CASE STUDY: Media, social media and communications strategy for Impromy program.
Australian biotechnology firm, Probiotec Limited, is a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals, complementary medicines and specialty ingredients. Established in 1997, the company listed on the ASX in 2006 and continues to expand through organic growth, strategic acquisitions and joint ventures. Probiotec is a market leader in weight loss and meal replacement products with a range of brands suited to different audiences.
“Ellis Jones impressed us from our first meeting, by immediately seeing the wider scope and potential of the Impromy program and working with us to develop a strategy to help the brand achieve its health and wellbeing goals and maximise its commercial potential. Since then Ellis Jones have taken a hands-on approach and worked on a wide range of communications activities, ranging from developing tools to empower pharmacists in their local communities to working with national media outlets to engage the Australian public.”
– Dusty Stringer, General Manager – Sales & Marketing, Probiotec
The Social Challenge
The rate of obesity is now considered at epidemic proportions in Australia, with two thirds of adults considered overweight or obese. To address this, Probiotec, with the CSIRO, developed Impromy – a holistic health improvement and weight loss program. Available nationally through local pharmacies, the program supports individuals to achieve safe and effective weight loss; and by providing aggregated participant data back to the CSIRO, also directly contributes to improving research in this field.
A classic example of shared value creation, Probiotec is using traditional business methods to tackle one of Australia’s greatest social challenges today.
The Market Entry challenge
In August 2014, our challenge was to launch Impromy into the over-saturated weight loss market through mainstream media coverage, and support ongoing program awareness with broader communications strategy, using a variety of tools.
A particular challenge was to gain mainstream media coverage, with journalists and producers distrusting of and uninterested in a new commercial product that could be another weight loss ‘fad’. Additionally, consumers feel skeptical and confused by the many poorly differentiated products on the market.
We approached the brief comprehensively, first identifying the key differentiating factors of Impromy against the many other products on the market: evidence-based approach to sustained weight loss, continuous improvement by CSIRO, direct link to reduction of health risk factors (like blood glucose, cholesterol) and personalised local pharmacy support.
Our approach to strategic engagement focused on brand awareness, consumer advocacy, pharmacy empowerment and credibility.
In order to overcome the challenge of journalists and producers dismissing Impromy as ‘just another weight loss product’, we distributed media releases amplifying the products key differentiating factors, and developed relationships with media contacts based on genuine discussions about the social challenge of obesity. Stories and testimonials were used to ensure that authentic consumer voices were captured, and the credible voice of spokesperson Professor Manny Noakes from CSIRO was amplified.
Following initial mainstream media coverage, social media was used to retain and engage Impromy’s growing membership base and supporters.
Impromy key messages were applied to the content pillars of people and expertise, knowledge share, numbers, history and community, to develop rich and engaging content that not only informs program members, but develops a supportive online community.
To actively build the competencies of member pharmacies, giving them the tools to acquire and retain Impromy members and build their local referrer networks, we designed and developed the Impromy Consultants Hub.
The hub is an easy-to-search archive for Impromy consultants including updates, tips, tools and advice. The tool maximises efficiency for Impromy by empowering pharmacists to drive results.
- Enews: We designed and continuously deliver a monthly eNews to all Impromy member pharmacies, linking them to the rich resources in the Consultants Hub.
- Video testimonial: To amplify authentic consumer voices, we develop testimonial videos distributed via the Consultants Hub, the public Impromy website, and social media.
- The Six Month Report: Six months after the launch of the program, we designed a report which included results, trends and insights, and continued to increase the program’s credibility.
- Infographics: The creative team at Ellis Jones designed two posters, delivered monthly to member pharmacies via eNews. The Results poster empowers pharmacists to create awareness of the programs success among their networks, and The Dashboard poster drives intra-pharmacy competition by displaying the top performing pharmacies.
We worked closely with Probiotec to capitalise on growing member data, and continuously innovated to achieve our objectives.
(1) Gain media coverage to raise awareness of the Impromy program
- A Current Affair reached 1,026,000 people. Sunrise reached 363,000 people. In total 1,389,000 people were reached in one week.
- Visits to the Impromy website more than tripled between July and August 2014. In August 2014 alone, there were 30,905 visits to the Impromy website.
(2) Drive potential customers to book a consultation at a participating pharmacy
- In August 2014, there were zero members. By June 2015, there were over 18,000 Impromy members.
(3) Position Impromy as credible, grounded in science, actively linked to health and easily accessible via local pharmacies
Key messages were delivered via selected channels. For example, the story on ‘A Current Affair’ incorporated the following statements (see video below):
- Narrator: “A new holistic approach, with face-to-face consultations with specially trained experts to check and guide you.”
- Professor Manny Noakes: “People see very immediate changes to their blood pressure and blood cholesterol, even in the first couple of weeks.”
(4) Empower pharmacists to create awareness among local referrer networks
- By June 2015, five issues of the pharmacy eNews had been distributed to all 300 member pharmacies, with an average 49.1 per cent open rate and 34.7 per cent click rate.
(5) Build a consumer advocate network
- Today on Facebook, Impromy has 2,760 page likers and an active community of supporters who comment, like and share posts regularly.