My answer is unequivocal; companies need KOLs way more. Now, I’m going to leave my beef with the term KOL and KOL culture on the doorstep for now. Let’s dissect why this view should be a “no brainer”, but also, why as a community, we seem to have not recognised this.
First and foremost, KOLs are ultimately influencers in whichever industry you choose to observe. And why are influencers valuable? Because, they have developed a level of ‘trust’ with their audience. If you don’t know, know now that trust is one of the key drivers of sales. So why do the big companies struggle to build this trust with their customers? It’s simple, they’re faceless and like any faceless entity trust is a hard thing to build. It’s like trying to have an internet relation with anon9005 over MSN messenger…not very trust inducing. That’s why, forever, companies have hired public figures to endorse their products…nothing new there.
However, for some reason I’ve observed a strange dynamic where medical professionals are behaving like the companies are the Prom Queen/King, and we’re the emaciated, sun starved nerd sneaking prom date requests into their locker. How did this dynamic get so upside down?
Firstly, we should all recognise – as the influencer; people are paying us to be US! As practitioners we should be focused on building our audiences, patient base and expertise in our chosen interest. Any added attention from companies is a nice bonus that we get to decide if we want it or not. Unfortunately, a few of us have sold our souls for a pay cheque and are a “glorified corporate drone [GCD]” (a dynamic we wouldn’t be in if we understood our value). Furthermore, you surely would not have started your own private medical practice if that was your ambition – trust me there are easier ways to get a job. What’s even worse is that now, because of impatience to succeed, fresh-faced practitioners are coming through and thinking being a “GCD” for these companies is career actualisation…the result…a world where the companies believe they are more important in the dynamic; and sadly, practitioners are beginning to subscribe.
The moment we become more patient, remember why we embarked on the private sector journey, and focus on building our professional brand the sooner it would be clear that we, the practitioners / KOLs are the prize geese and are the ones who should have the Prom notes snuck into our lockers.