Sysomos and Spectrum Science: Monitoring for Compliance and Advising on Engagement in the Healthcare Industry

Everyday our clients are surprising us with new and innovative ways to utilize social data. There are certain industries and verticals we expect social data to be heavily integrated in but love it when our customers push the boundaries and find applications for social data we come across less frequently. Our customer Spectrum Science – winner of a 2016 SABRE award – is a great example of this.

Recently we sat down with Robert Oquendo, EVP of Digital and Creative at Spectrum to learn more about how his agency utilizes social data in innovative ways for their healthcare clients.

Hi Robert, thanks so much for speaking with us today. To get started, can you please give us a little background on Spectrum?

Absolutely. Spectrum is a health and science-focused communications agency committed to achieving the goals of clients who are involved with issues, products, provider services or research in consumer, life, and human health sciences. We have an insight-driven approach to creating strategic frameworks for clients, supported by media relations, marketing communications, advocacy relations, public affairs, digital communications and design services.

Can you tell me more about your role and responsibilities?

I’m the Executive Vice President of The LAB at Spectrum – a fully integrated team of digital, social and creative experts. At a high-level, I’m responsible for helping our clients create seamless strategies and tactical executions that engage their audiences in the digital world we now live in. A key component in accomplishing that is arming our teams with an understanding of the audiences we’re trying to reach with our communications programs.

Why is social data so important for Spectrum?

The most important benefit of Sysomos is in its ability to provide the raw materials (“the data”) to craft a compelling and insightful story around the wants, needs, desires and hopes of the audiences we’re trying to reach. Walking into both new and current client relationships with this level of understanding gives Spectrum an advantage since we’re able to present recommendations with confidence, backed by real-world insight.                                                       

True meaning from social data is a product of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Sysomos helps Spectrum quantify a conversation based on the numbers, determining scope and scale, which is immensely helpful at the outset of a project. In tandem, we also have a number of subject-matter experts that can help dissect the data to determine what’s really relevant based on the specific client and challenge we’re looking to solve.

It’s the marriage of these two mindsets that makes Spectrum special; we call it Social Intelligence. It’s our direct response to social listening, which appears passive and rigid – not two attributes that are well suited to today’s social media landscape

People might be surprised to hear that companies in the health and science industries are so interested in social analytics. Are there any specific challenges you have come across unique to your space?

As you may expect, the healthcare industry is heavily regulated; however with the recent issuance of the FDA’s Guidance on social media, pharmaceutical companies have, on the whole, started to embrace social more than they have in the past.

By and large, the biggest concern that remains is the lack of control. User- generated content is unpredictable: the average person/patient can (and often does) say whatever comes to their mind. However, both positive and negative commentary often comes with exaggerations about how a product works (or does not work), leading to an uncomfortable decision for pharma: set the record straight, or remain silent? This dilemma extends to all aspects of social media – including research.

Because of this, each company has a different interpretation — and comfort level — with this guidance. To navigate the landscape, Spectrum consistently partners with not only our clients, but their legal and regulatory departments as well. Ongoing discussions with these groups ensure a trusting relationship, giving us the opportunity to guide the client to where they’re comfortable.

You mentioned researching and engaging audiences as a focus, how do you use Sysomos to accomplish this?

Sysomos is our go-to resource to understanding how our audiences think, and how that’s expressed in a social media setting. From there, Sysomos allows us to dig deeper until we’ve gained the depth and understanding required to solve a challenge through communications.

Influencer mapping and engagement is also an important component of our client communication plans. We can easily surface key influencers based off of different criteria and conduct deeper research into each when necessary.

To wrap it up, how has social data changed the way you operate your business or strategy?

Social intelligence serves as the backbone for nearly all Spectrum’s programs. Even just a few years ago, we didn’t put the same level of trust and importance on social data. Now, nearly every project we work on starts with Social Intelligence research.

Likewise, Spectrum has moved from treating social and digital as a separate discipline to a fully integrated model. As you can imagine, this has paid dividends in the level and quality of recommendations we can offer our clients.

Thank you, Robert for your time! It’s always great to learn more about how social data is being utilized in different verticals. We’re excited to continue to hear about how Spectrum Science uses social data.

If you’d like to hear more about Spectrum Science and their innovative uses of social data, Robert will be speaking at our Sysomos Summit 2017 in February. Click here to register now!