Empowering People to Live their Best Life with Type 1 Diabetes
People living with diabetes are increasingly turning to technology to help manage their condition. Leading this revolution is Dexcom, a medical devices company that develops and manufactures continuous glucose monitors (CGM). The small wearable devices track a user’s glucose levels 24 hours a day, providing real-time data to patients.
For the past six years, Allison+Partners has served as marcomms agency of record for Dexcom, the pioneers of CGM, to support the growth of their business in the UK, the U.S and Canada. Our scope includes earned media relations for the DTC and healthcare professional groups, social media, a brand ambassador programme, multimedia content creation, research, measurement and some public affairs.
CGM technology can be life-changing for people with diabetes, however, it isn’t readily available on the NHS. Dexcom looked to Allison+Partners to align Dexcom’s message with CGM and build awareness for the brand, its product and features in the UK. The goal was to target people living with Type 1 diabetes and those closest to them, including caregivers, health care professionals, family and friends.
The challenge was that only 400,000 people in the UK have Type 1 diabetes, so the autoimmune condition does not easily make it onto the news agenda. To capture attention, we knew we needed to shift the message from the practical to the emotional.
To do this, Allison+Partners executed our 2020 Warrior Programme, as well as an integrated campaign around World Diabetes Day titled “Strength in Numbers” to raise awareness of the true cost of living with T1D and empowering our Dexcom Warrior community to give thanks to their support bubbles and our front-line workers during the global pandemic
One campaign case study of how this has been accomplished in the UK, was through the completion of a research project that Allison+Partners commissioned in partnership with Type 1 charity JDRF to explore patients’ attitudes and management of the condition. These included constant cognisance of their food intake, energy output, blood sugar levels, general health, as well as the equipment that keeps them alive.
The research found that over three quarters (76%) complained of suffering from stress, anxiety attacks or bouts of deep depression. Even the prospect of regular blood glucose checks caused 52% of those surveyed prolonged feelings of anguish and anger.
Market research also shows that awareness among healthcare providers and consumers remains low for a technology that should be the standard of care for diabetes management.
To close that gap, we were charged with making sure the world knows about CGM, which included leveraging regulatory approvals from FDA, Health Canada and the UK’s National Health Service among others.
This insight informed our strategy to engage influencers who live with the chronic condition on an emotional level to help drive awareness of and advocacy for CGM.
- complained of suffering from stress, anxiety attacks or bouts of deep depression
- prolonged feelings of anguish and anger
STRATEGY AND APPROACH
We developed an integrated “Live Your Best Life with Type 1” campaign to raise awareness of the true cost of living with Type 1 Diabetes to advocate for better education and affordable medication.
We organised a partnership with Type 1 charity, JDRF, to drive thought leadership content through insights gained from our research. The content focused on delivering emotive angles and case studies to consumer and trade media, Content included a range of topics from revealing the shocking costs of being diagnosed with Type 1 to the importance of helping people living with Type 1 diabetes to know their rights at work.
The data and insight from the study together with advice from JDRF and Dexcom reinforced the need for CGM to be more widely available to alleviate the anxiety of living with the condition. To personalise the message, we created a new community of people with Type 1 that included both macro and micro-influencer “Warriors” to create content and share their inspiring stories.
As a global team, we have developed a series of integrated communications campaigns across the globe, including in the U.S., Canada, UK, NL, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, France, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Australia, South Africa and more. This has included:
- Product Launches — A+P has launched Dexcom’s latest-generation product in multiple markets around the world, partnering with local A+P offices in each region as well as being charged to select and oversee other agencies in markets that don’t have an A+P presence.
- World Diabetes Day—Each year, the team crafts a globally relevant PR campaign that gets executed across all markets; in 2021, despite the pandemic, A+P achieved record-breaking results for Dexcom
- Global Ambassador Program—Dexcom’s Warrior programme is the envy of the healthcare space—the A+P team has grown the programme from 35 contracted Warriors to over 15,000 Warriors around the globe—many of whom want to tell their story for free
- Global Celeb Ambassador— Partnered with global superstar Nick Jonas on a Super Bowl LV ad and global digital campaign, securing over 10B+ impressions for the brand in less than 48 hours.
Through our integrated campaign, we were able to raise awareness of, and build advocacy for CGM as well as influence action in parliament to provide access to better education and affordable medication in the UK. In February 2022, we succeeded in one of our biggest goals, a formal review of CGM funding on the NHS, and in March 2022, NICE guidelines were updated to say that all individuals with type 1 diabetes should be offered a CGM device.
In conjunction with National Diabetes Awareness Month in November, we collaborated with nonprofit partners in the Global Movement for Time in Range, as well as Dexcom Warrior Nick Jonas, to advocate for greater access to diabetes technology in underserved communities.
Award-winning: PRWeek’s Healthcare: Ethical & OTC Consumer award, and PRovoke’s Medical Tech category
We secured media impressions totalling 10+ billion, an influencer reach of 43.7 million, an average SEO of 70 (scored using Trendkite on the average number of articles during the reporting period). Further, our efforts supported Dexcom in achieving strong growth in 2021 and the company grew beyond $2.45 billion in annual sales (41% YoY international growth), helped advance their next-generation product pipeline, as well as an improved profitability profile.
- We secured almost 70 pieces of coverage in the UK (almost 1 per month for 6 years) including stories in Evening Standard, Sunday Life, BBC The One Show, BBC Breakfast, Yahoo! News, Daily Mail, The Belfast Telegraph, The Independent, Sky News, The Times, Times Radio, GQ, Women & Golf and more
- Impressions totaled 10.1bn
- Social results included 673 posts from our Warriors and 43.7M impressions
- 100% positive or neutral sentiment
- Labour MP referenced Dexcom’s research on the true cost of diabetes in parliament to campaign for greater access to Type 1 diabetes resources on the NHS.
- Secured meetings with key political stakeholders across government and parliament – including ministerial advisers, members of relevant Select Committees and All Party Parliamentary Groups and civil servants. Our outreach and engagement programme has built understanding and awareness of the need to improve access to technologies for those with Type 1 and enabled us to raise specific issues in parliament through debates, questions and letters to ministers.
- Implemented a comprehensive Freedom of Information campaign across CCGs in order to gain an up-to-date understanding and picture of guidance regarding availability and access to rt-CGM across individual localities. This programme enabled us to expand our engagement with political stakeholders beyond those with an existing interest in diabetes.
- Secured and facilitated a site visit from the local constituency MP (a senior Cabinet Minister) to demonstrate the work, contribution and plans Dexcom have for the UK.