© BASICS 3 2013

SUMMARY: We’ve worked with Novartis on two levels.  First, we helped launch an “Ambassador” program that equipped selected employees to be representatives of the company, both internally and externally.  This was in response to ongoing criticism of the pharmaceutical industry concerning practices revolving around marketing, product testing, and pricing.  Second, we trained global communication staffs to reinvent their role in leadership support to become not just communicators but partners in running the business and driving results. 

HIGHLIGHTS: The Ambassador program was launched with a “Screening Series” that hosted executive-employee conversations about issues in healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.  Issues were brought to life by using pop culture opportunities (such as the film Constant Gardener or television show House) to launch discussions in ways relevant to employees.  Executives openly discussed difficult issues and answered employee questions, modeling the responses employees could use as they answered questions from customers, government regulators and neighbors.  The Screening Series was supported by various other tactics such as an internet “equiz” about issues, website background and social media.