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Being a Lockdown Leader: Our Virtual Strategy

Congratulations to our Managing Director, Stephanie Hall, who has been recognised by the National Business Women’s Awards 2020! Stephanie and Uptake Strategies have now been shortlisted for the Lockdown Leader award amongst some inspiring competition. This new pharma marketing award category is in recognition of being a leader of people and an organisation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, taking charge, making decisions, and providing clear direction with a strong healthcare marketing strategy.

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on our lives, economies, healthcare systems and workers during 2020. Significant changes to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry have called for what has been described as the “digital pharma reset”, as pharma companies accelerated their digital investment and built new skills and ways of working.


In March 2020, we displayed agility by successfully adapting our healthcare marketing strategy, pivoting to a 100% virtual working model and transitioning all client consulting projects and workshops into a digital format to effectively navigate through the global pandemic.

We focused on providing reassurance through client communications, the website and LinkedIn, that Uptake Strategies was fully operational despite the pandemic. We wrote a series of LinkedIn posts sharing top tips for working virtually as a team and running effective virtual workshops to support pharma teams with staying on track with their business goals. In March and April 2020 alone, Uptake Strategies were able to deliver 64 working sessions in 82 countries with over 2000 cross-functional participants, and the feedback received was fantastic:

“The Uptake team has really mastered the art of designing and delivering interactive, productive, and fun workshops on Zoom, these sessions have far exceeded my expectations of what we can achieve working virtually”. (Global Marketing Director, Pharmaceutical Company, USA)

Alongside this, we commissioned research to look at the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare professionals across major countries. The Uptake team were asked by several clients to run training webinars for marketers on how to assess the COVID-19 impact on their healthcare system and doctors, and how to switch their sales channels, healthcare marketing strategy and ways of working. We also established weekly COVID-19 email alerts to share the latest news on changes affecting pharma clients. With these initiatives, the Uptake team displayed current knowledge on the impact of COVID-19 for pharmaceutical companies and were commissioned for new projects to help build robust plans for 2021. This resulted in stronger relationships with our clients all around the world.


Another integral part of our healthcare marketing strategy to navigate through the global pandemic has been ensuring our internal team receive the support they need whilst they work remotely. From virtual team activities that maintain team morale, to providing the best equipment for comfortable working at home, we have demonstrated our commitment to supporting the health, wellbeing and productivity of all team members at Uptake Strategies. Various initiatives have embodied our core values:


Our weekly ‘wellbeing tips’ email newsletter has recommended valuable resources to team members that can improve their overall health and wellbeing.


We have listened to our team – collecting regular feedback on the health, wellbeing, and workload of team members with monthly team ‘pulse checks’ covering 5 key engagement areas. We have acted swiftly on any feedback to ensure individuals receive the support they need, increasing engagement from 80% in March to 91% in August 2020.


We have actively reviewed the workload of team members and hired new talent parallel to our high growth, to ensure we have enough resources available.


We have communicated effectively as a team to plan for busy periods, keeping each other informed of our workloads and anticipating any challenges that may arise.


We have encouraged our team to take regular breaks, get fresh air, exercise daily and eat healthily to support their overall health and wellbeing. We have also encouraged team members to proactively check in on each other with virtual ‘cups of tea’ and frequent informal catch ups.


We have provided excellent development and learning opportunities around time management and prioritisation to help our team find the right work-life balance for them.


Line managers have received special training in supporting their team’s health, wellbeing and productivity, and we have also assigned dedicated mental health first aiders within the team. Alongside this internal support, team members can contact the BUPA EAP (Employee Assistant Programme) if they are worried about any aspect of their mental or physical wellbeing.

Through this health and wellbeing strategy, we have fostered a culture of kindness, trust, agility and teamwork during lockdown, so that our team members feel supported throughout their journey with Uptake Strategies. This has resulted in a happy, engaged, motivated and productive team, who have learnt many new skills along the way.

We hope that our agile response to the pandemic – moving to 100% virtual working whilst still inspiring teams to deliver exceptional healthcare performance, alongside our dedication to supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of team members with meaningful initiatives, merits our nomination for this Lockdown Leader Award.

Having won 13 Pharma and UK Business Awards since 2013, we keep our fingers crossed for another pharma marketing award and we will keep you posted on the winners on 14 May 2021!

Being a Lockdown Leader | Our Virtual Healthcare Marketing Strategy