April 2nd – 3rd, GLOBALHealth PR agency heads, including Spectrum’s CEO and Chair of GLOBALHealthPR John Seng, met for the annual face-to-face planning meeting. Here is John’s take on the trip.
I visited Italy with my colleague Rosalba Cano for the 8th Annual General Meeting of our GLOBALHealthPR partners, and hardly two days after the meeting ended in Venice, the earthquake struck the town of L’Aquila, which is much closer to Rome. (Martin Slater, the president of our Italy partner firm Noesis, suggested the Italian Red Cross among reliable relief organizations for readers interested in supporting assistance efforts.)
From Japan to the US to Latin America and throughout Europe, our partners connected to discuss our individual company performances for 2008, our prospects for 2009 and beyond, and to take a closer look at the different pharmaceutical approval and marketing regulatory environments for each of the 10 markets covered by GLOBALHealthPR worldwide.
For readers who don’t know, GLOBALHealthPR is the largest health-focused network of independent public relations firms that collaborate on an international basis. Spectrum Washington is the network’s headquarters.
I co-founded the organization in 2001, incorporated in the UK, and have served as chair for three years. A native of Mexico, Rosalba works closely and expertly with our team in Washington to coordinate all network services and marketing aspects.
In Venice, we were particularly excited to welcome two new partners, – PR Partners of Mexico and Tino – Projetos em Comunicação of Brazil. These two agencies join what I truly believe are best-in-class firms specializing in health care from Argentina, Spain, France, UK, Germany, Japan, and of course, Italy and the U.S.
Inspired by the winding canals of Venice, we adopted “Navigating the Challenges, Delivering the Opportunities” as our theme, which in reality spoke more to how the GLOBALHealthPR partners plan to compete successfully on behalf of clients and our own businesses in the face of the full-blow worldwide recession. Happily, each firm gave realistic yet positive overviews of the challenges in each market, and nevertheless, cautiously optimistic forecasts for pharmaceutical marketing communications needs.
A common trend across all international markets was the need for continued education about major disease states, and the opportunity to help global scale health industry and patient advocacy organizations develop overarching strategies as well as offer practical, in-market media knowhow that our competitors claim but really don’t deliver. (We know because many of our agency principals, including yours truly, have worked for the big-name PR firms.) This communications savvy applies increasingly in the digital media zone.
We also reviewed the new GLOBALHealthPR web site, as well as the all-new, second edition of The Global Guide to Pharma Marketing Codes, an easy-to-use reference to help international product management teams avoid costly and embarrassing Rx marketing communications faux pas.
We closed with a commitment to work more closely together in networking with clients in common such as Pfizer, Merck, AstraZeneca and Lilly, and reaching out to prospective clients to communicate what we know we can offer in terms of superior value due to our independent nature and commitment to health care. Hence, our tagline “A Better Way.” Watch this space on a regular basis, and I’ll keep you updated.
Finally, again our sympathies, prayers and sentiments go out to our friends in Italy as their fellow countrymen begin rebuild their lives and worlds amid too much sorrow this past week.