The benefits of building trust within your company are well known – loyal customers, happier employees, and a stronger talent pool, just to name a few. But with evolving media parameters, growing social movements, and the looming threat of viral misinformation, reputation management for health companies is more complex than ever.  

During a recent PRWeek Health conference, I moderated a panel of industry experts to discuss real-world solutions: Courtney Kasinger, Senior Director, Diabetes and Obesity Communications, Lilly; Shreya Jani, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, BeiGene; and Mark Durney, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital and Innovation, Porter Novelli. Here are some key insights that can help you safeguard and enhance your organization’s reputation right now. 

  • Employees are your best ambassadors. 

Reputation is built from the inside out, and internal communication that goes beyond just keeping employees informed is an essential and cost-effective tool.  

“Organizations are now staffed with generations who’ve been on social media for all or most of their lives,” Durney said. “Whether they’re active on a major platform or are an influencer in their free time, their ownership of the workplace’s reputation presents a huge opportunity.” 

Lilly, which makes products central to the red-hot weight loss conversation, has tapped their 40,000 employees worldwide to help ensure accurate information about their medicines and keep the conversation focused on health. 

  • Use a multi-faceted, real-time approach with audiences. 

In the face of shrinking newsrooms, disseminating messages and reaching intended targets continues to change. Doctors are often more likely to trust peers in their field than some institutions or even scientists. People living with disease tend to rely on patient advocates who have gone through similar experiences. There are many credible voices that we can reach and partner with, from physicians to patients to policymakers. 

With the instantaneous nature of social media and the potential for misinformation to spread quickly, however, health companies need to be prepared to act fast – especially important in a year where 64 countries are holding elections. 

Both BeiGene and Lilly have established dedicated teams and processes to monitor various channels, including social media, traditional media, and even personal messages to executives, to stay ahead of emerging issues. As Kasinger said, “We don’t have the luxury of putting together a meeting in three months to address an issue that’s blowing up on social media right now.” 

  • Explore AI to increase efficiency. 

Amid so many challenges presented by the online environment, integrating AI can help you cut through the clutter more quickly. 

“We’re as good as the content and the data and the analytics we have at any moment,” said Jani. “If there’s a way to harness what’s happening in the external environment, synthesize it quickly, and apply it to developing strategies right away, we can be more effective as communicators.” 

Porter Novelli has proprietary AI-based tools that help create more personalized and engaging communications programs. For example, DecodeAI increases storytelling efficiency and relevance, and AI-powered OmniearnedID helps track audience exposure and engagement across platforms so we can understand where our messages are having the highest impact – and, potentially, help us drive treatment adoption or adherence.