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The Healthcare Industry And The Power of the Consumer

By Jan Beery, - July 1, 2013

Connected Consumer

Did you see the Huffington post article about a 15 year old girl, Sarah Kavanagh? She researched an ingredient, brominated vegetable oil that’s in Gatorade, along with other caffeine stimulants in energy drinks.

The Problem.

She discovered said ingredient to be a flame retardant that is not only controversial, it’s dangerous to the body with crazy side effects! Holy cow, right?!

She took it to social media. The powerful result, 200,000 signatures later? It was picked up by the media, and the pressure was on the manufacturer to respond.

Power of the Consumer: The Result

Pepsico Will Halt Use of Additive in Gatorade. Why is this such an important point? Because the playing field is now leveled. A teenage girl doing research was able to bring the problem to the public, on her own. Sarah drove a change in a product via engagement with social media.

What does this mean for the healthcare industry? Whether it’s a product, or service, if there’s an issue, be prepared to be held accountable.

Are you talking about your brand? If so, are you:

We’re all capable of bringing attention to a product or service issue with a few keys and a click away. The playing field is leveled for every consumer. If you have a problem, and don’t receive a satisfactory resolution, you have the ability to share it with everyone globally, immediately.

With this capability available to all of us, you’ve also got to keep in mind, the potential for some loose cannons out there. The Dunkin Donuts crazy customer wins, in that category.

If you’ve been making social media strategy mistakes, now’s the time to talk about the problem, and change your course. Having a clear strategy for managing product and service issues, in an efficient, appropriate manner will not only build your brand credibility, it will build brand advocates in your customers.

As for Sarah Kavanagh, this young lady did an impressive job of, not only researching an issue, and bringing it to all our attention, she did appropriately, and made a difference. Well done, Sarah, I look forward to hearing more about you in the future. You are destined for great things.

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Image source: Johan Larsson on Flickr