Last summer, Boehringer Ingelheim first announced its social media game on its Facebook page and since then there has been a great deal of discussion about what “Pharma’s first social game” will entail. With the beta launch scheduled for September 13, 2012 this speculation has only grown – how will a social media game help the pharmaceutical industry and what are they hoping to gain from it?
If nothing else, the launch of the game, “Syrum” has already garnered the company a huge amount of publicity all before its launch. The publicity for Boehringer Ingelheim will only continue to increase as the game is in use.
Players will potentially discuss the company in relation to the game – a conversation topic that no doubt has more traction than pharmaceuticals in some circles. This kind of brand awareness is a great asset for any business.
John Pugh, the company’s Director of Digital explained the goal behind launching a pharmaceutical social game. According to Daniel Ghinn; “ Speaking at Doctors 2.0 conference in Paris earlier this year, Pugh said that the game is a move away from the pharmaceutical industry’s image as ‘the most boring industry in the galaxy…my mission is to try and create a more engaging and a more emotional image for our company, and hopefully for the pharma industry as well.’’”
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Gaming has already seen a fair amount of success on social networks. Zygna’s game revenue is currently 12% of Facebook’s revenue and more companies are implementing some sort of gamification daily. The creation of Syrum will no doubt increase the engagement Boehringer Ingelheim receives on their Facebook page.
The beta test version of Syrum will already encourage fans to comment on the game, as the company explains via their Facebook page; “we are launching in public beta so that we can collaborate with players to evolve and improve the game. There will be chances to submit ideas (and vote on the best ones!), give feedback and really work together to make the game more exciting!”
For an industry that has been painted as hesitant towards social media, the launch of Syrum will solidify Boehringer Ingelheim’s place as a thought leader. Of course, the implementation of this game is behind the general wave of social media games, but the potential it holds is exciting for the industry. Creating a more casual and comfortable environment to discuss the pharmaceutical industry, even in the context of a social media game, will absolutely benefit the company and perhaps the industry as a whole.