EMBA 2017 alumnus Stefano De Socio – Global Head of Marketing at Recordati Rare Diseases – is awarded ‘Best Patient-centric Campaign in Europe’. Additionally, as a result of this achievement he is awarded ‘Marketeer of the Year, Pharma Industry’ by prestigious UK media firm, Pharma Times.
The Urgency for Change
Cushing’s Syndrome is a serious rare condition caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol in the body, due to a tumour in the pituitary or adrenal glands. Sufferers struggle with chronic fatigue, pain, muscle weakness and weight gain.
De Socio’s motivation to advocate for Cushing’s Syndrome sufferers stemmed from observing the inadequate urgency in resolving the challenges faced by patients. Despite treatments being available, symptoms continue to weigh heavily on sufferers due to delayed diagnoses and the limited ability of physicians to alter disease management. This realisation became the driving force behind his determination to make a significant impact on the lives of those affected by Cushing’s Syndrome.
The #ThisCushing Marketing Campaign
De Socio’s goal was to increase awareness of the disease for both medical professionals and patients. Maximising engagement with this poignant subject required a marketing campaign that went beyond the normal utilisation of imagery and video media; a unique, artistic approach was needed. The answer lay with award winning Italian photographer Stefano Schirato, known for his focus on social issues.
“I found that Cushing’s patients are so ashamed of themselves that there is a really, really limited amount of photographic evidence of the disease.” Stresses De Socio. “If you search online for images of Cushing’s Syndrome, most of the imagery you will see are from our campaign, as there were so few available beforehand.”
Global Impact and Success Metrics
#ThisCushing was launched with incredible success with the help of the World Patient Organisation. The campaign was picked up by 27 media channels worldwide, including the United States, and the social media outreach received 150,000 engagements within 3 hours and over 20 million views during the first three days of launch.
Awards and the influence of the Executive MBA
De Socio attributes much of this success to the skills and knowledge acquired during his EMBA at Cambridge Judge Business School.
“Graduating from the Executive MBA at Cambridge Judge enriched my strategic mindset and honed my leadership skills. Specialised coursework in finance, management science, and operations helped me to increase my systematic thinking and navigate complex project challenges. Ultimately, the chance of networking with exceptionally diverse people enhanced my innovative spirit and capacity to bridge theory to execution.”
Stefano De Socio’s journey from an EMBA alumnus to being crowned ‘Marketeer of the Year’ is a testament to the transformative power of innovative thinking and strategic leadership. The #ThisCushing campaign stands as a beacon for addressing the challenges faced by individuals with rare diseases, challenging stigma, and driving positive change in healthcare.