Following the Accelerate! program by 2014 Philips split in two stand alone companies: HealthTech and Lightning Solutions (Philips, 2014). The HealthTech company integrates technologies and designs into people-centric solutions. To do so they have to be at the center of thought leadership and connected to their key audiences to make them aware of Philips B2B healthcare offerings. From this, the challenge emerged how to generate insights from their key audiences and increase brand affinity and engagement (LinkedIn, 2011).
Reaching Target Audience
Initial research revealed the opportunity to access a global professional audience of 5 million doctors, clinicians and other medical staff on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional context that is both trusted, as seen credible for reliable information sharing. Quickly followed the strategy to build an online community (Brouat, 2016). A Custom Group was brought to life called Innovations in Healthcare to connect professionals and facilitate collaboration opportunities. Philips would post high-quality content and questions to engage them, such as video’s, the latest news of products, polls and posting top influencers of the week. Membership was acquired through InMail invites, promotional displays and viral activities. Their campaign seemed very effective; resulting in almost 10% of targeted people joined the group (LinkedIn, 2011).
Relevant Content and Results
Innovations in Healthcare has become an important online destination for professionals for the latest news, insights and interaction with peers. 116.611 members are active today (LinkedIn 2016). The diverse audience includes industry experts, consultants, analysts, clinicians, management, administrators, and executives, among others healthcare professionals. To facilitate relevancy of content subgroups were created; global healthcare, radiology, oncology, cardiology and woman’s health. Since the group is created for facilitating discussion and conversation, customer posted content is subject to strict criteria. Spam including advertisements for jobs, products, services or unrelated content will be removed. Leaving behind contact details will result in banned account from the group (LinkedIn, 2016).
Long-Term Community Viability
Although Philips is experiencing success, the finish line has not yet been reached. In order to maintain the healthy growth of the online community Philips should continue attracting a diverse audience that only signs up as member because it believes the Group provides net benefits not easily available elsewhere. They are attracted by posting high value and relevant content, and are the easiest to attract. This audience is key to the platform’s growth as they form the diversity that attracts content providers in turn. Building upon this basic commitment of members, an emotional feeling of attachment and identification should be developed. Research has shown that people will engage to higher extent with the content provided, and are open to greater in-depth discussions. To be precise they will be increasingly motivated to maintain and promote conversations, guiding discussions to collectively valued themes, managing disputes between users and discouraging off topic posts (Bateman, Gray & Butler, 2011).
P.H. Gray, B. S. Butler, P. J. Bateman (2010). ‘Impact of Community Commitment on Participation in Online Communities’, Information Systems Research 22(4), pp. 841–854.
Philips Case Study, https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/business/marketing-solutions/regional/en-uk/Site%20Assets/PDFs/casestudies/linkedin-casestudy-philips-uk.pdf Last visited 6 March 2016
Royal Philips Electronics (2014) ‘Addressing Global Challanges‘, Annual Report 2014, pp. 10-11.
L. Brouat (2016). How Philips Built A Community on LinkedIn, http://linkhumans.com/blog/how-philips-built-a-community-on-linkedin, last visited 6 march 2016.