One Size Does NOT Fit All

One Size Does NOT Fit All

 In Advocacy Relations, Stakeholder Engagement

Picture this – your company just implemented an enormously successful breast cancer awareness program in the United States.  Your leadership team is so thrilled they’ve asked you to replicate the program in Japan.  You translate the program materials; send the program resources to a colleague across the globe and wait for news of another successful program.  Not so fast.

In any patient communications effort, it is critically important to tailor your program or initiative to the people you are trying to reach.  We continue to see the advocacy landscape ever-changing from country to country and across various disease states.  You should never underestimate the power of knowing your audience.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work to reach patients around the world:

  • Don’t Get Lost in Translation
    Translation is more than swapping words in one language for another.  It’s easy for the true meaning of taglines, program titles or other materials to get lost in translation.  When translating program materials, make sure you work with someone who is fluent in the language so that you are accurately communicating about your effort.
  • Understand Cultural Nuances
    Every country has its own social norms, business protocols and etiquette.  If you truly want to make an impact, it is important to recognize the cultural nuances of different countries.  The breast cancer awareness campaign you implemented in the U.S. is likely to resonate very differently with the audience you are trying to reach in Japan.  Understanding the customs of your audience is critical to implementing a successful program.
  • Know the Rules of Engagement
    Keep in mind that there are numerous laws and guidelines that vary from country to country, which impact the engagement and information exchange between Industry, advocacy groups and the patient community.  Be sure you fully understand all of the regional nuances before engaging with the advocacy community.
  • Find a Happy Medium
    Different cultures use different modes of communications.   While it might make sense to communicate with an audience in one market with social media and digital applications, you may make a bigger impact in another market communicating through key opinion leaders, doctors or nurses.  Be cognizant of finding the right communications medium to reach your target audience.

The key takeaway to remember is that one size does not fit all when implementing advocacy programs around the world.  Yet with a thoughtful, strategic and tailored approach, your organization can reach audiences around the globe in a very meaningful way.