GlaxoSmithKine and Johnson & Johnson Launch Blogs


Two pharmaceutical companies joined the healthcare blogosphere conversation this month: GlaxoSmithKine - alliConnect and JNJBTW - Johnson and Johnson. The launch of these blogs, that differ vastly in tonality and focus, is a significant step in acknowledging the importance of social media in healthcare marketing. Or is it? Are they really in the game?

What first had me questioning was the lack of attention to branding on JNJBTW. Disappointing. J&J is famous for strategic marketing. However, the "skin" of JNJBTW lacks sophistication giving me the feeling that this blog might be a tentative step or perhaps an experiment. Examples - the link "About the authors" profiles one author not multiple authors. Nor is there a link to the parent company. These may seem like minor details but in social media success is in the details.

Sidebar: J&J has reached out to healthcare bloggers hosting dinners in NYC and at the Healthcare Blogging Summit in Las Vegas in March. Bloggy transparency, I attended the speaker's dinner in Vegas and enjoyed in-depth conversations with a couple of folks from J&J.

Although alliConnect is a stronger branded site (the logo is the masthead), I wondered about GSK's commitment to this initiative as well. Neither blog is linked from the parent company website. At least I couldn't find the page.  alliConnect isn't even linked from the brand website. So I ask GlaxoSmithKine and Johnson and Johnson what are your intentions? Is this a feel good let's be cool at the next stock holder's meeting or are you in the game?


Launch date: June 2, 2007
Focus: Weight loss product alliconnect and issues regarding weigh loss.
alliConnect is the official alli blog. It's a place for you to have a conversation with us about weight loss issues. Because we work for a drug company we do have to abide by a few rules

Tonality - Conversational
Transparency: Blogger Steve Burton shares an oops experience he had with alli.
Smart Moves: Invitation to alliFirst Team to post comments

Just the facts ..

Blogger/s: VP of weight control, brand manager, marketing director, attorney, consultant (Debbie Weil); photos of bloggers "conversational bios"
Blog Skin: alli logo used as header is the only branding element
Graphic elements: Posts include photos
Social media bookmarking: None
Comments: Open 
Trackbacks: Open
Blogroll: Yes, GlaxoSmithKine links only
Blog Search: Yes
Comments Policy is a good reflection of the overall tonality of the blog.

We will do our best to review and publish your comment within 24 hours.

We reserve the right to reject comments that contain profanity, are inflammatory or are otherwise inappropriate.  We will not publish opinions that are so far outside of mainstream science as to be misleading or confusing.  We will not permit comments to be disguised as sales pitches for other products or services.

Please share your stories and experiences with weight loss, as well as your opinions - even if they are critical of alli. However, please do not include your mailing address or phone number. The purpose of this blog is to stimulate discussion.

Legal Stuff
This blog is written by employees of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare who are authorized to speak on behalf of the company.

Our posts and answers to your comments reflect our company's point of view. They are based on the latest in science and what we've learned from talking to consumers.

When we offer personal points of views, or talk about our experience with alli, we'll make sure that's clear.

Johnsonjohnson_logo JNJBTW

Launch date: June 4, 2007
Focus: Corporate/company issues
JNJ BTW, there will be talk about Johnson & Johnson - what we are doing, how we are doing it and why.This is a big step for us as a company. Anyone working for a large corporation will appreciate that there are many internal limitations on what we say and how we say it.

Tonality - Formal
Smart Moves: RSS feed for comments

Just the facts ..

Blogger: Corporate communication media relations; no photo; "business bio"
Blog Skin: Johnson & Johnson logo used in subtitle is the only branding element
Graphic elements: Posts do include photos
Social media bookmarking: None
Comments: Open 
Trackbacks: Not indicated

Blogroll: Yes, Johnson & Johnson links only
Blog Search: Yes
Comment Policy is a good reflection of the overall tonality of the blog.

All comments will be reviewed before posting. Since this blog is about Johnson & Johnson, comments that don't directly relate to the Company or to topics covered on this blog won't be posted. That said, some comments may be forwarded to other people within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies for follow-up as appropriate.

We generally won't post comments about products that are sold by the Johnson & Johnson operating companies. Product questions should directed to the companies that sell them. A list of the products sold by our operating companies is available on the Johnson & Johnson website.

Please keep in mind that Johnson & Johnson and its operating companies work within highly regulated industries. Therefore, comments that pertain to ongoing legal matters or regulatory issues are unlikely to be posted. Further information about our policies concerning content ownership and privacy as well as our responsibility for the accuracy of comments posted to this site can be found in our Privacy and Legal Notice.

Sidebar: Sometimes the world spins strange synergies. Seems Marc Monseau, blogger for Johnson & Johnson wants to lose a few pounds. "After all, if I could lose a few pounds and reduce my cholesterol, I'm pretty sure that I would not only feel better but I would also reduce my risk of developing heart disease - a condition that plagues my family." Hmmm ... wonder if GSK's blogger relations strategy includes out reach to another pharma company (smile). How about a blogroll link exchange?

Read more from two prominent healthcare bloggers:

John Bell on alliConnect - This step forward into social media will be a huge leap for pharma. It is particularly valuable for this category but others will follow.

Fard Johnmar on JNJBTW - Based on Monseau’s opening post, I get the sense that he is going to be talking about some meaty and relevant issues. 

HHS Pandemic Leadership Blog - The Back-story


The Health and Human Services Department has taken an innovative social media approach to creating a conversation with the public about pandemic flu. The Pandemic Leadership Blog provides an opportunity to have an open conversation and shape the thinking about how to communicate the critical need for preparedness at home and within workplaces and communities.

16 business, healthcare, faith-based and community leaders were invited to particiapte in a five-week Blog Summit. I was delighted to see Nedra Klein Weinreich among the prestigious experts. Nedra brings a wealth of social marketing and social media marketing experience to the conversation. Her first post addresses both topics and ask critical questions including how to best use social media in times of a public healthcare crisis.

I was curious as to how and why HHS chose to use social media as part of its outreach. Nedra_weinreich_2 Nedra graciously explains some of the back-story and strategy behind the Pandemic Leadership Blog.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Who was behind the idea of using blogs to create a dialogue with the public about the pandemic flu?

Nedra Kline Weinreich: I’ve been impressed with the way HHS has been dipping its toe into the water with social media. I suspect that the team at Ogilvy, which has been working with HHS on getting the word out about pandemic flu preparedness, convinced the powers that be over there that blogs are a new way to engage their constituents and key advocates in a conversation about this issue.  There is already a lot going on in blogs and wikis related to pandemic flu information and discussions, so it makes sense to capitalize on this existing base of people to get the ball rolling. I know they are also hoping to engage people who are not already knowledgeable about the issue.

Toby/Diva Marketing: In addition to creativity, it takes a certain amount of courage to launch a public blog on any subject but the pandemic flu issue seems like it might be especially risky. How/where/why did the HSS find the chutzpah?

Nedra Kline Weinreich: You’re right that it is somewhat risky, given that HHS is not limiting the blogging to its own employees, and is not controlling the content of the blogs at all. Although the Secretary of Health & Human Services, Michael Leavitt, is contributing posts, the rest of the bloggers have no affiliation with the government, and may even (gasp!) say things that are critical of the administration’s policies or actions.

I have no doubt that HHS had a hard time at first agreeing to let the bloggers post directly without any intervening approval process, but to their great credit there is no moderation of our posts at all (though comments are moderated to prevent spam, offensive language and personal attacks). I don’t know where the courage came from, but I applaud their willingness to let the chips fall where they may.

Toby/Diva Marketing: How is the qualitative information being data mined and is a formal report of the feedback going to be produced?

Nedra Kline Weinreich:I don’t know what their specific plan is, but with more than 400 content-packed comments after just the first week, I sure hope they will be doing some sort of analysis to make sure the great ideas don’t get lost. They are producing a metrics report to take a look at who has been visiting the blog, but a qualitative analysis is absolutely critical as well.  Many of the people who are leaving comments are those who have been working on and thinking about this issue for a long time (professionals and private citizens), and their input is extremely valuable.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What is your role, and the other bloggers, other than to generate content?

Nedra Kline Weinreich: Many of the bloggers represent particular constituencies (e.g., business, nurses, public health professionals, nonprofits), and the hope is that the bloggers will use their networks to get the word out and bring in more diverse voices to the conversation on the blog. The blog is also an adjunct to a one-day summit that will be happening in Washington, DC, and it allows HHS to get the discussion going prior to the event and continue it afterwards.

Toby/Diva Marketing: How will Michael Leavitt, Secretary, U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services join in on the conversation?

Nedra Kline Weinreich: So far Secretary Leavitt has written the introductory blog post, and he will be posting each week as well.  I don’t know if he has left any comments on other people’s posts, but William Raub, the Science Advisor to the Secretary, and Suzanne DeFrancis, the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, both posted comments to the blog so far.  So HHS is definitely engaged in the process.

Read More: Diva Marketing: Your Tax $ At Work: Innovation In Social Media By Health and Human Services
Cross posted: Marketing Prof's Daily Fix

Your Tax $ At Work: Innovation In Social Media By Health and Human Services


The Questions: What would you do if you were charged with developing a national healthcare policy that could impact millions of people? How would you involve citizens, the healthcare community and other stakeholders to ensure that their ideas and questions were heard and discussed?  That was the challenge facing the Health and Human Services Department as it prepared for an important Leadership Forum on pandemic preparedness.

The Solution: The Health and Human Services Department stepped into the world of Computerdoc social media and invited 16 business, healthcare, faith-based and community leaders to particiapte in a five-week Blog Summit. The blog summit provides an opportunity to have an open conversation and shape the thinking about how to communicate the critical need for preparedness at home and within workplaces and communities.

Each week the Pandemic Leadership Blog will address a different question, the Leadership  Forum will be live blogged and follow-up conversations to discuss lessons learned and next steps will be continued on the blog.

Sidebar: I call this a short-term campaign blog. It has a specific purpose and limited time period when blogging activity will occur.

Week 1: The Need to Prepare
Why is it critical for each of us to prepare for the threat of pandemic influenza?

Week 2: My Role as a Leader
What are my constituents concerns? How can I play an important role in communicating the need to prepare?

Week 3: Getting the Job Done
What do I need to succeed in communicating the importance of preparing for a pandemic?

June 13th - Leadership Forum
Live blogging from the Leadership Forum

Week 4: Forum Results
Report out from the Leadership Forum

Week 5: Making it Happen
What steps do we need to take to successfully move forward?

“The conversation about individual preparedness for pandemic flu must extend nationwide through all possible channels, including social media and the Internet. The blog summit is an innovative and efficient forum for bringing together leaders for a lively discussion on the pandemic-preparedness movement."" HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

I was delighted to see Nedra Klein Weinreich among the prestigious experts. Nedra brings a wealth of social marketing and social media marketing experience to the conversation. Her first post addresses both topics and ask critical questions including how to best use social media in times of a public healthcare crisis.

  • What are some of the methods we can use to reach each of the audiences with our messages? (e.g., online social networks, blogs, Oprah, school district newsletters)
  • Who are the spokespeople that are seen as most credible by each audience? (e.g., local officials, doctors, peers)
  • Who are the partners that we need to hook up with in order to best reach each audience? (e.g., doctors, “mommy bloggers,” media organizations)

Sidebar: Can bloggers make a difference? Read the story of how 2 mommy bloggers used their blog to help Katrina people.

Check out the How The Blog Works page for ideas if your readers are not blog savvy. There is also a Comment Policy page.
Sidebar: HHS an RSS feed unique to each blogger would be nice.

Bravo and congrats to the Health and Human Services Department .. or should I say Pink_boa" toss of a pink boa?" .. for its innovation and courage. If a government agency can step out of its comfort zone and explore avenues to engage and leverage conversations online think of what a Big Brand or medical center, or non profit or school or business or .. or .. or .. As the saying goes, you are limited by only your imagination and a little bit of chutzpah.

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