The Power Network: Intersection of KOLs, Advocacy, and Social Media

The Power Network: Intersection of KOLs, Advocacy, and Social Media
October 9, 2019 No Comments » Blog Post Snowfish

The life science industry is on a never-ending quest to engage the right stakeholder network. While most healthcare executives already realize the need for identifying and mapping clinical key opinion leaders (KOLs), many are missing the fact that this is only a small piece of the integrated network that is critical to engage. In fact, extra value can come from a well-structured analysis of the KOLs PLUS advocacy organizations, and social media patient key opinion leaders (PKOL). Each offer unique perspectives that can define a successful launch strategy. 

KOLs, advocacy organizations and social media each are critical for the commercialization of a life science products, but it is the integration of these entities that is key. Technology has made the world accessible and connected which makes this feat less daunting and allows critical insights to be gathered, categorized and acted upon.  Are you leveraging this convergence in your commercialization planning?

To bring this concept to life, we highlight an example that depicts the inter-connectivity between KOLs, advocacy organizations, social media and PKOLs. We were charged with understanding the advocacy landscape for kidney disease. We scoured the earth to find the groups that would bring these various perspectives together while learning all we could including alignment of advocacy efforts, reimbursement, social media followers, guidelines, patient & physician education efforts, publications and of course, disease state interest. Additionally, building the network involved linking the key entities of KOLs, PKOLs, advocacy organizations, and social media. 

To no surprise, dozens of organizations deal with renal disease in one form or another ranging from those with a broad focus such as the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) to more narrow such as the American Association of Kidney Patient (AAKP), and Renal Physicians Association (RPA). Vital to this analysis was to determine the alignment between the goals of the advocacy organization and their commercial interests.   

Among the scores of large societies and foundations with complex infrastructure was a small one-person shop, led and managed by an individual who suffered with CKD. While this patient advocacy organization was mini it was indeed quite mighty. The efforts of this single individual drove thousands of followers to the organization on social media. Clinical KOLs serve on her advisory board. She and her fellow patients (PKOLs) regularly testify before Congress and lead legislative and regulatory organizations regarding how policies related to reimbursement or other regulation impacts how they can live with their kidney disease. This organization also develops strong educational content for patients and would often opine a new product or treatment. This important integration of key entities was identified through a single organization.

Leveraging the inter-connectedness of professionals, patients, advocacy and the power of social media is key to a successful product strategy. Are you ready?

Snowfish is a strategy consulting company which for almost two decades, has been entrenched in the therapy industry. We are often called upon to help our clients think in new ways whether it is their approach to stakeholders, advocacy, and other critical areas. Please reach out to us at to learn more.   


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