If you are launching a new product into a market that didn’t exist before, it can be difficult to promote as your customers will have nothing to compare it to and may be hesitant to try it out.
This was the problem faced by our animal pharmaceuticals client Elanco who had recently launched a product called Vulketan, a topical gel for horse wounds that is proven to encourage healing and prevent the formation of hypergranulation tissue.
As stated by equine surgeon Justine Kane-Smyth in a recent issue of the Veterinary Times: “It is probably fair to suggest horses possess a unique talent for getting themselves into all sorts of unimaginable trouble, picking up a myriad of injuries along the way.”
If a horse picks up a deep wound, the owner will want to call their vet to ask what the best course of action would be and treatment will almost certainly involve ensuring the wound is kept clean while it heals. But that can be difficult and bandaging such a large animal isn’t always easy, especially if that animal spends much of its time outside and running around.
A NEW SOLUTION
A number of alternative solutions to bandaging have been used over the years, including spider webs and Manuka honey (which can actually be quite effective). Elanco have taken that solution of coating the wound in a protective substance and perfected it by creating a highly technical product that contains ketanserin, a serotonin antagonist that aids the healing process and speeds up granulation (scabbing).
It’s an innovative, new product and Elanco knows it will be extremely useful for vets. But as mentioned, Vulketan is a brand new product in a brand new market. On the one hand, that’s great because there is no competition, but on the other, it means there is nothing to compare it against and Elanco needs to convince vets that it is an effective, genuine and clinically tested product before they will consider it as a treatment option for their clients.
We worked with Elanco to create some promotional material for the product but knew that the most effective way to gain vets’ trust would be through referral from their peers.
With this in mind, our next problem to solve was: How do you encourage vets to try out Vulketan in the first place and get them to record their experiences in a way that can be curated and shared with their peers?
Our answer was to design a web app for a programme called the Equine Wound Progress Project, where vets could record written case studies about their horse wound treatment progress, regardless of whether they used Vulketan or not.
To help incentivise vets, every entrant is guaranteed to receive a thermal travel mug. On top of that, vets who share photos with their case studies where treatment is required will be entered in a free prize draw to win one of four GoPro Hero 4 cameras. Each photo case study a vet submits counts as an entry so the more they submit, the better their chances.
The design was intentionally neutral, with branding kept fairly minimal. As stated, vets could use the app to record horse wound cases even if they didn’t use Vulketan, positioning Elanco as an organisation interested in practical horse wound treatment solutions and not as a company commissioning vets to use their product.
On the surface, the app contains some basic information about Vulketan and allows users to download a leaflet with more detailed information. It also allows vets to email a document with more detailed information to their clients after prescribing Vulketan if they want to.
But once vets complete the short registration process, they can begin recording horse wound cases. “It was vital that the app was useful for vets but also short, concise and simple to use,” says FdK Managing Partner Simon de Kretser.
Vets would likely use this app while out on call, so making it mobile-friendly and easy to add images and short notes means it can be used even on the busiest of days.
Whatever treatment the vet records, it provides extremely useful information for Elanco on how vets tackle wounds and what they choose to prescribe. For those using Vulketan, there is a separate box where they can record their experience with it, providing not only great feedback but also a range of independent case studies Elanco can share with other vets.
As well as the app, we designed a number of promotional items for Vulketan directed at vets plus a leaflet and several e-shots to promote the app.
We also designed information leaflets for horse owners, though they could only be given one by a vet who had seen a wound and decided using Vulketan was the best choice of action.
The app will initially run until the end of September so that Elanco can gauge interest and decide if they want to allow vets to continue using it in future.
We are keen to find out what vets think too!