Social pharma faces: Alex Butler

Rebecca Aris interviews Alex Butler

The Social Moon

We’ve heard from quite a few folks now from both within pharma and those more visible driving change on the outside. This week we’re lucky enough to catch up with someone who has spanned both camps in the last few weeks as he makes the move into the service sector off the back of a successful career with pharma giant Johnson &amp, Johnson.

Alex Butler is an extremely well-known figure when it comes to digital pharma, being a regular speaker at conferences and one of the more outspoken pharma folks when it comes to actually personally using social media channels such as Twitter. During his time with Johnson &amp, Johnson he has directly led the development of initiatives such as Psoriasis 360, which won three categories at the recent PM Society Digital Media Awards, so he can certainly practice what he preaches.

During our discussion, Alex talks about how his focus beyond pharma, on the broader world of technology and communications and how this affects society, gives him a slightly different perspective on what the industry should be doing to drive better healthcare delivery. He also talks about his personal experience with digital projects, key lessons learned and who else he sees as drivers of change. Critically, Alex provides a perspective on how it’s not all about Facebook and Twitter, but a more cohesive approach to collaboration and online engagement, which involves the use of novel technology from beyond our sphere of comfort.

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About the interviewee:

Alex has very recently founded the online marketing communications agency The Social Moon (@the_social_moon) to provide the highest quality digital marketing communications in healthcare.

Prior to this, Alex worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over a decade with six years at Janssen (Johnson &amp, Johnson) in numerous roles, culminating in him being senior lead in Johnson &amp, Johnson Strategic Marketing for Marketing Communications responsible for Europe, Middle East and Africa. This role worked above international brand and communications teams to deliver core integrated marketing and communications platforms, through the use of new marketing models and social enterprise strategy.

Alex is often cited as a key thought leader for digital marketing and health care social media in pharmaceuticals. He has overseen numerous award winning projects including the design, implementation and management of the world’s first facebook pharma disease information community with open commenting and the UK’s first corporate pharmaceutical company twitter account. In addition, he developed a social charter, approval process and business toolkit for Janssen to move it towards becoming an innovative social business and leading to numerous digital awards for the company during his tenure.

Personal awards for Alex include becoming the first pharmaceutical recipient of the Johnson &amp, Johnson James Burke global marketing award for ‘Uncommon courage’, numerous PM Society Digital awards (including three in 2011 for Psoriasis 360). He was also the inaugural recipient of the John Mack ‘Pharmaguy’ Global Social media Pioneer award in October 2010.

Alex is keenly interested on the impact new media has had on advertising and is an invited member of the prestigious Wharton University ‘Future Of advertising’ Global Advisory Team.

He can be reached by emailing

What should pharma really be doing online to advance healthcare?