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Karin Lohitnavy, Owner, Founder, and Master Connector, Midas group

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of robust healthcare in our lives. While more people are fending for healthcare services at hospitals, putting strain on already struggling healthcare systems across the world, most of the pharma sector was doing its deed by focusing on researching and developing the COVID-19 vaccine.

After painstaking months of spiking COVID-19 cases and death rates in December 2020 first COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech was approved for emergency usage. While the news of COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and other companies was widely appreciated bringing these brands in focus, it’s the extensive support and unique public strategies of their healthcare PR agencies that have contributed to the growth of such companies on a global platform.

Midas PR is one among the renowned PR agencies and an award-winning communications consultancy based in Bangkok that has leveraged extensive local connections and international expertise to support the growth of a wide range of international clients. These comprise of very significant players in the medical and pharma industries, including Pfizer, Bayer, Cigna, Miskawaan Health group, and Takeda, right through to regulated health and wellness product providers looking to make a name for themselves and expand to new markets.

Established in 2007 by Karin Lohitnavy, Owner, Founder, and Master Connector, the company has paved a successful path and crossed several milestones now operating within a network of 96 partner agencies globally through associations with PROI (Public Relations Organization International) worldwide and PRCA (Public Relations Communications Association) in South-east Asia.

Read the following interview where Karin has shared the uniqueness of Midas PR and how the consultancy is disrupting the healthcare PR sector with its mindful approach.

Brief us about how you have set yourself apart from the competition through your expertise in healthcare PR and communication? 

Our commitment to the success of our clients stems from the values upon which we base our offering, and those are honesty, a diverse international skillset – our staff collectively speak 15 languages fluently – and ultimately providing a good return on investment.

We also focus on providing a rewarding working environment for our staff to enable them to be the best possible versions of themselves. We also offer various training workshops so they can enhance their skills and leadership development. We have worked with and cultivated strong partnerships with hospitals, universities, NGOs, and government helping us to use these valuable connections for clients to achieve their goals.

In Thailand, no specialized agencies are providing their services only for healthcare. To breach this gap our team caters to the healthcare sector specifically. We provide our clients with extensive experience in bespoke training for executives and senior management in key message communication, crisis comms, interview preparation, and media communication generally, and more recently in responding to evolving situations and potential sensationalization in the sphere of social and digital media.

We develop interactive workshops which are effective in putting the client’s representatives in real-world (and sometimes quite stressful) scenarios and involving media partners as part of the programs.

What other services does Midas PR offer, and how are you making an impact in the global healthcare industry? 

Our typical support package for clients looking for a full 360-degree integrated contract spans strategic services, communications planning, content strategy, influencer marketing, market research, brand positioning to general business planning assistance.

We handle all content creation, including press relations materials, localization, editorial, speechwriting, and other tactical documents as part of a much wider strategic brief, spending a lot of time at the beginning of our partnership on developing an understanding of the client’s goals and identity.

This is before proceeding to study core stakeholders and key audiences before any strategic development begins. We are supporting one pharma client with a campaign that runs conjointly across 8 different countries, with Thailand serving as the regional communications hub.

Brief us about your journey in the healthcare industry. 

I’m immensely proud that our company continues to work with the very top names in the pharma and medical services – Takeda, Bayer, Pfizer, as well as new, homegrown, and developing companies in the wellness and emerging fields like therapeutic Psilocybin and cannabis. By working with healthcare partners over the long term, we have effectively and consistently built our authority as the PR partner of choice to a growing number of eminent, high-capitalization international companies.

Our work in this area is rewarding as I find it an inspiration that much of the work done by these companies has a real impact at the frontier, leading to positive effects on both society and people’s health outcomes.

Our agency is also part of the PROI APAC Healthcare Group, where we work in collaboration with the best PR practitioners in this sector and discuss new trends that will significantly impact the industry as well as provide valuable support for one another.

I believe we have real chemistry with our customers in the health sector. I also feel I can immediately draw parallels here with the Covid situation. There is an opportunity even in times of adversity to influence the economy and/or the tourist sector of a country and affect development. Takeda is a great example, a client for over 3 years now, and we are supporting the communication of its achievements in pioneering a full vaccine roll-out to combat Dengue.

We have also provided a high level of communications and on-the-ground support for Cigna with the Cigna Run Therapy program, the official miniseries, and previously with the sponsorship of the ‘Bangkok Post Cycling Championship 2019.’

Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies and platforms in PR and communication has transformed the industry, and what more could be expected in the near future? 

The adoption of new technology has altered how we communicate, especially through traditional media. Social media has made PR more challenging where solutions are required to be more reactive and time-sensitive; however, it has also expanded the need for global organizations to build and deliver strong awareness and reputation management philosophies.

People can now work from any location, so we take advantage by bringing together a multi-disciplinary team working in different locations. Part of that reactive capacity empowers clients in crisis response situations (we provide a 24-hour crisis helpline, one of few regional agencies that provide this); but it is also important in designing and delivering messaging and campaigns that meet the client’s brief quickly, which in turn helps in driving competitiveness.

Taking into consideration the current pandemic and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your company to sustain operations and ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time? 

Effective communications during any crisis are crucial to sustaining customer trust, supporting employee morale and confidence, and retaining company stability. We promote our key messages via social media, websites, press releases, and all manner of other public relations channels, so in this respect, we are agile and therefore operating independently of macro implications.

Of course, our employees’ safety is paramount, and we have an excellent crisis management team that extends internally to support team members in need. We follow policies and procedures to provide the best protection for our employees, wear masks, and work remotely (when appropriate) to avoid the risk of spreading the virus, as well as circumventing any potential business impact.

We place a great deal of emphasis on the understanding of mental wellness and the importance of mental health. We have a blog section of our website which focuses on stress management, work-life balance, learning lessons for personal development, and so on, and a Thai language version of the resource on Facebook.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the healthcare PR sector? 

Collaboration is key, and for companies to work in harmony with their chosen PR actioner in a mindset of transparency and shared goals is fundamental in delivering a strong base for growth. We achieve this through strategizing; that is, message creation, deliverability, and visibility of results, but the collaborative partnership is key to achieving success in this industry.

We see a great deal of innovation in the medical sector particularly, from wearables and smart healthcare to AI-augmented consultation, robot-assisted procedures, new therapeutics, automated claims processing by insurers and remote consultation, follow-ups, and assigning patients to the most appropriate specialist, all with real-time results reporting which drives improvement.

From the medical provider’s perspective, ultimate patient care is the absolute goal, and so amplifying stakeholder efforts in developing, transforming, growing, and promoting its delivery and optimization is a key focus area for us as an agency.

Where do you envision your organization to be in the long run and what are your future goals? 

Our vision is to be a leading PR firm in Southeast Asia, and that is a journey that inspires us to constantly improve, demonstrate our core values and be increasingly competitive. We continue to work closely with our partners at PRCA_SEA and strive to jointly create regulation for our industry built on raising the bar by which all industry participants can be fairly judged. Where there are widely accepted quality and performance metrics that are tangible, there is validity for industry contributors who are dedicated to improving the standards of the PR industry across the region. Therefore, we see ourselves as being a leader among our peers, which in turn constantly pushes us to innovate and stay out in front.

Exhibiting Excellence

“I am pleased to provide a recommendation for Midas PR, hired by Cigna Thailand during 2019 as our chosen public relations agency. During the time we have been working together, the Midas account relationship team has served us as a PR specialist and consultant for Cigna and was able to establish an excellent relationship and engagement between our company and media as well as the public. This has helped grow the market’s awareness of Cigna and enhance our public profile, and in helping us achieve success from a PR perspective.

Midas PR has developed and implemented all our public relations campaigns and media management, starting with PR strategic planning and development through to execution and reporting. The team has excellent PR skills and a sense of what works, as well as a service-minded approach. Best of all, most campaigns were successfully launched and achieved impressive results which met measurable targets across every dimension. I am confident that Midas will provide you with impressive service and will never disappoint you. I am equally sure that Midas will add value to your company.” – Khemmika Imthongbai, Cigna Thailand