Facing a climate of substantial health care policy change and reputational challenges, the biopharmaceutical industry’s national trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and its member companies sought an advocacy solution to convey the industry’s value and commitment to positive change in health care policy through its member company employees.
To address these challenges, 720 Strategies developed and continues to implement an integrated advocacy and communications program called We Work For Health (WWFH) – a grassroots initiative that unites health consumers, pharmaceutical company employees and retirees, vendors, suppliers and other partners to demonstrate how these diverse groups work together to deliver life-saving, life-enhancing advancements in medicine, while also serving as a driving force for our nation’s economy.
As the first initiative in PhRMA’s history to secure the approval of member companies to directly engage their employees in a cohesive, industry-sponsored grassroots program, WWFH aims to help advance policies that promote medical innovation in the U.S.
What started as a pilot program in three states in 2008 has expanded to include 14 states in 2015. WWFH has flourished into an alliance of biopharmaceutical employees, retirees, vendors, suppliers and other local business groups, labor unions, concerned patients and academic and community partners who share the common goal of preserving medical innovation in the country.
These include interactive and expandable maps, video, social media (Twitter feeds), an RSS feed with scrolling news “ticker,” site and event registration tools, branded HTML email and messaging platforms, coalition partner areas with co-branding available, search and integrated advocacy tools.
These features not only optimize the site for placement on search engines by featuring up-to-the-minute news, but also provide a robust user experience and access to cutting-edge advocacy technologies, which assist WWFH in recruitment and in transforming advocates into trained speakers for the biopharmaceutical industry.
Established to engage biopharmaceutical scientists and researchers across the country to join together to help advance the industry, the Science Ambassadors program is a multifaceted approach to communicating PhRMA’s medical innovation agenda within local communities and with Members of Congress.
The program leverages ambassadors’ extensive research and development experience in helping to shape the dialogue about the role and value of medical innovation in bettering health care in the U.S. and around the world – not only on the innovation of new medicines, but on the industry’s commitment and contribution to overall health and well-being. The program includes a dedicated website with congressional contact capability, as well as a speaker’s bureau of research scientists who carry the industry’s message in their local community. These communications reinforce PhRMA’s commitment to promote access to health care and prescription drugs, encourage prevention and healthier living, and innovations that help families live longer, healthier lives.
In addition to providing dedicated sections to the campaign’s state-based activities accessible through the interactive map, the WWFH web presence also includes a .TV site, WWFH.TV, which acts as a library for the campaign’s catalogue of digital media resources, hosting videos, pictures and on-demand training webinars. All WWFH campaign websites, WeWorkForHealth.org, WeVoteForHealth.org and WWFH.TV seamlessly link to the campaign’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.
The WWFH Issue Lab includes advocacy training resources to enable supporters to learn everything they need to know about issues impacting their industry, as well as tools for becoming more effective grassroots advocates. Downloadable resources include issue backgrounders and frequently asked questions, training webinars, podcasts, videos and more. The Issue Lab has helped define the WWFH online experience by helping to mold hundreds of ambassadors for the industry and produce thousands of supporters for WWFH campaign initiatives.
720 Strategies developed a customized mapping tool to help illustrate the biopharmaceutical industry’s reach into key states and markets across the country. The online tool features downloadable maps that provide a district-by-district glimpse into target markets, offering the number of vendor relationships and the total expenditures to those companies generated by the biopharmaceutical industry. The maps are useful in advocate interactions with state and federal lawmakers for communicating the positive economic impact the industry has on a legislator’s district and state.
We transformed WeWorkForHealth.org’s dynamic design features into a mobile-ready web presence that’s an equally engaging, valuable user experience for the advocate-on-the-go. The mobile-ready site provides all of the core functionality requirements contained in the WWFH website, enabling the campaign’s disparate audiences across the country to have access to outreach, education and training resources at any time, from anywhere on any device.
As the first program that directly engages PhRMA member company employees in grassroots opportunities, the WWFH program has reached tens of thousands of employees in grassroots opportunities. Among these, “Pizza & Politics” offers informal, on-the-ground events at member company facilities to educate supporters on political issues and engage them in the debate on public policy that affects their company, their industry and the people they serve. With a small investment in time and food, member companies can get greater participation and engagement in WWFH at their own offices, while offering tips and tactics for deepening involvement in the civic process for the betterment of the industry
We combined state-of-the-art web monitoring technology with expert analysis and grassroots organizing know-how to provide WWFH with the actionable intelligence needed to advance its brand and agenda through the power of peer-to-peer communications. Our services encompassed monitoring online conversational data by creating a customized “watch list” (using key words, websites, authors, etc.) and generating alerts within 24 hours of postings; analyzing and categorizing information collected online and distributed through an RSS feed; and providing recommendations on how to proceed. In short, we built a system that provided a comprehensive view of the online conversation along with a reputational to-do list, to contribute to the informed and responsible shaping of public opinion.
WWFH has successfully met the business challenge to build a dialogue between employees, policymakers and the public regarding the advancement of medical innovation in our country. By acknowledging the challenges America faces and giving employees the training to engage their lawmakers and their communities in a positive, honest dialogue, WWFH is utilizing its employees as important, relevant frontline ambassadors, delivering the industry’s message to the community and to members of Congress.
To date, the WWFH program has been successful in:
Securing the participation of 32 PhRMA member companies
Engaging more than 30,000 biopharmaceutical employees, vendors and suppliers, and community stakeholders in online and offline grassroots opportunities
Registering approximately 10,000 activists for online engagement
Generating more than 250,000 communications to lawmakers
Conducting approximately 30 webinars and conference calls to train activists
Holding more than 75 “pizza and politics” educational events at member company facilities in targeted states
Developing a mobile platform that provides campaign ally sales teams – as well as Science Ambassadors participating in Washington, DC, advocacy fly-in events – with critical information, breaking news and talking points about key challenges facing the industry, which can be leveraged to communicate with members of Congress, the media, the medical community and the general public.
The We Work For Health program provides a framework for any trade association that has been unsuccessful in securing executive buy-in for direct contact with member company employees, especially those industries facing significant legislative or reputational challenges. The program enhances the value of the company’s association membership. Further, WWFH has been designed to be completely customizable on a state-, member company- or community-specific basis, personalized to the advocate and managed on an integrated online and offline basis.