Why did you study Pharmacy?
The honest truth is that I loved science and liked the idea of working in healthcare. My experiences of other healthcare professions at that stage didn’t inspire me greatly but I was always intrigued by pharmacists who seemed to have an almost magical knowledge of the substances of which they were guardians. My parents also had an influence suggesting that it was a good idea to study a profession which could provide a career and solid income. That made sense so pharmacy it was.
I’ve worked across a wide range of roles within the profession encompassing community pharmacy – both locuming and pharmacy management, hospital pharmacy, GP pharmacy (which was called PCT pharmacy at the time), academia, representation, and professional standards. I’ve worked for the largest multiples completing my pre-registration with Boots and subsequently working in Lloyds Pharmacy when they were launching diabetes tests. I stuck with Lloyds through a few roles as at the time they had the most clinical focus and was an area manager when MURs were launched. That was an exciting time and I worked hard with my team to embrace the new service. Immediately prior to what I am doing now, I was an Operations and Marketing Director and Superintendent pharmacist for a group of pharmacies that I helped to build from scratch. We grew to 21 pharmacies and independently reflected the Healthy Living Pharmacy ethos that was at the same time developing in Portsmouth. We won a national award for Clinical Service of The Year in 2011 and were shortlisted for a Health Service Journal Award the same year. It was a great role and it was around then that I became interested in marketing. It seemed that as a company we were having a lot of success in many ways however we still met people outside of the profession who looked down on pharmacy. Frustration with this led me to try and understand why it was happening. The more I thought the more I become convinced that it was a problem of perception. As a profession, we were aspiring to grow and develop for all of the best reasons but kept hitting barriers because people didn’t expect us to do what we were trying to do. The ways we wanted to develop didn’t fit into their perception of the pharmacy profession. I decided to do some academic research and completed a Masters In Graphic Design with distinction in 2015 during which I looked at the brand of pharmacy. My tutors thought it was too wide a scope but I didn’t and I still think it is relevant now. I set up DOSE Design in 2015 which has developed into a healthcare branding agency with a strong pharmacy focus. We work with brands to develop a robust marketing strategy and world-class brand identity. DOSE Design is a way to try and help people within the profession influence others perceptions of their organisations and the profession as a result. I set up DOSE Publishing in 2018 and published the Pharmacy Marketing Formulary which is a book that looks in detail at marketing for pharmacy people. DOSE Publishing and the PMF is my way of trying to reach a still wider audience with these messages and arm them with the thinking they need to grow their organisations and present the profession in the best possible light. We live in a marketing savvy world and we need to understand and use the same techniques as everyone else to survive and thrive.
Gavin and DOSE publishing recently published the Pharmacy Marketing Formulary. To buy your copy click on the image below.