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Case Study: Crowdsourcing Inspiration

When a pharma client gave him just four weeks to build motivational content for a multi-day virtual product rollout for sales reps, Ruben Mancias turned the cameras on the reps themselves.

In mid-November 2020, just before Covid-19 cases would start to spike for the third time across the United States, one pharmaceutical firm had finished developing a treatment for the illness and was moving as quickly as possible to get it to market. The company needed to get 120 reps up to speed on all aspects of the treatment, but it also wanted the reps to understand and be motivated by the importance of their work at a critical moment for all of society.

While another planning agency focused on building the training content, Ruben Mancias at McVeigh Global Meetings & Events was tasked with developing an overarching theme for the launch and reinforcing it with video content weaved into the program at several points each day. A creative director for meetings management at McVeigh Global, Mancias was well versed in such projects—but never before had he been given only four weeks to complete such work for a five-day event.

MM0621ManciasMcVeigh2.jpgTo make the strongest impact with content he could develop in that time frame, Mancias (in photo) suggested the concept of reps “shaping the path forward,” meaning “how this team was going to help change the course of the pandemic,” he says. While much of the event would focus on the science behind the product, the client wanted the creative segments to be inspirational. “They knew what they wanted to achieve; they just weren’t sure of the form it should take,” he says.

So, Mancias started with a survey of reps in order to hear “what experiences inspired them to be part of the Covid business unit,” he says. Specifically, how Covid affected their lives—from the sacrifices made in their families’ quality of life to the frightening instances of illness among family, friends, or neighbors. “We got some incredibly personal stories,” Mancias says, “and we reached out to ask those reps if they would be willing to discuss those experiences in front of a camera.”  

“The client thought it could work with reps recording themselves,” he notes. “But I thought we could never get reps to open up in a way that captures their full stories unless they were guided by an experienced storyteller. Fortunately, the client was willing to listen to us.” 

As a result, Mancias brought in a seasoned documentary producer who, using a virtual studio set-up, “knew exactly what to ask each person” and then added conceptual visuals to each interview. For instance, one rep talked about losing not one but a few friends to Covid; in the final cut of that conversation, the producer used footage showing how it looks on a hospital floor where people suffering from Covid are cared for. The interview concluded with the rep expressing her determination to help stop the suffering of other patients and their families because of Covid. “We edited each interview and added music in post-production to make it an emotional journey that would resonate,” Mancias says. 

Over the course of the five-day virtual meeting, these interviews recounting reps’ personal challenges and their motivations to succeed in this critical role were interspersed between educational segments and during meals. And in the video that closed the five-day program, the event’s theme was brought full circle. Says Mancias: “The message was, ‘Yes, all of this has happened. But now you have the education and the mindset you need to shape the path forward and help the world get past this pandemic. And the company is here to support you.’”

The post-event feedback from attendees was satisfying to the firm and to Mancias. “The reps said that they felt really prepared intellectually and emotionally to take this product into hospitals and educate doctors and nurses,” he says.

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