The pharmaceutical industry and the FDA have entered the realm of digital media very slowly and cautiously. Three companies that I know of now have YouTube channels – Abbott, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson. Of the three, Johnson & Johnson has been the most active in posting videos while the other two still seem to be figuring out their approach to this. Abbott has also employed Facebook in its Labs Are Vital Facebook Scholarship program. But clearly, with the J&J Blog JNJBTW and the YouTube presence as well as use of Facebook with the launch of ADHD Moms Facebook page, which is innovative, if not a little too static – J&J is arguably the most prominent trailblazer in digital media and is executing a broad digital strategy it would appear, rather than one-off attempts at dipping in a toe. That said, they still aren’t very good about online editorial outreach (OEO), but then not many people are. (Not long ago, a major public relations firm sent me an outreach pitch about the launch of a chocolate product in the hopes that I would post about it.)
In any case, today, J&J has launched a new Facebook presence with VISTAKON®, part of the J&J empire and maker of ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses, today announced the launch of ACUMINDER™ . This from the press release:
ACUMINDER™ was introduced last year as a complimentary online service designed to help improve contact lens compliance and eye health for the nation’s 38 million contact lens wearers. Now available as a Facebook application, ACUMINDER™ users can receive reminder messages via e-mail and/or alerts in their Facebook newsfeed. In addition to helping consumers with contact lens compliance to help avoid potential eye health complications, ACUMINDER™ Facebook reminders can pertain to just about anything, including taking daily medications, doctors’ visits, work deadlines, important social events and more. Reminders also can easily be sent to other Facebook users
Contact lens wearers who do not use Facebook can still register for the free service at www.acuminder.com and elect to receive an automatic reminder about changing or ordering new contact lenses via e-mail, cell phone text message, and/or a computer desktop prompt.
This might be seen by some as risky, especially if a problem emerged with contact lens use. In fact, the FDA has an entire set of resources for contact lens wearers to help make decisions about which lens makes sense, etc. But I would argue that by engaging the digital community so completely, J&J is poised to communicate more effectively and efficiently with consumers during any possible crisis as they move into a more interactive level of communication than they could with a plain old Web site. Plus, the move engenders the trust of consumers and brings the brand closer to them.
One last smart thing they are beginning to do. They are integrating their communications approach digitally speaking. The blog carries news of the Facebook developments and the players of each are moving amongst each of the media. Advice on the YouTube channel may also appear on the blog. It is only a matter of time, I think, before J&J begins to twitter as well. It is, after all, much faster than a press release. And there are a few media outlets now following me on Twitter.
For those slower to move into this space, speed up. You are behind. For those in it, start figuring out what you are going to do – develop a strategy (let me help you even!). And for those too reluctant to try, go home and watch your black and white television and ponder retirement.