How to Safeguard Your Reputation |Thrive Talk | Sabrina Prince
Hangouts On Air Hi I’m Carol Watson and I am the Chief Thriver at ThriveV.com and I want to welcome you and have you join us for another episode of Thrive Talk we have today as our guest Sabrina Prince. Sabrina- Hi Carol: Thank you so much for joining us. Sabrina: You’re welcome! Carol: Sabrina is the SVP, Account Supervisor at NEON and she has an amazing story. NEON is a healthcare pharmaceutical agency and I want to have her talk a little bit more about her current role before we get into the background. Sabrina: Sure Sabrina: I am a Senior Vice President of Account Services at NEON, specifically healthcare, pharmacueticals as well as hospital and wellness At NEON my job is comprised of working with marketing teams at pharmaceutical companies to achieve whatever their goals are for their brand whether they’re at the stage where they are new drugs and they’re just launching into the marketplace or we need to educate customers about it or if they’re brand sensitive and have been on the market for awhile and now there are newer entrants where there’s lots of competition and they’re struggling to figure out how they differentiate themselves. So I work with those brand managers to figure out strategies for that and then bring those strategies back to the agency where I have a team of people that I work with who develop the messaging or the creative that brings those strategies to life to communicate whatever those benefits are to the physicians or to the patients that would be using the products Carol: Awesome. What are some of the major clients that you have that we may recognize? Sabrina: I’ve worked with Pfizer. I’ve worked with Gillian which is probably a company that maybe the mainstream customer doesn’t know but they have many drugs for HIV I’ve also worked with Biotech companies like Biogen or Genotech I currently work with United Therapeutics which is an interesting new Biotech company in the North Carolina area. Carol: Beautiful. So it’s an amazing office we have great work in the background so you get a sense of [Sabrina: Great products] what they’re doing. No secrets on the wall so don’t pay too much attention but we really wanted to give you an idea of what the industry experience is like in an average day. But tell us a little bit about how you got into this. Sabrina: It’s an interesting story I definitely was not one of those people who went to school and said “I want to be in Advertising!” As a matter of fact, I wasn’t really sure what that was beyond pretty pictures in a magazine I was one of those people who wanted to be a doctor one day. I was a Neuroscience and Behavior Major I worked in a laboratory doing research for Alzheimer’s disease I was working on animals, rats, etc I became allergic to those animals Go Figure! And I was actually hospitalized and needed to figure out a different career path I worked in the clinical realm for awhile. I worked in a psychiatric hospital where I managed clinical trials for diseases like Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression and that was really exciting and a part of that that I think kinda triggered the advertising bug was that you had to figure out how to communicate to the area hospitals that trials for these medications were happening and why it was important to consider patients who maybe are on therapies that aren’t working to enroll in these trials. So the promotional aspect of it became interesting to me as it mixed with the science and after that I started actually temping at Pfizer in the marketing analytics group and through a friend of a friend I started working at a healthcare PR agency which then spun off their advertising agency and I’ve not looked back since. It’s been keeping me engaged in the science the neuroscience. The curiosity of the science as well as the business challenges If you have a curious mind you will enjoy advertising [Sabrina: Sorry everybody!] Carol: A little dark in here for a moment! Sabrina: I’m going to move around some more so the lights don’t go off. Carol: If you see us dancing in the background you’ll know why. Sabrina: Yes So that’s what got me into this career so I was on the traditional path but I think it also speaks to the fact that advertising is always looking for people coming from different shared experiences that are looking at a problem a different way and that’s always going to bring you the innovation that your clients are looking for Carol: So, beyond the day-to-day work how does it charge you? How does it excite you to be in this field? Sabrina: Specifically, healthcare advertising– It’s the fact that I have a tangible ability to impact the decisions, the healthcare decisions that a customer is making When I say customer that could be a Physician who is looking at you coming into the office or your mom or your child and saying “Okay Carol, you have hypertension, Sorry, you just do right now Carol: I’m a little stressed. Sabrina: Yes, life is stressful. You have hypertension I’m thinking about a medication that would be appropriate for you your lifestyle, maybe it needs to be something that you take once a day because you’re busy you’re not going to remember to take an older drug that maybe it’s 3x a day I’ve read about studies that say that particularly for African Americans this drug will probably be better for you I’m going to recommend this drug for you and then your experience on that drug will be more positive. I play a role in looking at that data. Figuring out who the target is “A Carol” and figuring out how to communicate to you so that when your doctor prescribes you that drug they can give you the brochure that you take home and you’re reading those words that are telling you how to use it, the benefits of it, maybe how to take it potential things or side effects you should look out for we’re helping you to create and that makes you more informed, empowered customer and that’s what keeps me going. Making sure that people aren’t just blindly stumbling through the health care system more experienced. So it’s altruistic. Carol: It most be more personal. It really helps [Sabrina: Yes] to have a role in a career where you feel like you’re making a difference Sabrina: It’s really nice. You kinda become a jack of all trades in diseases. Sort of like a resident. Not really a doctor. Where if my mom is prescribed something and she’ll say “Hey do you know what this is?” and I’ll generally know or I’ll know who can get me that information and it’s a nice feeling to be able to impart, to be able to put that information out there Carol: So as a person of color, and you know, the demographics we know are changing and the disease states for different ethnic groups [Sabrina: yep] contribute to what they need how does that come up in your role in the work? Sabrina: Specifically, how to communicate or target those…segments Carol: Yeah. How do the conversations come up for clients now. How does your expertise and your knowledge from a personal perspective in your path play out in your work? Sabrina: One example I can give is one of the brands that we actually manage that I lead is a Hepatitis B product and Hepatitis B based on our research and we always do a level of research when you begin working with a client disproportionately affects the Asian American population it also affects. Carol: Did not know that. Sabrina: Yeah, exactly, so wow I did not know that. Wow. Lots of those amazing moments where you’re actually taking in knowledge. But one of the things the client is struggling with is that population, or the population itself is disproportionately affected are usually immigrants so they’re coming from other countries infected and in those other countries the disease is so endemic that it’s almost in a misperception conceived to be like a genetic disease one that everybody just haves because everybody has it and there’s nothing I can do about it There’s also a language barrier. So figuring out how to educate those patients that there is something that you can actively do to help yourself. To live longer with this disease to potentially slow the progression of the disease so you can be there for your families, for your jobs that’s something that we do a lot of market research around because this community is an immigrant population where English isn’t their first language a lot of that is through translators or through their physicians but based on our learning we really need to realize that a lot of what we needed to do to get to that community is grassroots. So figuring out where they are what are the connections that they have to the community so are there learning centers or are there family centers where usually there’s a lot of congregation and how can we bring the material to them and those areas. So those are ways that we specifically look at reaching particular customer targets as in African Americans and obviously I appreciate the sensitivities of the fact that church or family are historically big in our community and if you’re really trying to talk about a topic that people don’t want to talk about but they need to, those intimate environments are usually the most impact is received. So looking for those nuances or just looking at it through that perspective or bringing that perspective to the client is beneficial and I think creates the type of advertisement that actually changes behavior. Carol: What are some of the trends that you’re seeing with clients nowadays? What should we know about in terms of marketing needs and challenges? Sabrina: I think we should, I think it’s refreshing to realize that clients are now understanding that customers are a lot more complex. That the market is a lot more diverse and by diverse I don’t just mean ethnically diverse I mean the experiences the socio-economic backgrounds, the education level of the people that are actually appropriate. Wanting to use these products is diverse. And they’re really thinking about that first before communicating so they’re doing a lot of market research to really understand who are those customers where are they, how do they think, who are the people that actually influence them. So, historically if it’s a male customer they’re not the ones going to the doctor. It’s their wife that’s nagging them, or their mom that’s nagging them Carol: That’s never going to change. Sabrina: No, exactly Sabrina: No, unfortunately not. That seems to span all ethnicities. So figuring out who the influencers are and maybe there’s a sort of back door way to get the message around Clients are more aware of that and I think they are more actively rather proactively, looking at that research and integrating that into their thinking from the beginning versus say I’ve developed an ad and it has a face, a person smiling in a certain shade and in order to make it diverse, I’m just going to apply various crayon colors. Now they’re really thinking about those nuances and appreciating the unique intricacies of the customer and the value of those inctricacies when they’re developing communication materials Carol: Awesome. So let’s kind of shift over to the career piece and Sabrina: Yeah Carol: what is it like to work at Neon it seems like if you guys were here you could see [Sabrina: It’s cool] that it’s a really cool space what would people be surprised to know about a pharma agency, that industry. Sabrina: I think it’s interesting that every time my mom comes to visit me I reference my mom a lot, she always asks do you just sit around and talk all day because there’s lots of interaction. [Carol: look around]. Exactly, there’s a lot of interaction and it is a creative environment in the fact that it’s open, the space is colorful, the conversations seem to be casual so it’s an interesting mix of what appears to be fluid conversation but in a very structured manner So I think if you’re curious and intellectually curious people will use the word “creative” but what does that mean it means “do you look at things a different way? have you always thought why doesn’t this happen? do you always want to crack the code in a puzzle? Do you have a vision and constantly thinking of visions of things? That sort of environment is what an advertising agency is like and the only difference is who you’re solving the problem for, is it a pharmaceutical company or is it Lexus I like pharmaceuticals because I’m invigorated by empowering consumers to be, you know, to make the best decisions about their health but it’s a fun place to work at everyday. You never know quite sure what a day is going to be like. Carol: Awesome! Sabrina: Yeah. Carol: So, tell us a little bit more about what it’s like to be a leader? Here and in this industry Sabrina: It’s very interesting. I will tell you that maybe until 3 years ago I was like oh wait, the leader person is me? I’m not supposed to wait for someone… no one’s going to tell me what to do? Carol: There’s no tap on the back. Sabrina: I’m actually the person that is supposed to lead and walk forward and people follow me? It’s challenging. It’s exciting. I think definitely the idea that with great responsibility requires ownership and accountability. There’s a lot that you’re responsible for. But there’s also the opportunity to set a direction for something. To set the tone for my teams to embody in a different way, the value of the culture, and the values of the agency show creativity or show intelligence, show visionary thinking with the Sabrina Model or the Sabrina Vibe Carol: With your own style. Sabrina: Yeah, and I think that’s important for people to see. That there isn’t just one way to be a leader in an advertising agency. There isn’t one way to show up in an Executive room. Certainly you’re always going to show up buttoned up, you’re always going to show up prepared you’re always going to show up early but you can show up with a certain perspective that’s different and think it’s the perspective that when you leave the room that the people talking are like Hmmm… that person, that Sabrina was really interesting I’d like her to talk more about my business or I’d like talk to her more about my challenges because she brings a different point of view than I have and I think that that’s the value that you bring to them as an agency or as a leader. I think that inspires the people who work with you to follow you to that next innovation and sometimes if it’s an uphill climb they’ll climb with you and on the days that you’re relaxing then you enjoy the relaxation even more So, it’s a fun challenge. Carol: That’s awesome! You know what as a an account person you’re kind of at the center of everything. Sabrina: Yes. Carol: So you have to create that inspiration. Sabrina: I’m Coach, I’m Champion, I’m Mediator. I’m all of those things. Exactly. I take the riddles. Yeah Exactly. [Carol: You get thrown into the front lines with the client.] Carol: So, what have you learned about you’re just managing your reputation around all of that it’s so crucially important in that role. Sabrina: It is very important and being that sort of liaison for everyone you really appreciate the fact that I heard someone say “The reputation is the one thing in the marketplace that doesn’t fluctuate. Like, it’s the currency that doesn’t fluctuate and it really is currency. It is a level of gravitas or value that precedes you and managing that is extremely important because your reputation will be the thing that will stand when things start to shake around. When some market event happens or the timeline is .. that was 3 months is now 3 weeks Or when the wheels of the bus are falling off and you have to call someone and say “Hey can you send me another bus?” The fact that Sabrina asked for you to send me another bus is going to let that person you know, do you a solid… Carol: So what contributed to that courage and confidence? Sabrina: Experiences. A couple scrapped knees. Recognizing the value of being where you say you’re going to be of showing up when you say you’re going to show up. Being consistent in that. The discipline of that. And also being receptive to learning the experiences when it doesn’t go exactly as you planned. Which is never going to happen actually and rarely can you tie anything up in a bow and it’s like beautiful other … outside of the tv. But I think those things have you look back and realize that I was able to accomplish this and I did that not by myself but through a team of people and really thinking about the team of people that you work with. Trying on all those ideas not being afraid to ask for help when you do need it and realize that that’s not a failing for you. But it’s just rather, wisdom that you need another point of view. Those are the sort of things that I bring to the next adventure or challenge and a lot of faith Carol: For sure. Sabrina: And that takes you there. I mean It definitely sorts itself. Carol: Were there any people or processes that you felt really contributed to the development of you as a leader? Sabrina: I definitely contribute a lot to my scientific background Again, I have a different approach to the typical advertising person where I spend a good amount of time assessing people I’d like to think of myself as a student of people and just trying to figure out what their actual concerns are because there are things people say with their mouths but there are the things that you can also observe based on their behaviors Carol: Any examples? Sabrina: What’s a good one? I think that there’s various moments with clients where they’ve expressed a desire for this brand to be successful and every client wants their brand to be successful but understanding what success for them… for that particular client means asking those questions, realizing who the person is that defines success for that client, is it the marketplace? Like I think or is it your boss? And if it’s your boss, then okay, let’s talk about how I can help you look successful in front of your boss so just being in tuned and intuitive about those things has been worthwhile. Carol: Awesome. So we have a question. One of our Thrive participants wants to know are your colleagues open to using targeted media such as African American digital properties? Or do you find that they’re using the standard sites hoping that cross-cultural consumers will come? What do you think about that? Sabrina: I would say if by colleagues, they’re referring to my agency colleagues Yes. If my colleagues, you’re referring to are my clients I’d say No. And it’s purely out of ignorance. I mean what they expect us to know is their customer. So for example, back to the Hepatitis B product. If this product disproportionately affects Asian Americans and that is the primary person that we’re going to be communicating it behooves us to understand and immerse ourselves in that culture to understand what media they’re consuming. Where are they going? Who are the vendors that participate in the consumption of that media and offering those as recommendations. So if we don’t we’re remiss and they’re going to miss opportunities and learning as much as those vendors and having those vendors providing us with information is a crucial part of our job. Carol: Awesome. So a final question. I think we are running out of time so if they are anymore questions… Sabrina: Sorry everybody. Carol: She’ll be happy to share and give some feedback. I want to know what makes you thrive? Sabrina: What makes me thrive is always getting on a plane and going to a place solo. I do lots of solo vacations and I think back to the what makes you feel confident they’re kind of the “Sabrina Physical Challenges” I do where I go to a place I’ve never been before. Usually a place where I don’t speak the language. I’ve been obsessed with Latin America but now I’m starting to to know Spanish a little bit. Carol: I know me too! Sabrina: So now that’s not working. You should go Latin America But I like being reaffirmed that people everywhere are generally going through the same struggle. People everywhere respect the currency of being polite. People everywhere respect the currency of wanting to have family to be able to eat, to be able to sleep, to able to live comfortably and those things sort of feed me. And remind me of the customer. Like people. Just people. [Carol: Any favorite spots?] Sabrina: I love Argentina I love Italy and it has nothing to do with the food though those two things are probably [Carol:There are a lot of things in Italy] And wine and food and wine and food Carol: And fashion. Sabrina: And fashion! Sabrina: And I do love Spain. And I want to go next to South Africa. Carol: Yeah. Sabrina: Yeah! Carol: Well, thank you so much! Sabrina: Thank you everybody! Carol: If there’s anymore questions please put them on the chatroom and you can watch this as much as you want. It will be on demand But thank you for joining us. Sabrina: You’re very welcome. Carol: And look forward to more successful amazing things coming from you. Sabrina: Yay! Carol: Enjoy the rest of your week and do the protest. Sabrina: Yeah. Carol: You know, keep it up! Sabrina: Occupy those bridges. Carol: Occupy the bridges. Take care everyone. Sabrina: Bye. Carol: Bye, bye!