Robert French, instructor of public relations and multimedia at Auburn University in Alabama, posted a good overview of GlaxoSmithKline's decision to “deputize” its 8,000 sales representatives as “public relations ambassadors” to counteract the negative perceptions of the pharmaceutical industry.
There is also a comprehensive article in the February 2006 issue of Medical Marketing and Media magazine the intitiative, which was piloted in Missouri last September and resulted in a 50 percent increase to the 800 number with 91 percent of patients matched up to a discount or patient's assistance program
I like how Robert reminds us of how this initiative is similar to having a very large-scale speakers bureau. The comments on his post are also very interesting.
Some of the others that writen about this topic include:
- Katie Payne's PR Measurement
- Colin McKay of Canuckflack
- Paul Holmes at the Holmes Report Blog
- Neville and Shel in the Hobson and Holtz Report Podcast
- Regina Miller's HR's Brand New Experience
- Kami Huyse, at the new PRSA San Antonio:Byline Blog
The concerns across the board seem to be what we don't know: adequate training, buy-in from a volunteer force (versus paying the speakers), how Glaxo will measure success and the question, “why not start a blog?”
To which I will remind folks that Fredrik Wackå reported last summer that GlaxoSmithKline IS blogging. However, the blog is in French. So, si vous parlez le français, check it out. The site seems pretty active.