Category Archives: Nitro

Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning 2017


Every year, Nitro’s UK office HQ participates in Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Cancer Support.

On 29th Sept we raised £144 by hosting a bake-off and raffle (Guess the number of sweets in the jar). The company CEO Jules Pancholi generously matched that amount on the company’s behalf, so the total comes (when rounded up) to £400! Thanks to everyone who took part!


Pharma Social Media Conference 2017 Recap

Recently, we sponsored and spoke at the Pharma Social Media Conference in London, 28 June 2017.

The conference programme consisted of an exciting day of presentations by high level executives from companies such as GE Healthcare, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squib and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Rebecca Joslin, Senior Director, Global Digital Engagement Strategy Lead, Shire, summed it up neatly: “Social media is a trust economy”. This sentiment really resonated with the audience.

As did “Reach you buy, engagement and loyalty you earn” from Jannick Friss Larsen, Senior Manager, Customer Experience, Europe, Teva Pharmaceuticals.

A recurring theme throughout the conference was that online users’ expectations have changed. No longer judged by just the most recent interaction with a pharma brand, the customer experience needs to be as good as any found online in the consumer world. As our Commercial Director, Andy Stafford said in his presentation: Put the user at the heart of your digital marketing activities. Research → Test →  Improve → Analyse → Repeat.

There was a general consensus that the starting point should always be the brand’s business/marketing objectives, as pointed out by Alex Saunders, Head of Global Digital Communications, GSK and also mentioned by our own Andy Stafford, who was name checked by a few fellow presenters for his comment “Better digital starts with a clear strategy”.

Andy-Stafford-Pharma-Social-Media-2017A key point highlighted by Aslihan Unal, Digital Strategy Group Manager, Janssen in her presentation: “Move Beyond Reporting to Real Measurement & Evaluation Which Showcases Social Media Benefit, Performance & Real World Benefit” is that  disease awareness is a key topic for patients, who are taking more control of their health management. Preventative care is becoming more important, particularly with Millenials, who reach out to their peers on social media as reliable sources of information about the disease, the treatment, and what questions to ask their healthcare professionals. It’s a win-win for everyone: Aware patients result in higher disease management which results overall in a healthier community.

An underlying sentiment was that HCPs are people → they are researching, you can engage with them when they are off-duty. No longer should the focus of pharma marketing be on features/benefits/products. Instead, find out what info is valuable to them through and where they spend time researching/interacting online through social monitoring and then create a social strategy that resonates with them.

If you’d like a copy of Andy’s presentation “Digital Outcomes Through Social”, please email us at We look forward to hearing from you!

Digital Pharma Europe Conference 2017 Recap

One of the top events in the digital pharma field that we couldn’t possibly miss this year is the Digital Pharma Europe Conference (17-19 May) held at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow, London. As a sponsor, we were represented by our international team consisting of colleagues from our UK, Irish and Italian offices.

The event, which ran over three days, started off with a fast-paced “Digital Technologies and Social Innovation day”, setting a buzzy and creative atmosphere that continued until the end of the conference on Friday. The attendees were extremely engaged in the presentations, most of which were followed by long Q&A sessions.   

We heard from delegates of the top life science companies, such as Pfizer, Biogen, AstraZeneca, MSD and Eli Lilly, but there were also delegates from some great startups who also delivered outstanding presentations. The common denominator of all talks was that the digital world is shaping the way we do business in all sectors, pharma notwithstanding, and the business world in general is  moving towards a more customer-centric mindset, whilst using the latest digital technologies to test, measure and learn from  users’ real-time behaviour.

The presentation delivered by our commercial director, Andy Stafford, touched on exactly these points. “In Digital, It’s All About the Outcomes. So Let’s Focus on the User” is its title,  which highlights how it’s not about who can shout the loudest to get his message across in the digital world, but who offers the greatest value, as defined by the customer.

The most innovative pharma companies are already experimenting with state-of-the-art  technologies such as chatbots to engage with both patients and HCPs. On this topic, Guy Shauli, Global Director, Social Media, AstraZeneca UK presented a case study “Chatbots — Real opportunity or just a buzzword?”. This tool, he says, enables honest dialogue with the audience, but also allows patients to ask questions they might otherwise feel embarrassed to ask their doctors. Chatbots are a good fit for the sector in that they adhere to pre-approved responses that can be tailored to pharma’s strict compliance mandates.

Another hot topic at the conference was healthcare’s embracing the digital shift from desktop to mobile. It’s estimated that over 50% of digital interactions in general  take place via mobile, and that on average we reach for our phones over 200 times a day! Many of the speakers stressed how important a  mobile-first website is, as it allows patients and HCPs alike to research information on the go. There was a sense throughout the conference that pharma companies are beginning to adapt, responding to customer expectations whilst achieving business’ goals.

The three days brought together more than 200 life science industry marketers, and it was a great way to share ideas and discuss the challenges that arise in this constantly evolving, digital marketing world.

We came back to our office full of insights and happy to have met so many great attendees. Unfortunately, it was difficult to speak to everyone, so if you want to get in touch to know more about our services or to have a chat about how we can help you achieve your commercial  goals, please email us at

We are here for you!



Pharma Social Media Conference June 2017

The Pharma Social Media Conference returns to London next week, 28th June, and our commercial director, Andy Stafford, will be presenting at this one-day event.

Attendees will learn how to create engaging and compliant social media strategies for the Life Sciences and Pharma sectors.

Andy will speak on the topic Digital Outcomes Through Social.

When: 28th June 2017, 12:30-12:45
Where: One America Square, London, EC3N 2LS

We’ll be exhibiting at the conference, stop by and say hi if you’re attending. We’d love to speak with you!

Giving Our All at Nitro Digital

We normally post about market developments, our latest projects or to offer a point of view. I’d like to depart from that slightly to share some thoughts on an organisation we feel passionate about, not in an earth-shattering, “this is so innovative” sort of way, but more as an expression of our company culture and a set of attributes that I believe are important in forming a well rounded organisation.

We operate in the digital marketing services industry and, let’s face it, it’s an industry—advertising, in particular—that has come under scrutiny in recent months for its lack of transparency. That said, marketing agencies can still make ethically based choices whilst striving to build a profitable, long term and sustainable business.

We choose to work in healthcare because it allows us to contribute  to the improvement of human and animal well being. I’m not for a moment saying that we are the be-all and end-all in this sector and I’d happily prostrate myself in honour of the many healthcare and life sciences professionals who I have met over the years doing much more worthy work in clinical care, research and product development and education. I hold a strong belief that technology and marketing skills can make a huge difference to making health care delivery more efficient. I like refer to our small role in this as “marketing with meaning”,  i.e. we choose to work in the healthcare sector rather than consumer goods, like, for example, Coke.

That leads me to talking our approach to “giving” at Nitro. I believe giving is an important part of an organisation’s culture, both internally—in terms of sharing knowledge and effort selflessly—and also externally, in terms of “small acts of kindness” to those less fortunate. Obviously, that has to be pre-dedicated by being profitable since we are not externally funded but, where we can, I believe strongly that we should give something back. We are also a relatively small organisation that has to manage growth, service and investment demands so let’s just call this a direction of travel as opposed to a “wow, look at all this, have a pat on the back” moment. I believe we’ve been making a contribution that is scaling, and I’d like to share some examples of that. I hope that one of our most significant efforts will be the placing of 1% of our equity aside for the creation of a charity fund (in the event that some liquidity is achieved for it in the future)—an idea we are unashamed to have stolen from the likes of Google and Salesforce.

On a business level, over the years, in terms of product development, through our ULTRA (Unleash the Right Advocates) suite of products/services we’ve collaborated with hundreds of health care professionals (HCPs) to help them tell the story of their endeavours. And we continue to refine our products to best serve the needs of HCPs and patients alike: watch this space.

As a company, we participate in different fundraising days throughout the year. In the UK office, at Christmas we donned Christmas jumpers for Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day. In March, we wore red for Red Nose Day; the company matches the original amount we raise.



Corin and Vassia wear red for Red Nose Day


On an individual level, many of our team personally perform charity challenges, and Nitro supports them in various ways. Earlier in the year, several people participated in Run for Your Mind in support of the charity Mind. Our commercial director, Andy Stafford, recently ran an Ultra Marathon to fundraise for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s CharityYou can support him here.


Andy’s charity race

Which brings me to the organisation I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Over the past years—and on the back of amazing leadership by friends Rob Hamilton and John Readman—Nitro has been participating in an effort to raise funds for the wonderful charity 1moreChild by attempting to ride to Australia one 4-500 mile leg at a time. Other colleagues have contributed by travelling to Jinga, Uganda, where the charity is based and setting up computers, broadband and teaching basic computer and internet skills. I’ve recently returned from a trip there with Bonamy Grimes, Katie Hollier and Jamie Waller—all strong supporters of the charity—whose amazing efforts along with other corporate and private sponsors make the existence of the charity possible.

I’d like to tell you a bit about the incredible work the charity does.


Paper dart toy — all they have

1moreChild provides food, accommodation, mentoring, tuition, support and safety to 280 children in Jinga who are either living in the street or in difficult family circumstances. For context, Uganda is a country with a very highold-shoes birth rate and a strong tribal culture, and Jinga is a town with many social issues, as well as being one of the sources of the river Nile.

It’s also a town where around 3-4,000 children are homeless, literally sleeping beneath verandas, and with few, if any possessions. Even where children have achieved a place at 1moreChild (or one of the other charities active in the area), the only items available might be clothing similar to these used boots, or toys, like these two dirty darts or the very old bicycles being ridden below. It’s not a place where basic subsistence includes a daily trip to Starbucks.


Children on old bicycles

boscoWithin this context 1moreChild does an incredible job. Led locally by Bosco and his team and from the UK by founders Harry and Hen Ferdinando what they achieve is the definition of compassionate, culturally sensitive direct action. More mentoring and enablement than charity, this is a lean operation that makes the most of scarce resources.

To give some examples of both the challenges and the opportunities to improve not just survivability via food and shelter but life skills and confidence the charity organises football games. Football is a huge part of life for the childrenchildren-playing-footballand 1moreChild organises community games for the children both in the homes and those outside of them. Football matches provide an opportunity to feed many children (up to 400 at a time) who would not otherwise get any protein at all. In Uganda the logistics around this are no small challenge; for example, the older children transport food by wheelbarrow from one house’s kitchen to the feeding station 1 km away.


Children transporting food

Education—specifically, getting those children into school who been unable to attend—and establishing a sense of pride and confidence in their work is a huge part of 1MoreChild’s modus operandi. Nitro has been supporting some of the older children by providing computer equipment, onsite network support and tuition, and covering the cost of the charity’s broadband. This in itself, though important and achieving results (see the photo of one of the senior boys Geoffry using his computer skills) is a second order problem compared to the provision of safety, food and accommodation. I cannot stress enough how far a small amount of money can go: just US$50 a month can support a child’s education, mentoring, accommodation, food and clothing.

geoffrey-sitting-at-computerMy recent trip proved to be heart-warming and heart-rending all at once. Heart-warming, because I got to see how vibrant, happy and hopeful children can be in challenging circumstances and without so many of the things we take for granted. Heart-rending, because these children are desperately poor and have had lives that, even having met them, I can only imagine. One child I met was scarred across his neck where his father had tried to slit his throat after having murdered his mother and sister … apparently they were possessed. Against that backdrop I can still barely imagine the work and decisions that the team at 1moreChild has to do and make on a daily basis.3-children-green-faces2-children-yellow-faces The trade-offs they have to make: do they fix that window in the house, or create a place to store computers in the girls’ houses, or take another child off the street? It’s easy to say ALL, but that’s not possible with the resources available so it’s an either-or situation. Which would you choose? This is why fundraising is so critically important. So my commitment is as an organisation that we’ll continue to give. My request for anyone who reads this is to please visit 1moreChild and consider giving too. It really is money well spent, as I hope the pictures I’ve shared in this post show.



Nitro Digital Expands Across EMEA

Nitro Digital, the leading independent, tech-enabled digital marketing agency has further expanded its global offering, opening three new offices worldwide. New office locations in Ireland, Italy and Pakistan will support the increasing global demand from clients and assist in utilising the global talent pool in the digital arena.

Peter-Mortimore-headshotPeter Mortimore, the global head of client services, has moved from Nitro’s London headquarters to Ireland to open the new office in the tech hub of Grand Canal Dock, central Dublin.
Ireland has an extremely strong reputation as a home for several European pharmaceutical and medical device companies combined with being a hub of digital development talent, which makes it an exciting base for Nitro to continue its offering to many pan-European focussed organisations.

Part of Nitro Digital’s Executive Management team, Mortimore will continue to drive business growth and thought leadership in the digital healthcare sector and also be looking to expand the team across multidisciplinary digital expertise.

Ashgar Khan is a leader of Nitro’s newly formed Engineering Centre of Excellence team in Islamabad, Pakistan, heading up an experienced team of technical architects and software engineering experts. Working across multiple Ashgar-Khan-headshottechnologies, this team greatly expands Nitro’s offering to its global client portfolio, and facilitates greater coverage of the Asian markets.

Pete Davis, Nitro Digital’s COO comments, ‘I am thrilled to have Khan and the team working with Nitro. The experience and skills they bring have allowed us to push on to the next level with both client deliveries and our own technical innovation.’

Luca-Melis-headshotLuca Melis oversees the company’s Italian office, which has also recently opened. His remit is management of key global accounts and international business development. With a strong background in digital marketing strategy, Luca can help clients in Italy and Europe in planning their digital presence and visibility campaigns.

Jules Pancholi, managing director, Nitro Digital states: ‘I’m very excited about these new developments. They will help expand our business footprint in order to serve clients better across multiple time zones whilst increasing our multilingual resources and overall skill sets. Look to 2017 to be a year of ongoing leadership and support of  growth and achievement for our clients and Nitro Digital itself.’

To learn more about how we can help you grow your business, don’t hesitate to contact us.