physically too?