39 minutes | Jul 8th 2020

AbbVie's Head of Communications, Javier Boix on Effective Storytelling in Healthcare Communications [Episode 19]

In today's interview, Lippe Taylor CEO Paul Dyer sits down with Javier Boix, the Head of U.S. Communications at AbbVie to dive into the true meaning of the commonly-used term “storytelling” in the context of communications and analytics. They also look at how to approach one's career as a generalist versus a specialist, and much more. 

Here are some key takeaways from this conversation with Javier: 

  • Communications pros need to focus on creating a model for always-on storytelling. There is an increasing number of platforms on which a brand can tell its story, and this enables comms professionals to identify ways to keep the storytelling engine running. Whether it’s social media, a brand newsroom, or an online publication, the demand for original content requires communicators to focus on keeping the brand narrative alive across multiple platforms simultaneously. Conversely, one-off campaigns may be distracting and not advance the larger story. Ultimately, communications professionals need to take a multichannel approach and ensure that their brand's story has cohesion across all platforms. 


  • Don’t mistake the brand for the “hero” of the story. Although brands play a role in stories, they should never be the center of the narrative they are trying to create. Compelling stories are about heroes, whether that is the patient bravely fighting a disease for 40 years, or the scientist devoted to finding a cure for Hepatitis C. These are the Hero's Journeys (in the Joseph Campbell sense) which audiences are hardwired to follow. Before running U.S. Communications, Javier oversaw AbbVie’s StoryLab, a content strategy team that brought the work of different departments to life through content development. This type of narrative-focused storytelling enabled AbbVie to be part of conversations by creating relevant, engaging, and authentic content without overtly pushing their brand.


  • A global mindset is about understanding local needs. Javier believes that having a global mindset is about knowing how to establish the right relationships within key markets. It’s the local communicators, however, who know how to translate big-picture ideas so that the global strategy makes sense on a local level. On the ground, communicators are tapped into the cultural nuances and local regulatory requirements and they own the relationships that enable them to execute the larger global strategies within specific countries. Javier states that “you are in a global role to understand local teams, not so they can understand you.”


Key Links

Javier Boix LinkedIn bio

Javier Boix Twitter page

AbbVie Inc.

GE Reports


Produced by Simpler Media

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