Boosting creativity in pharmaceutical marketing

Pulse Issue 2 2023

"Boosting creativity in pharmaceutical marketing"

How often have you been to an industry event where the first thing the keynote asks is to write a short poem to describe yourself?

Could you write a simple sonnet about yourself or Haiku of what you do?!

That was exactly the task set by Alex Waddleton to the 120 pharmaceutical marketers at the recent Sydney pharmaceutical marketing event in Barangaroo, sponsored by Bastion Brands.

As co-aut­hor of  “Right Brain Workout”, Alex believes we all need to spend time reconnecting with our ‘right brain’ and start thinking more creatively in our day-to-day life and work.

He believes creativity isn’t limited to artists, musicians and writers – but to any profession, including science and pharmaceuticals.

He points to a startling fact that 98% of five-year olds have a genius level of creative problem solving. By adulthood, this figure falls to only 2%.

It’s why Alex’s mission about ­­being creative has never been more important to bringing life-changing ideas to life, unlocking solutions to global issues, helping people connect better and, importantly, making each day just that little bit more fun!

Like writing a poem to describe yourself, his talk outlined many hints, tips and real-life examples of the power of creativity to change behaviour and outcomes.

It led us to thinking of a few ways we could apply this in our day-to-day work in promoting pharmaceutical brands and providing medical education to HCPs.

Here are 3 ways that could help bring more creativity, spark new ideas and maybe help create better campaigns.


Clearly HCPs make decisions based on data and evidence – after all, they are scientists in a scientific world. But they’re also human and therefore make decisions on strong emotional triggers as well. Like all of us, they have fears, frustrations and desires. Those emotions affect their prescribing decisions and behaviours towards pharmaceutical companies.

While important, it is NEVER just about the data and facts. Injecting emotional content is vital to changing entrenched habits and creating better connections.

The creative question:  Are you maximising the power of emotional content in your marketing campaigns? Take a moment to think of 3 ways you could inject more emotion!



We’ve all been in a ‘workshop’ and struggled to stay involved and focussed.  Rather than make them the ‘free-flowing’ environments where ideas thrive, we bog them down in agendas and power-points that miss the mark, and achieve little.

How can you make them more dynamic and alive with creativity?

Start with a 5-minute poem-writing session… ask everyone to sketch and share ‘what they did on the weekend… try some exercises from the right brain workout book… How about some communication starters and ice-breakers that help attendees feel more involved and relaxed and open to broader thinking – and not shutting them down initially because they won’t be ‘approved by Medical’?

Remember: A more effective workshop is one you’ve already ‘workshopped’ to include more opportunities for participants to feel more creative.



It’s always important to remember why we do what we do – improve patient’s lives. The work we do helps patients recover from serious illness, live with chronic disease, prevent serious disease, have more time with loved ones and have a better life. But it’s easy to forget about this as work tasks take over.

Here’s one simple creative idea that can help re-align our focus. In every meeting, select a member of your team to play ‘the patient’ for the entire meeting. Having a dedicated patient voice in the room could change the discussion and ‘usual’ thinking and help others to better understand the patient POV.

It not only gets the creative juices flowing, but helps everyone realise it’s more than just the medicine.


Developing creative ways to communicate is what we do, all day every day – and we love it. But even we need to take the time to think of different ways to approach things and come up with new creative solutions – or we stagnate and become formulaic.

Staying at the forefront of ways to boost idea generation and maintaining a dynamic, highly creative approach to our day-to-day activities has never been more vital than today.


 Simon Davies
M: 0402 425 545

 Bruce Williams
M: 0407 359 582


We are always interested in hearing from great people dedicated to making a career in pharmaceutical communications. If you’re ready to make a positive impact with Bastion Brands, get in touch today.