Cannes, France – It’s a ghost!

White on yellow backdrop – Snapchat. The main screen at the Lions Health Festival at Cannes showed the newest player in the fast-changing world of social media healthcare communications: social media interactions with measurable KPIs.

For years, the healthcare industry has ignored the importance of social media in their audience’s lives. Today at Cannes there were hardly any presentations that didn’t mention KPIs and social interactions.

Here were a few of the areas where we saw social playing a critical role:

Organ donation: The NHS is partnering with Tinder, a social network more famous for mating that for public health topics, in order to create awareness for the importance of organ donations. Tinder executive strategist Agnes Gomes-Koizumi expects this to not only to help the NHS, “We have to think about our brand equity.”

Selling Condoms (technically a medical device): Jeyan Heper, President at Ansell and head of the global condom brand SKYN, stopped generating content himself. His campaigns build the framework for users and customers to create their own perspective, thus creating 12.5 million interactions in 7 markets and increasing market share by 20%. His guideline to success: “Spend your money where they spend their time.”

Polio eradication: 17 infections have been recorded globally last year and the only way to finally eradicate the disease is groundwork under life threatening conditions. The solution for UNICEF speaker Sherine Guirguis is communication, in a very personal and direct way. Creating trust, she said, is based on single interactions with families, one by one. And it is about putting local communities in the center.

Science communications: Hashem Al-Ghaili, Facebook science film maker, breaks the rule of showcasing people in order to create emotions. On his Facebook page Science Nature Page he generates 10 million views for topics like “cleaning dental cavities.” His hint: “Show technology people are interested in” and generate millions of views.

Advocacy and support: “You’re accepted” uses a Facebook app to support young homosexuals. In Australia they have reached 67% of their audience, generated 1.1 million messages of support and counting. In Singapore, Oogachaga uses snapchat as a successful way to answer questions no one dares to ask in a discrete way – the answer vanishes within 3 seconds.

There is a big change going on in the industry. Those who are not following their users into the social space are at risk to loose attention, loose their voice and become neglected. But entering the social space changes the nature of communication. As per the speakers opinion’s, it is no longer about message delivery in different channels. It is about creating meaningful interactions in both ways. And accepting consumers as communication partners with their own voice.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.