Article: SXSW Unpacked for DHC Members with closerlook’s Liz Mitchell – March 2019

SXSW Unpacked for DHC Members

By Liz Mitchell, Director of Marketing, closerlook

At closerlook, we feel the best way for our agency and for our clients’ brands to stay competitive is to attend events like SXSW. We sought out sessions covering a range of topics including Digital Health, Blockchain, Empathetic and Interactive Storytelling, Diversity and Inclusion, AI, and Gamification. We gained new perspectives that will help us bring innovative ideas and out-of-the-box creativity and continued purpose to our work. Here are three main themes we took away from our week at SXSW.

  1. People and Patients Crave Real, Human Interaction
    With technological advancements of the modern age, meaningful human interactions are becoming rare. Of the SXSW sessions we attended, one stand out was The Future of Healthcare, Really. Within this session, studies displayed how patient outcomes improve when they have positive relationships with their HCP. Outside of healthcare, sessions like Generation Lonely and No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work reinforced the idea that when empathy is applied individuals are more likely to succeed. Even if it’s something as simple as pronouncing a new coworker’s name correctly, small meaningful moments can make a huge impact on an individual’s well being.
  2. Data + Strategy
    Collecting data is easy. Using data to inform decisions is more difficult. In the session The Science of Metrics, panelists discussed the discrepancy of what should be measured versus the strategy around why should we measure. Data should not be used to reaffirm knowledge, but to create insights that lead to breakthroughs. The session Designing Technology for Health explored rising numbers of obesity in the US and how tech companies have used this data to shift fundamental aspects of daily life. Pokémon Go was cited as a breakthrough approach by requiring physical activity in order for players to advance throughout the game. Data and strategy combined to result in groundbreaking innovations.
  3. Collaboration is Key
    Retail’s recent trend for collaboration was covered in the SXSW session How Streetwear Turns Hype Into $$$. Whether it’s Levi’s and 13 Witness or Adidas and Alexander Wang, retail has used partnerships to advance individual brands. So how does this translate to Pharma? As new molecules are developed that build on existing treatments, or as new classes of drugs enter the marketplace to treat familiar disease states, pharma marketers have an enormous opportunity to leverage the brand equity that already exists for products and brands that are more familiar to HCPs and patients. Whether it’s co-branding an older treatment and something newer to market or lending a manufacturer’s branding to an otherwise unbranded campaign, this collaboration allows pharma marketers to reap the benefits of the brand equity they have already built to grow acceptance and loyalty for new brands, versus starting from the ground up.