Friday, February 22, 2013

Important Guidelines for Choosing a Medical Animator

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Today's guest post comes from Noël Ashekian, Marketing Communications Manager at Viscira. She can be reached at

As doctors have less discretionary time and are relying more on digital resources for product specific information, pharma companies have increasingly turned to visual communication tools that immediately capture their audience's attention. One of the most effective means for achieving this is through product mechanism of action (MOA) animations.

The migration toward "non-personal promotion" combined with the complexities and nuances associated with the development of scientific graphics prompts us to propose some basic guidelines for pharma brand managers in search of an effective medical animation firm.

The core objectives behind the medical animation process are to take complex information, break it down into component parts, and then transmit the essence in a succinct visual message that is accurate, educational, and aesthetically pleasing. When considering a company, it is important to take into account the following criteria:

1. Scientific Accuracy 

Although some creative license needs to be taken with respect to certain variables, such as color, texture, and spacing, it is important that the starting point for any video involves a rigorous process of scientific research in order to understand what is happening at the cellular or molecular level. To this end, it is critical that the medical animation company you choose not only has the necessary artistic expertise and technological savvy, but also a depth of medical knowledge. Some important information to decipher is the educational background and experience of the medical animators.

2. Educational Value Content is king.                                                                           

No matter what animation solution you use or how it is delivered, make sure that the medical information is something that HCPs truly want instead of just communicating what you think is important. Start by asking yourself, "What value can we bring physicians and how can we help them be more successful?" Answering this question will assist you in developing the script, which is a core part of the animation development process. It is essentially the story you tell about your product and the associated disease state.
A Viscira-produced image of HER2 over expressing cells

3. Visual Impact 

Animation is highly visual and you want the audience to be immediately captivated by what they see. This is why it is important to choose an animation team for your project that is able to create a visually engaging and memorable piece. You also want the finished product to have a long shelf life.

However, you still need to ensure that you strike the right balance between art and science; if there are too many visualizations, it can quickly veer into fiction. There are certainly instances where it's possible to take more liberty with various creative elements and other instances where restraint is appropriate based on the audience or the disease state. It's very important for the animation team to recognize and respect these differences.

4. Creative Delivery Options 

The delivery of 3-D animations has now advanced well beyond just a straight video viewing experience. There are stereoscopic formats, unique projection display options, fully interactive versions, and augmented reality possibilities that help enhance communication impact.

Depending on your marketing and communication goals, your chosen medical animation partner should guide you through the various options to help your piece stand out from the competition. It is important to think through these possibilities upfront when beginning a project so that the animation can be optimized for these various delivery options.

5. Repurposing Opportunities 

Choosing to create a quality 3-D MOA animation will represent a meaningful investment for your brand. If done correctly, your animation will be a key asset for your product that can be leveraged in many different ways across multiple deployment channels.

Your medical animator should help you clearly map out the various repurposing possibilities, from convention booth deployment, to the Web, to sales rep delivery. However, it is important that you and your partner also recognize the differences between these channels so that the animation or portions of the animation can be deployed in the most effective manner.

Using these criteria should help steer you to a quality medical animator. Budget may also have an impact in selecting the right partner to work with, but the level of investment is likely to be commensurate with the quality and sophistication of the finished product. In other words, you generally get what you pay for.

This article is a reprint from Pharmaceutical Executive Magazine and has been shortened for purposes of this blog.

Want to learn more about effective visual communication tools? Our media partners, Viscira will be joining us in less than two weeks at the ePharma Summit. There's still time to register, as a reader of this blog you'll receive 10% off by mentioning code XP1806BLOG when you join. To view our full program, download our brochure. We hope to see you March 4-6 in NYC!
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