What Can Pharma Learn From J&J and Sanofi About Reaching Millennials?

In a year when Millennials are projected to compose the majority of the workforce and overtake Baby Boomers as the largest living population, it’s time that healthcare brands start to look at them with an unbiased eye—an eye that looks to them as a demographic that will help drive us into the future. But what is the best way to reach this demographic? It starts by taking a look at the brands that are succeeding with Millennials already and understanding their winning strategies.

To understand what attracts Millennials to particular brands, GSW, Allidura Consumer and Harris Poll teamed up in 2014 to step inside the mindset of the coveted Millennial generation. We uncovered Millennial attitudes on healthcare and dug into what they are doing to avoid traditional models of care. Our initial report, “Millennial Mindset: The Worried Well,” dove deep into the comparative data from Harris Poll. We were able to gain valuable insights from cross-analyzing the different desires and attitudes of Millennials with those of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

This year, we wanted to release a report that delved into more actionable strategies. We wanted to establish the principles that make certain brands successful with this generation and show how other brands can leverage those same principles to empower their own brands. The 2015 report, “Millennial Mindset: Engaging the Worried Well,” outlines those core strategies. In addition, we built seven Millennial maxims to evaluate seven brands that are achieving Millennial success in each area. A broad range of health and wellness companies fit with our criteria—brands such as Greatist, a fact-checked health and wellness website, and pharmaceutical giants such as Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.

From research conducted with Harris Poll, we found that Millennials believe in promoting social good and making an impact. And they want brands to do the same. In fact, 64% of Millennials say that being active in social causes such as volunteering or donating is important to them. And this social good doesn’t necessarily mean that a brand has to become the TOMS shoes of pharma and begin donating half of their profits to charitable organizations. But it does mean offering solutions that help to promote innovative ways to attack the daily challenges of creating a healthier and more well-educated life for themselves and ultimately society as a whole. It means taking action where and when others aren’t.

What Pharma Companies Are Already Doing Right

Johnson & Johnson understands the new pressures facing Millennials entering their adult and parental years and their changing expectations. Johnson & Johnson is a longtime supporter of organizations that enforce their passions for healthy living. They have direct call to actions that emphasize the human impact of their products and specifically target Millennial moms and dads. A particularly salient topic when trying to speak to the 69% of Millennials who say their personal health causes them to stress and the 44% of Millennials who say they pay much more attention to other people’s health (e.g., my parents/my kids) than they do their own. Johnson & Johnson’s social media campaigns consistently show that they care about the quality of the ingredients used in their products and the human impact.

In 2013, Johnson & Johnson joined (RED) in a campaign that donated $1 (up to $100,000) to the Global Fund to fight AIDS every time someone shared, tweeted or pinned an infographic designed to spread the word about the crisis. And for more than 25 years, Johnson & Johnson has been a partner of Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to protect kids from unintentional injuries (the No. 1 cause of death for healthy children in U.S.)

Johnson & Johnson is also home to a wide variety of health and wellness products. Their OneTouch Ping product is a cutting-edge insulin pump that is able to wirelessly communicate with a blood glucose meter remote. This wireless connection allows for insulin delivery without ever touching the pump at all. Products such as the OneTouch Ping provide Millennials with the freedom to manage their own health conditions.

Sanofi is another pharmaceutical innovator that is captivating Millennials’ attentions by offering digital experiences that help make managing a chronic disease less intimidating and less time consuming. The Dx (Diabetes Experience) is one Sanofi program that speaks to the changing Millennial needs. This online hub serves them content and a context. The content provides users useful advice on everything from how to plan for a camping trip with diabetes to how to keep stress levels low. These simple advice offerings are perfect for the overly stressed Millennial generation.

Three Tips For Engaging Millennials

What can pharma learn from all of the brands and strategies we have outlined in our report? Here are three simple tips:

  • Pharmaceutical companies are in a unique and influential position to help Millennials deal with and manage chronic diseases. The idea of balance is essential. Millennials want balance in the amount and types of messaging that they are exposed to. And they crave balance in regards to how they manage their own health and personal well-being through everything from dietary choices to exercises.
  • This already distrusting audience of fact-checkers is looking for a story behind the label or brand. Their distrust in celebrity endorsement shows that they demand authenticity. Bringing consistent brand transparency through reminding your customers where your brand is rooted will help build brands that Millennials are able trust and understand.
  • Understanding this generation’s pressures and new health challenges is essential to creating intriguing campaigns and establishing successful communication. By using platforms and channels that are native to Millennials, brands can leverage the digital technology that Millennials have grown accustomed to and turn to when they are feeling stressed.

To engage with Millennials, it is important to know and understand them. In our first report, we sussed out their attitudes and behaviors regarding healthcare. With this latest entry in the series of Millennial reports, we now have the maxims and models for successfully reaching this group.

  • Zach Gerber

    Zach Gerber is an innovation strategist at GSW Advertising, an inVentiv Health company. Zach is a thought leader, trend watcher and marketing professional. His areas of focus are social media marketing and brand strategy. His work with the innovation team at GSW helps to uncover what is changing as a proactive effort to provide clients with a sense of “what could be.”


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