Thoughts on digital from the ‘Social Media Jedi’

Rebecca Aris interviews Clive Roach

Philips Healthcare

As our digital theme continues, pharmaphorum interviews Clive Roach, Social Media Strategist of Philips Healthcare, on successful digital campaigns and emerging digital channels that are here to stay.

Clive Roach, Social Media Strategist at Philips Healthcare, is heavily active in many social networks. Clive has his own blog, three Twitter accounts and two Facebook fan pages among others, which is why he also known as the Social Media Jedi.

In this interview, Clive shares with us his thoughts on emerging digital channels and what digital and online tools he finds the most useful. He also talks of the future and the importance of SoLoMo (Social, Local, and Mobile).

Interview summary

RA: Clive, thank you for agreeing to take part in this interview. Could you please start by describing your role within Philips Healthcare?

CR: Thanks for the opportunity to take part in this interview. My role in Philips Healthcare is the Social Media Strategist, and I work in the Global Integrated Marketing &amp, communications group. I drive social media adoption and best practice within Philips Healthcare, and I also manage the relationship that Philips has with Linkedin.

RA: What strategy has Philips Healthcare adopted to allow them to engage with the medical community?

CR: The Philips Healthcare social media presence builds brand reputation and improves online net promoter score by providing thought leadership. We aim to transform brand consideration to brand preference among our key clinical target audiences. This is achieved by building stronger customer relationships and obtaining recommendations. We need to take responsibility to service our customers staying within our regulatory and legal processes.


“We need to take responsibility to service our customers staying within our regulatory and legal processes.”


RA: What channels and tools do you consider to be the most useful when it comes to social media and online engagement?

CR: Professional networks are very important. They range from LinkedIn to niche local language networks. Following on from that, I list Twitter and YouTube. Mobile devices have a high penetration within our industry, so a mixture of the two will be important in the years to come. This is called SoLoMo (Social, Local, and Mobile). SoLoMo is the convergence of social, local, and mobile media. Social refers to the people connectivity aspect, local refers to the ability to determine the location and to use it wisely, and mobile refers to media portability.

RA: What do you think needs to change in order for pharma to fully embrace social media?

CR: Adopting a new channel is never easy. Factors that contribute to success with social media including understanding the target audience needs, aspirations, social media behavior (critics, lurkers, spectators, creators etc.) and current topics under discussion. Develop activities to listen, respond, learn and document outcomes. Develop a maturity plan, including effective community management. It has to be a multi-disciplined approach, with legal and regulatory as a partner.

RA: How would you define success with a digital campaign?

CR: Every successful digital campaign has well thought out and measurable objectives. Each campaign is different, so it is important to drill down and set the best objectives based on the campaign activities. The best objectives to use would relate to the business, like generating leads, increasing sales, reducing customer service costs, improving brand awareness, or net promoter score. These are typically what I call key performance indicators. Metrics like follower count, number of likes, and subscriber counts are indicators of day-to-day activity in my opinion.


“SoLoMo is the convergence of social, local, and mobile media.”


RA: What digital campaigns have you noted both within and outside of your organization that you deem to be a success?

CR: My favorite Philips digital campaign is the ‘+’ Project and that certainly is a success. There are so many others that I liked that were created by others outside of my organization, but I mention the one that made me laugh the most, which was the “Old Spice Guy”. That brand will never be viewed like it was before that campaign, never!

RA: What emerging online channels do you think will be around for a while?

CR: My answer is the new emerging “Visual Social Networking Channel”. I personally think that this new emerging channel, which allows people to “collect” items (or bookmark them) and then share them, will be around for a while. Without the sharing part, they will not survive. Pinterest is one of the most well-known, but there are many others like Pearltrees,, and The Fancy. The click-throughs are relatively high, and these channels appeal to people who like to create lists and share them.

RA: Thank you for your time.




About the interviewee:

Clive Roach is the social media strategist for Philips Healthcare. He is active with strategy development, activation, governance, projects and educational training activities for all aspects of social media within Philips Healthcare.

Clive has been working in the eMarketing area since 1997, and previously held roles in engineering, design and sales. Clive is also practical in addition to his current strategic role, as he has his own blog, tweets daily on three Twitter accounts, has two Facebook fan pages, Google+, Pinterest,, Instagram, and participates in many other social networks.

What emerging online channels do you think will be around for a while?