Pfizer : Clear language from the CEO

An online message from the CEO of the US-based pharmaceutical giant promises – and delivers – clarity on the timeline for a Covid-19 vaccine.

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The feature

Pfizer published an open letter from Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla on its corporate website on October 16th, ‘Greater clarity on Covid-19 timelines’, and it is still being promoted on the global home page. The message was also published across social media, including on Pfizer’s corporate Twitter channel and Mr Bourla’s personal Twitter feed.

Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, are developing a Covid-19 vaccine. They will soon know whether it is effective, and release the research results publicly. In the letter, Mr Bourla addresses ‘the three key areas where we must demonstrate success’: effectiveness, safety and manufacturing quality.

The takeaway

Pfizer’s open letter a good example of clear and direct online CEO communication, and demonstrates that the most effective communications about important issues is clear, direct and transparent. Crucially, the letter delivers exactly what the home page headline promises – ‘greater clarity on Covid-19 timelines’.

The layout is also simple but effective, with the text running down the left-hand column, and a pull quote in the right column, as well as right links for related news. The heading of the piece, appears in a banner at the top of the page as visitors scroll, helping orientation. One potential drawback is the lack of an image of Mr Bourla, which could help to humanize the message.

Clear communication about a potential vaccine is essential, and Pfizer’s letter serves a wider social purpose in a period of widespread speculation and disinformation.
First published 28 October, 2020
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