Wyeth commissioned Porter Novelli to design and implement a comprehensive internal communication program to reinforce integration and strategic alignment of business functions to significantly reduce the time taken to bring new medicines to market.
Working in true partnership, Wyeth and Porter Novelli developed a four pronged strategic approach to effectively utilise internal expertise and address skill and resource deficiencies.
The creation of the Wyeth Asia Pacific Public Affairs Tool Kit was the central component in the success of the strategy. The Kit was the perfect vehicle to engage the target audiences, whilst in its final form, provide strategic direction and supporting materials.
Bringing the kit to life through building ownership and empowerment at an individual country level, team members are challenged:
- to think and act differently;
- to approach market access initiatives with creativity; and
- to draw on internal skills, expertise and knowledge.
The internal communication program was an overwhelming success, evidenced by the request from head office to globalise the Kit and replicate its implementation in other markets.
Success has enhanced Wyeth’s public affairs capabilities, ensured ongoing integration of business functions and ultimately contributed to making life saving medicines available to the people who need them.
Wyeth Asia Pacific is an important part of a global company that brings healthcare and pharmaceutical products to the people who need them, wherever they are in the world.
Wyeth works in the area of biotechnology and vaccines, as well as traditional pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medicines. Wyeth have a particular focus on researching and developing new treatments for conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Haemophilia, transplantation, depression and the prevention of serious infectious disease like the deadly pneumococcal disease.
Wyeth employs more than 52,000 people worldwide, operating manufacturing facilities on six continents and conducting business in more than 140 countries.
Wyeth sees itself as a partner in health - working collaboratively with governments, health care practitioners and patient organisations to deliver quality and cost effective medicines that contribute to overall health and well-being.
Wyeth identified the need and opportunity to develop a fully integrated and strategic approach to public affairs and market access initiatives across the 13 Asia Pacific (AP) affiliate offices.
By effectively utilising the wealth of knowledge held by Wyeth team members, sharing best practice and supporting AP affiliates, Wyeth aimed to significantly reduce the time between the registration of a product and its reimbursement, and enhance the likelihood of successful reimbursement outcomes in all AP countries.
Partnership with Porter Novelli, a global public relations agency with a strong understanding of the Wyeth business, was deemed necessary to design, develop and implement a comprehensive AP internal communication program.
Porter Novelli’s depth of knowledge of the AP pharmaceutical market and commitment to best practice communication was essential in ensuring materials reflected local and regional cultural nuances and respected individual regulatory and government requirements for countries throughout AP.
Wyeth and Porter Novelli identified that a comprehensive internal communication program was required to:
- Harness existing internal knowledge and expertise;
- Address potential skill and resource gaps across affiliate offices;
- Encourage the ongoing exchange of information and the sharing of knowledge;
- Facilitate the education of team members and foster professional growth;
- Present best practice public affairs and detail the foundations of public relations practice; and
- Provide a structure and framework for strategic activities that integrate the health economics, marketing, medical, government affairs, public affairs, public relations and communication functions.
Success of this internal communication program will enhance Wyeth’s public affairs capabilities, ensure ongoing integration of business functions and ultimately contribute to making life saving medicines available to the people who need them.
-  http://www.wyeth.com.au/ accessed July 2008
In order to establish the parameters of the project an insight into the public affairs capability and inter-relationships of the AP offices was required. Information pertaining to resource levels, individual skills, knowledge and expertise, team successes and country specific strengths was necessary.
Information was required as to how affiliates worked together to share information or support each other and whether similarities existed in social, media or political operating environments (particularly relating to policies and procedures for product registration and reimbursement).
In line with best practice internal communication when facilitating change and implementing new processes and procedures, it was also necessary to identify the preferred and successful methods and channels for receiving information and education materials. This was of heightened importance for this project due to the number of countries involved, specific cultural considerations and English language proficiency.
The information was gathered via formal and informal research channels including:
- A review of organisation charts;
- Informal interviews with Wyeth employees;
- A review of relevant internal documents;
- An assessment of current and previous public affairs activities; and
- An analysis of previous integrated strategic communication programs.
Porter Novelli also drew on their own knowledge of the AP healthcare market, and expertise and experience of implementing multifaceted internal communication and change management programs across cultures to inform the program strategy and tactics.
The information and feedback provided informed a number of important project components including:
- The level and range of information and education materials required;
- The language, tone and complexity of the information;
- The manner in which the materials are presented to team members;
- Strategies for addressing cultural differences regarding communication, participation and willingness to change;
- The quantity, quality and frequency of internal communication required to successfully implement change, support team members and drive adherence;
- The timing of launch activities and follow up meetings; and
- Reporting and feedback mechanisms.
Whilst the core responsibility for the strategic communication function may reside with one department within an affiliate office, an integrated approach to market access brings together a number of complementary disciplines including public affairs, public relations and communication, government affairs, health economics, medical, sales and marketing.
It is important that individuals in each of the above roles across AP understand their part in bringing a product to market and that they work together to maximise the opportunity for success.
The internal communication program and supporting material was primarily directed to the AP public affairs team members that were immediately responsible for public relations and stakeholder communication activities. These individuals were responsible for championing integration and driving change within their own offices. They were also seen as the educators and mentors of junior team members.
The secondary audiences included individuals above and below this function and those in affiliated disciplines (marketing, health economics, medical, etc). It was important to have both senior buy-in and support for the program as well as a solid understanding of the public affairs function across the organisation to facilitate integration.
The strategic approach was four-fold:
- Engage and secure the ongoing commitment of the primary and secondary audiences to changing current business practices to enhance outcomes;
- Encourage the audiences to participate in defining and building the solution and take ownership and responsibility for local implementation;
- Provide Wyeth AP with a comprehensive and innovative resource that meets the information and education needs at an individual, team and country level; and
- Recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals, teams and affiliate offices.
The Wyeth AP Public Affairs Tool Kit was the central component in the communication strategy.
The development of the Tool Kit was the perfect vehicle for engagement opportunities with the target audiences, whilst in its final form, providing strategic direction, guidance, instruction, template documents and training materials that could be shared across the region and profile best practice examples from individual countries.
Content was developed specifically to meet the communication and integration needs of the organisation as well as the individual affiliate offices.
The Tool Kit is a living document within Wyeth AP , able to be updated by affiliates to showcase strategic integration and the success achieved in bringing products to market in a more timely and cost effective manner.
The program spanned a 12 month period. The stages of implementation correlate with the 4 elements of the strategy as articulated in the following table.
|1. Engage and secure ongoing commitment to changing current business practices to enhance outcomes||
|2. Encourage audiences to participate in defining and building the solution and take ownership for local implementation||
|3. Provide a comprehensive and innovative resource that meets information and education needs||
|4. Recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals, teams and affiliate offices||
The Wyeth AP Public Affairs Tool Kit and internal communication program achieved significant results including:
- The identification of existing knowledge and expertise as well as skills development requirements across the region;
- Snapshots of the social, media, political and regulatory environments that influence business outcomes in each country;
- International, regional and local support for the development and launch of the Kit;
- Country level champions to drive strategic integration of business activity;
- The development of a comprehensive resource (in both hard copy and electronic format) that met the needs of Wyeth AP and addressed unique cultural and political requirements;
- The engagement of country level champions in the development of the Kit content and supporting documentation;
- The successful launch of the Kit at an AP Public Affairs meeting and an overwhelming response to the Kit content resulting in a second production run of the hard copy version;
- Full participation by Public Affairs team members in the training sessions and education workshops;
- The subsequent development of a dedicated intranet site to support AP communication and integration;
- Regular proactive reporting and provision of materials from team members to regional representatives;
- Proactive and early identification of integration opportunities by team members;
- The regular use of the Kit by AP and Global Public Affairs team members for internal training and professional development purposes; and
- Recognition of the value of this regional resource by Wyeth head office and the subsequent plans to ‘globalise’ the Kit.
The most tangible result was the Wyeth AP Public Affairs Tool Kit.
The business critical and confidential nature of the content of this Kit can not be underestimated and it therefore can not be submitted in hard copy or electronic format to support this award submission, as was discussed with Amanda Dale prior to the submission closing date.
It is important to note that every copy of the Kit has a unique identifying number and upon internal distribution, all Wyeth affiliates were required to sign for receipt of the Kit.
Photographic evidence of the Kit and supporting documentation is provided in Appendix A.
|OBJECTIVE||OUTCOMES||DEGREE OF SUCCESS|
|1. Assess and evaluate expertise within affiliate offices, identify resource gaps and integration opportunities||
|2. Identify the specific education and information requirements||
|3. Develop and deliver a comprehensive AP Public Affairs Tool Kit||
|4. Build internal support and anticipation for the Kit||
|5. Launch the AP Public Affairs Tool Kit||
|6. Track and measure the continued uptake of the Kit and the value of this resource to the organisation||
The development of the Kit and the internal communication program to support its development and launch was an overwhelming success, evidenced by the request from head office to globalise the Kit and replicate its implementation in other markets.