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The HONY Effect

The HONY Effect

May 31, 2016 0 Comments

Six years ago, Brandon Stanton began a photography project called Humans of New York (HONY):

“The initial goal was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers on the street, and create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants. Somewhere along the way, I began to interview my subjects in addition to photographing them. And alongside their portraits, I’d include quotes and short stories from their lives,” Stanton explains on his website.

Stanton is part man-on-the-street photojournalist, part human experience archivist — a combination that generates evocative images and accompanying stories that are often even more powerful.

In his latest photo series, Stanton chronicles the stories of children with cancer, their parents, doctors and surgeons, nurses and social workers. The resulting images are heartbreaking, breathtaking and most important, fruitful.

In just 13 days following the series’ launch, HONY’s digital following donated more than $3.4 million to pediatric cancer research and child life support services at New York’s Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center—well over the original fundraising goal of $1 million.

Healthcare communicators understand the weight patient testimonials carry in many facets of fact-finding and decision making for patients. Patient stories increase disease awareness and funding, drive clinical trial recruitment and often impact adoption of new therapies.

We work to find compelling patient stories and make them available through the digital channels, earned media, events and other creative outlets.

But how do we create honest content that resonates as HONY does?

  1. Remember that patients’ stories document their experiences, not corporate messages. Keep the patient at the forefront. This is her story and she is the one who will tell it with the most honesty, in a way that will deliver the most impact.
  2. Encourage the conversation. The images and stories captured in HONY are powerful, but often it’s the comments that generate the strongest reactions. Fostering conversation about a shared experience, within the boundaries of HIPAA and other regulatory considerations, leads to peer interaction and improves the odds for audience engagement with a cause.

And most important, remember that, like Stanton, communicators curate the voices of many.

Everyone has a story to tell. When we faithfully catalog and relay these stories, we enable our pharma clients to better understand and better serve patients.

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