Sanofi and other pharmaceutical companies are launching blogs (see: Sanofi picks corporate voice for new blogging venture). Here's the link to an article describing the new Sanofi blog and below is an excerpt from the article about it:
Sanofi US has branched out in its blogging efforts and this week launched Speaking of Sanofi, its first corporate blog. Managed by the company’s corporate reputation and digital communications director Stacy Burch, the blog will include perspectives from Sanofi companies like its vaccine arm Sanofi Pasteur, biotech business Genzyme and animal health company Merial. Although it’s still early days for the blog, Sanofi already has an impressive list of contributors planned for Speaking of Sanofi. These include the head of its North America R&D Hub Marc Bonnefoi, SVP of commercial operations at Sanofi Pasteur Damian Braga and CEO of Genzyme David Meeker. Outlining Sanofi’s plans in an introductory post Burch said Sanofi would also be inviting industry leaders to contribute guest posts. The new blog adds to the Discuss Diabetes blog Sanofi launched in January 2011 and is further evidence of a resurgence of industry interest in the medium. The time required to run a blog, certainly when compared with ‘lighter’ options -at least in terms of writing - like Twitter, has tended to keep their numbers down. But this year has seen a higher than average number of pharma companies begin blogs, from AstraZeneca’s Lab Talk and Lilly’s expansion of its LillyPad blog, to Bayer UK’s Diabetes Care blog and Boehringer Ingelheim’s plans for The Future Just Happened.
Perhaps the marketing executives with the pharmaceutical companies have not gotten the news but "corporate" blogs frequently don't really work. The reason is that the key to effective blogging is authenticity and this is a quality that most of these companies don't have and can't buy. As an example of how distant from reality these companies are, just look at the name selected by Boehringer Ingelheim for its new blog: The Future Just Happened. You can imagine a group of company marketing gurus "running this name up the flagpole" and getting very excited. And yet, I can't imagine many people cruising the web and clicking through to a blog by this name. I have posted previous notes about how the FDA is leery about pharmaceutical companies using social media to inappropriately influence patients (see: Limitations Placed on Big Pharma Facebook Pages; Big Pharma Develops Smartphone Apps to Achieve Multiple Goals). This raises the question of exactly who Sanofi is trying to influence with its blog. In answer to this question, here's a quote from the first blog note from Sanofi that provides some clues:
Dear friends, employees, and pharma aficionados, I’m Stacy Burch, your blog manager and liaison for all things Sanofi US. Welcome to Speaking of Sanofi, the new Sanofi US corporate blog!....This blog is the manifestation of that connection and aims to deepen the bond between the process and those enacting it. Here, you will find insights from leaders across all Sanofi divisions – their thoughts on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. Over time, we will invite industry leaders to share their perspective via guest posts and interviews. And as our bloggers share their ideas, we invite you to share yours, by commenting and by engaging us via social networking sites such as Twitter.
It seems clear to me that the Sanofi blog at least will not be aimed at consumers but rather at "pharma aficionados." My best guess about who falls into this category is company employees, consultants, and anyone else feeding at the company trough. Anyway, here's some advice about how to shape corporate blogs (see: The Rise of Corporate Blogging):
The content of a blog must be as engaging as any mainstream media site's, [according to a consultant in the field] ."Many companies think the middle of road is the safe ground, when just the opposite is true," he said. "People go to corporate blogs because they want to hear opinions and get a different slant on the world. The middle of the road is dull. Given a choice between dull and entertaining, people will choose entertaining every time."