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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This year’s PMCQ season packs a punch!

The first meeting of the 2014-2015 PMCQ season deviated from the formal, sit-down meal format. Instead, the attendees experienced a stand up cocktail networking event combined with an energetic, short and sharp, thought-provoking talk by Justin Kingsley. Cynthia Queano, the president of the PMCQ, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and introducing Justin Kingsley. Justin is a writer, publisher, former press secretary, strategist and creative director, just to name a few of his many achievements. Most recently, he co-authored a New York Times bestseller “The Way of the Fight”, an autobiography of Georges St. Pierre (GSP), an Ultimate Fighting Championship world champion.

Justin began his very dynamic presentation claiming he’s someone who likes to have ideas that are “out of your mind” and scare his clients, because he believes that such ideas can become great ones: “Everything I do is about finding the right way to tell the best story.” He felt that the pharmaceutical industry has an opportunity to rebrand itself with the public. The industry creates products that live inside peoples’ blood, but that’s not what we talk about – we talk about the money that the industry makes and “selling pills”.

He quoted from the novel “The Naked and the Dead” by Norman Mailer, as he felt that it holds the secret to every communications campaign that will ever be done. The secret is this: you have to know what you’re fighting against in order to put together an effective campaign. By figuring out the “enemy”, you can figure out the right story to tell, but you can also empower other people to tell the story for you. For example, the pharmaceutical industry makes products that save peoples’ lives or make their lives better, so patients and their families can tell that story.

He related this concept to his own experience of how he and his team helped create a brand identity and communication strategy for GSP. Together, they figured out how to make him into the best known Canadian athlete of all time by knowing who the enemy was and branding GSP accordingly. Justin said that real creativity comes from working “inside the box” where once you determine the rules and parameters, you are free to create the story to ‘fight the enemy’ and be successful in winning.

In order to understand how to reach GSP fans, Justin and his team did market research with over 3000 people who knew about mixed martial arts, other sports and also pop culture. By speaking with them, he figured out the best way to “tell them the story” of GSP. The “enemy” in the case of GSP was the image of his sport. The public perceived it as a bloody and violent sport and this was the stigma that they were fighting against. Justin had to show people what GSP was like outside of the fighting ring.

In Justin’s mind this wasn’t hard to do: GSP is a “new kind of Renaissance man” who is genuinely a nice guy, but is also the most advanced and intimidating martial arts fighter. This was displayed in the NOS energy drink video that GSP did as part of a series released before his return fight. The goal was not to offend his core fighting fans, but to tell the story about GSP: his smile and gentle personality as well as his training, how he prepares for fights and his dedication to the sport.

A second video was played that was done to build the GSP brand. It was for Google Nexus, where GSP played the character of the gentle and caring “Dr. Paul” fighting ninjas who wanted his Google Nexus. Justin explained that every element of the ad was designed to have a little bit of storytelling for every fan segment that they wanted to address. For example, all the martial art techniques used in the ad were genuine ones to appeal to the fight fans, the poster on the wall had a message for other fans and the way the screen was shot was a throw-back to 1970s Hong Kong fighting movies. GSP was the first fighter in the history of Google to obtain a deal with them. No other fighter has broken these barriers. With the right storytelling, Justin and his team were able to break the stigma all the while staying true to their core, expanding the GSP fan base, sky rocketing his social media followers and yet making sure they didn’t hurt the existing product, which was GSP.

As a result of this branding and storytelling, GSP has become one of the most popular athletes in the world. Justin said, “None of it would have been possible if we didn’t know what we were fighting against.” He concluded by saying that the pharmaceutical industry needs to ask itself the real question, which is: what is the perception of the industry that we are fighting against and what’s the best way to tell the real story of what we do? Yes, it costs money to make our products, but without these products, our lives wouldn’t be as good or as healthy.

Cynthia took to the stage again to formally kickoff the 2014-2015 PMCQ season by reminding us all of the pillars of the PMCQ: education and social. Highlighting that the climate has changed, the PMCQ’s membership has expanded to include people from outside marketing and that the PMCQ remains ‘Your premier partner for education, career development and networking.” The PMCQ want to revitalize the social networking benefit of the Club, demonstrated by this evening’s meeting with the last hour open for networking among the attendees but also to continue the strong educational component provided by the Club. Introducing the robust 2014-2015 line-up of educational events, Cynthia added that there would also be opportunities for educational discounts with a PMCQ membership. Currently, members can receive 10% off an upcoming PAAB workshop and there will be more announced throughout the year. In closing, with what was a great start to the new PMCQ year, Cynthia encouraged all the attendees to be involved, to join their community and to come and rediscover the PMCQ.

PMCQ 2014-2015 Educational Calendar

21 October, 2014 Overcoming hurdles in a digital world
18 November, 2014 Move your career forward
28 January, 2015 Why patient-centricity & profit are not mutually exclusive
17 February, 2015 Do you have the right commercial model?
25 March, 2015 The power of emotion in marketing: What can we learn from other industries
21 April, 2015 PCPA 2.0 …now what?
May, 2015 Leadership debate

Lara Holmes
Medical Writer
Email: lholmes@videotron.ca
Phone: 514-425-4977
Pharma411

Upcoming meeting

Have a great summer and see you in September.