HubWeek Change Maker: Annemarie Crivelli

Head of Experience and Innovation, Cambridge BioMarketing.

Annemarie Crivelli is the Head of Experience and Innovation at Cambridge BioMarketing, creating hyper-personalized omni-channel experiences for patients and professionals in the rare disease space. Leading the digital team at Cambridge BioMarketing, she helps brands tap into the right audiences through cutting-edge technologies and empathy-driven brand strategy. Under Annemarie’s charge, digital services at Cambridge BioMarketing have grown far beyond strategy, from digital production to experience design, to machine learning and data science, and everything in between. Annemarie comes from a vast agency background and has turned interactive experiences into campaigns for companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, Ford, and Samsung, just to name a few. She has also held various roles in production and has helped artists and organizations land Emmy’s, Academy Awards and American Music Awards.

Zoe Dobuler: What is your background, and how did you find your way to working on projects at the intersection of marketing and health?

Annemarie Crivelli: Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to work in a variety of industries and across verticals. Intense and exciting moments such as working backstage at the GRAMMY Awards and launching new campaigns for Samsung have all contributed to my growth and development. Healthcare is by far the most rewarding industry I’ve ever worked in. For the past four years I’ve helped advance rare disease education as well as launch new and valuable treatments for the rare community at Cambridge BioMarketing. I believe that it takes working in other situations and scenarios to know when you find true fulfillment — working at the intersection of marketing and healthcare is that for me.

ZD: In your experience, what are some of the most effective strategies for engaging the public with complex science and health topics?

AC: Telling a relatable story through the right channels is at the heart of delivering a great message. Storytelling is important in any industry, but especially in healthcare. Our health is precious and should never be taken for granted. It defines what we can or can’t do and shapes our daily lives. Telling a relatable story for a disease that is rare by definition is definitely challenging. In order to offer clarity for patients, caregivers and providers alike, we have a responsibility to simplify but thoroughly explain complex symptomatology. Stories are most effective when information is grounded, memorable and actionable. Delivering the content in the right channel, and at the right time, in an omni-channel strategy helps patients to make informed decisions at each stage of their diagnosis and treatment journey.

ZD: It seems that Cambridge BioMarketing has a unique way of thinking about projects, using its RareID platform. How does RareID work, and how do you typically approach new projects?

AC: RareID is CB’s methodology for finding the hard-to-find rare patient and treater and then developing and delivering strategically grounded, compelling programs that educate on the disease and treatment. We bring together multi-disciplinary teams to solve complex challenges with critical thinking and design thinking. There are four steps to the process:

1. DEVELOP is the strategic discovery phase in which we conduct the foundational work that helps us define the audience and the market

2. FIND is about locating the rare disease patient and the HCPs likely to see them — truly the needle in the haystack — and delivering the right message in the right channel

3. ACTIVATE is how we leverage our audience insights to engage them with compelling campaigns, programs and tactics

4. NURTURE brings together listening to the audience and analyzing the performance data to continually optimize for what is working and pivot from what isn’t

By immersing ourselves in creative problem solving in each of these areas, we’re able to uncover the best strategies and ideas for activating and engaging the rare community.

ZD: HUBweek was lucky to have Cambridge BioMarketing’s “Faces of Rare” installation take place right near our office. Can you tell us a bit about that project and how it came to be?

AC: At Cambridge BioMarketing, Rare Disease Day is an extremely special time of year. Across the agency, we brainstorm ideas that will inspire awareness and unite rare disease communities. This year, our team decided to combine storytelling and innovative display technology. We projected larger-than-life portraits of five rare disease patients onto Boston City Hall Plaza, a highly trafficked area in downtown Boston, as a way to get the public more involved in the conversation. We also took this conversation to social media with our #FacesofRare hashtag and an Instagram/Snapchat takeover on @OnlyinBOS. Stories of the patients featured in the installation can be found here.

ZD: From podcasts and documentaries to creative DIY shoelace campaigns and more, what are some of your favorite advocacy/empowerment projects you’ve worked on at Cambridge BioMarketing?

AC: Being a strategic leader and key player in The Rare In Commoncampaign has been one of the most memorable and professionally rewarding experiences. The concept behind the campaign — the commonality in patient experiences across rare diseases—brings to light a shared human experience which is why I think the campaign has been so successful. We are all wired with a need for connection and belonging. Our Rare In Common documentary, Rare In Common podcast, and Faces of Rare installation all provide a platform for rare disease awareness and work together to foster community. Simply, the moving parts of this campaign bring all of us closer together in a shared desire for compassion and empathy.

ZD: What do you wish more people knew about rare diseases?

AC: While individual rare diseases may impact small numbers of people, collectively, there are 400 million people affected by rare diseases worldwide — that’s larger than the population of the United States. The global rare disease community embodies the ideals of connectedness and empowerment. This community shows us how a group of diverse individuals from over 7,000 different diseases rally together in one shared voice and a common cause to support each other. The courage and bravery of the rare disease community is infectious; I truly believe it has the power to change the world for the better.

This Change Maker interview was originally published June 2019 on the HubWeek blog.

The HubWeek Change Maker series showcases the most innovative minds in art, science, and technology making an impact in Boston and around the world. Know a change maker you think should be interviewed for this series? Nominate them here.

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