AbbVie has been selected as an ABA100 Winner for Comms Excellence in The Australian Business Awards 2019. The Australian Business Award for Comms Excellence [COM] recognises organisations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that demonstrate innovative communications strategies and outcomes.

AbbVie Australia is a biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience.

Science and innovation are the cornerstones of the business and each day 320 Australian employees dedicate their time to making a remarkable impact on its 31,500+ patients’ lives.

Social media has for some time permeated virtually every aspect of a person’s digital life . Despite this, pharmaceutical companies have traditionally shied away from having their own voice on social media due to the highly-regulated industry that it operates in. Needless to say, the social media sphere creates risk for pharmaceutical brands on social media because it cannot engage in conversations about products, other companies’ products or treatment options in the public domain.

It’s not surprising that patients use social media as a major source of information and an integral part of their healthcare research journey. With this in mind and AbbVie’s mission of having a remarkable impact on patient’s lives, AbbVie Australia decided that the way they traditionally distributed, shared and discussed healthcare information with their patients and other stakeholders needed to change. AbbVie embarked on a journey to communicate to patients in the channels they have become accustomed to and in mid-2017, AbbVie became one of the first Australian pharmaceutical companies to launch company owned, corporate social media channels.

To highlight the impact of using social media channels to distribute healthcare information can have on the community, one needs to look at a debilitating and chronic skin condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). HS is marked by debilitating symptoms such as recurrent and painful abscesses and nodules on the skin – typically in areas of the armpits, groin, buttocks and breasts. HS can have a considerable impact on patients’ daily lives, their work ability, physical activities and emotional state. The sensitive nature of the disease often results in feelings of embarrassment and isolation.

The first prevalence study of HS in Australia was released in 2018 and estimated that approximately 165,000 Australians (or 1 in 150 people) are living with HS and an estimated 97.2% are undiagnosed/misdiagnosed. Often stigmatised, HS is a personal subject matter. Manifesting in the areas of the body people tend to shy away from, AbbVie needed to articulate the impact of the condition in an emotive and empathetic way.

Recognising that Australians are most trusting in spontaneous, ‘human’ spokespeople having a thirst for information from ‘people like me’, real-life patient stories to provide an authentic voice that informs others on the true physical, mental and emotional burden of HS were paramount.

The merit of this campaign’s success was demonstrated by the high volume of engagement and comments received. From heartfelt messages of thanks, to people saying the campaign prompted them to book doctor appointments, the impact of the campaign was made clear through the hundreds of social media comments and the 80,000 video viewings.

The Australian Business Awards are an annual comprehensive awards program which recognises organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement via a set of established business and product award categories.

The Australian Business Awards are the national chapter of an integrated, hierarchical leadership initiative conducted on a national and international level. Eligible organisations are invited to participate in the international chapter of the program at The World Business Awards whereby participants are provided with the unique opportunity to benchmark themselves against the top performers globally.

The process culminates in the selection of organisations which implement world-class business initiatives, projects, products and services. The award recipients are recognised as the elite of their industry earning a place amongst a distinguished group by having their achievements acknowledged and celebrated.

Organisational eligibility includes private companies, publicly listed companies, multinational subsidiaries, not-for-profit organisations, non-government organisations, educational institutions, franchise systems, partnerships, government departments, government agencies, local government and statutory bodies operating in Australia.

Organisations are required to complete a submission for a specific business initiative, product or service.

Business initiatives can include but are not limited to projects, programs, processes, systems, technologies, developments, ventures and undertakings.

Products can include but are not limited to services, devices, equipment, programs, processes, activities, applications, information, knowledge, software, cloud-based services, platforms, systems and manufactured goods. Products must be commercially available on the Australian market and comply with all applicable Australian standards and regulatory requirements. Product eligibility includes domestic and international products available to the Australian marketplace.

The World Business Awards Framework (WBA Framework) is utilised as a structured model of assessment that enables the participating organisations to be benchmarked against world class performance standards.

The Framework consists of specialised assessment modules pertaining to the evaluation criteria for each of the award categories. The criteria and sub-criteria provide a robust set of requirements that are used as the methodology for benchmarking and learning among the participating organisations.

Organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement are recognised via a set of established business and product award categories.

The program provides a notable opportunity for high-performing organisations which implement world-class business initiatives and develop innovative products and services to be acknowledged and celebrated for their achievements both nationally and internationally.

Conducted annually, the program engages with organisations worldwide to benchmark the full spectrum of their products, services and initiatives and to review their business performance through a global recognition and knowledge building initiative that is underpinned by the program’s established framework.

The program provides the ultimate platform for building knowledge, increasing brand awareness, equity, loyalty and retention through increased exposure, recognition and prestige.

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