How NIA Fellow, Asma Khalil, used the power of media and PR to promote the HaMpton app
Ever wondered how you could harness the power of the media to promote your health innovation? This case study highlights how one NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellow worked with a PR agency to raise the profile of her app with consumers and healthcare professionals.
In May 2018, PR agency Iredale Communications was hired by Trakka Medical to help raise the profile of its HaMpton app in the mainstream media. The app allows pregnant women to accurately self-monitor their blood pressure at home. The agency developed a tailored plan of action over a four-month period, using a strategy focusing on three main strands.
The objectives of the campaign were to use oxygen of publicity in the media to further raise consumer awareness and make health professionals within the NHS more aware of its availability.
Following an initial meeting with HaMpton founder and NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellow, Professor Asma Khalil – during which all pertinent information required to build and plan the campaign was shared – the agency drafted the necessary documents to brief journalists. This included a one-page company background and a fact sheet on why the HaMpton app is so important in challenging the status quo in blood monitoring methods for pregnant women. Iredale Communications also worked with Asma to create a series of newsworthy stories to help attract the interest of the target media.
A launch story of the HaMpton app had already been published in the Evening Standard earlier in the year. Therefore, a new angle was required to interest national media journalists. Iredale Communications used the research carried out by Asma and her team around pre-eclampsia and white coat syndrome, plus her own expert analysis of how many women in the UK this affects, to create a newsworthy health story.
This one page brief was approved by Asma and pitched to the Medical Editor of The Daily Mail – a publication chosen for its solid reputation in the health industry and its core readership demographic which is HaMpton’s target consumer market. The Agency co-ordinated with the newspaper to answer further questions, arranged an interview with Asma, and briefed her in full ahead of this.
Broadcast media day
To coincide with the launch story in the print media, Iredale Communications created a broadcast-friendly version of the establishing story, drafted a one-page briefing document and approached more than 40 leading television and radio outlets across the UK.
The objective was two-fold:
- To create enough excitement to attract leading journalists to interview/film Asma at St George’s Hospital (where she is a Consultant Obstetrician)
- To set up a series of radio interviews with stations across the UK, which she could do over the phone.
Combined, this strategy created maximum impact.
In each case, the agency handled questions and queries from individual broadcasters and sent them required materials such as background and images on the app and information about Asma. They worked with Asma and the press team at St George’s to ensure both live and pre-recorded interviews could be carried out at the hospital.
For the actual media day, Iredale Communications was on site to handle the journalists and the interviews to ensure best outcome. They accompanied Asma throughout all her interviews and provided support and guidance where required.
To meet part of the original strategy to raise the profile of Trakka Medical and Professor Asma Khalil as one of the UK’s leading medical entrepreneurs, Iredale Communications used its strong business links to establish an opportunity within The Times, which was publishing a special supplement in the paper on the same day as ‘The Times and Sunday Times Tech Summit’, on 1st September.
The agency drafted a brief and pitched this to the editor of the supplement. Following further briefings an interview between the journalist and Asma was set up. Asma was fully briefed ahead of the interview.
Knowing that images can help significantly raise the profile of an article on the page, Iredale Communications successfully lobbied The Times to send a photographer to St George’s to take a series of images of Asma, which could be used in the article. They also facilitated a personal invitation for her to attend the summit.
Consumer/Mother and Baby/Pregnancy media and bloggers
As part of the overall strategy to raise the profile of the HaMpton App in the consumer media, the agency drafted a consumer-friendly media briefing, included high-res images of the product, and pitched this over the phone and email to more than 30 leading print and online publications. They also approached and briefed leading pregnancy bloggers/websites.
In their original proposal to Asma, Iredale Communications had outlined the sort of coverage expected to deliver for the project. The coverage achieved exceeded these expectations.
Television broadcast included interviews with Asma on Sky News, C5 News and ITV London while radio broadcast included interviews with BBC London News, North Manchester FM and Sunrise Radio, covering West Yorkshire, Glasgow and Manchester. The total ‘reach’ of listeners/viewers was over seven million people.
Print and online activity successfully delivered coverage in The Daily Mail and the MailOnline, The Times and a number of leading consumer magazines including Baby Magazine and Mother & Baby. The total reach of readers was 4.5 million.
For advice and tips on how best to harness the power of media and PR to promote your health innovation, read Will Iredale’s – Founder of Iredale Communications – blog for the NHS Innovation Accelerator here.