In 2014, IVG Hospitals rolled out a new service – a veterinary specialty compounding pharmacy. Veterinary medications can now be compounded in dosage forms, flavors and concentrations to suite the needs of pets ranging from Great Danes to Chiahuahuas, cats, kittens, and everything in between.
The niche was not saturated, and though the IVG Hospitals brand is known locally, a compounding pharmacy is not a standard service provided by veterinary hospitals.
The goal for the launch was for internal teams and external prescribing veterinarians to take note and remember that this new service was available locally and readily.
This was going to call for something different.
WE CALLED IT OPERATION CUPCAKE DROP
We hand-delivered branded cupcakes (gluten free too, don’t give me that look, they were wrapped separately), informational materials, and bags of goodies for the hospital teams one cold wintry day in January.
Cupcakes were a big deal in 2014
There was also a communication plan – emails and social media – to get the word out beyond our collective cupcake delivery routes.
I shot some in-house stock photography to use on the materials, website, business development materials and in ads.
He’s behind me isn’t he…
Then the team turned inwards – in-house veterinarians at each of the hospitals in Massachusetts needed to be reminded that a new service was available for their patients as well.
The pharmacist made a few visits, gave a few talks at hospitals in the IVG network. Prescriptions would increase, then drop back down again when the memory of the talk faded. The new service was struggling to retain that top of mind recall factor.
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
So I took a picture of our pharmacist, turned it into a life-size cut out with a whiteboard thought bubble, and he was deployed to the hospitals. It worked! The service was top of mind, because he was literally standing right there.
When the teams no longer needed the regular reminders, he was used to prank other employees. There were days when it was nerve wracking to open doors or walk around corners.
In 2017 the compounding pharmacy is licensed in 8 states and the numbers are steadily rising. The pharmacy is poised to open a second location, and the team of 2 has grown to a team of 8.