Celebrating Inclusive Smart Hybrid Working

By Amanda Moulson, Executive Director, Virgo Health  

As I was doing my nightly social scrolls – checking in on my faves like noodle vids and cat reels – I noted @mother_pukka taking on Lord Sugar and Jacob Rees Mogg, among others, for urging people to get back to the office full time. ‘Flexible working is inclusive working!’ she said – and I thought ‘YES!’ as I shared to my own feed, quoting her.

She’s right! Flexible working IS inclusive working – and it’s not just about opening up geography or accommodating lifestyles, like being a parent or a carer. It’s also about allowing people with disabilities to work in environments that are created for them. It makes neurodiverse people feel psychologically safe. And, despite the fact that we’re in PR and presumed to be loudmouths, it accommodates the shy, the quiet and the introverted (who can still be loudmouths – a personal example – albeit loudmouths in need of a good recharge).

One thing that really frustrates me is that in the early flush of our post-pandemic ways, we saw possibility; we spoke about re-inventing things that needed an update. On the top of the list was the future of work, so we bandied about phrases like ‘digital nomadry’ and we expounded about the role of culture in hybridised places. Sadly, a lot of those conversations began, and ended, with a vision, and since many have retreated to the same old, same old.

We had an enormous opportunity to create a new future, and my fear is that too many companies squandered it. But luckily, that’s not true of Virgo Health, where Smart Hybrid policies keep us future fit and dead flexible.

Because we’re all different, we all need different things at different times. Virgo’s Smart Hybrid policy takes all of these needs into account. While deep and heads-down work can be done at home, when we’re in the office, there are communal spaces for us to meet, create, eat and play (and let me tell you, the mini breadstick game is STRONG). And for people with in-office requirements who enjoy quieter time, we have designated areas to focus, ‘meditation spaces’ and outside space.

In agency life, our clients demand creativity. Since employee experience is the start of the client experience, I couldn’t be happier to work with a team that took the challenge to reinvent the future of work seriously.

Creativity? Find a job that lets you play with what you love

By Amanda Moulson, Executive Director, Virgo Health  

Virgo Health’s Amanda Moulson shares the secret to nurturing your creativity.

I’ve felt lucky in my career to be branded as ‘creative’ – a brand that becomes self-fulfilling when ideas are requested in various brainstorms, workshops, or in the on the fly ‘hey can I just grab your brain for a minute?’ chats. As someone with this label, I am often surprised when people say, ‘I’m not creative’, or when I read self-assessments in which my colleagues worry that they are not creative enough.


We are all creative. Because creativity is about solving problems in unique and novel ways. And we can explore all those ways when, to paraphrase psychiatrist Carl Jung, the creative mind plays with what it loves.

What do you love? It can be as ‘basic’ or intellectual as you like. Tik Tok, Emily in Paris, dogs, rugby, Proust. Any or all – and the more the better. These references are the jumping off points for ideation, so never hesitate to bring what you love to your workplace.

Me? I love words. I love reading. Once I read a book, I deeply dive into its subject matter and those ideas re-emerge in ideation (my team will not forget the ‘gaming phase’ that followed my read of the truly spectacular Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow). I also love the feeling of being astonished by a sentence that expresses a universal notion but in the most incisive possible way, and I am inspired to work my own copy to that point of precision in my daily work at Virgo.

Virgo, a healthcare communications agency, zodiacally-destined to be organised and professionally obligated to be analytical, evidence-driven and compliant. Where’s the creativity in that?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Sure, we ‘healthcare people’ deal in the left-brained stuff. But remember, we can be creative with maths; it is about relationships. We can be creative with science because what is science if not a study of creation? We can be creative about how we communicate about data because data is the currency of the modern world. And we can be creative about healthcare because there is no space more deserving of inventive problem-solving than the one that, when fine-tuned, allows all of us to thrive in every possible way.

Thriving itself is an outcome of creativity – of imagining the new and the better possibilities for the things and the people you love (self-included). So, whether at work or at play, I beg you, find what you love. Shout about it to whoever will listen and surround yourself with people that protect and nurture those things. Trust me, it really is going to make those ‘hey can I just grab your brain for a minute’ chats that much more fun!

Earning HCP Influencers’ Attention

By Beth Whitworth, Consumer Health Director, Virgo Health  

How consumer health brands can engage HCP influencers to share campaigns organically.

You know your campaign has been successful when a healthcare professional (HCP) influencer engages with it on their own platform organically, with no paid partnership.  Why? Firstly, in consumer health, there are strict regulations prohibiting over-the-counter (OTC) medicines from running paid partnerships on social media with HCP influencers (apart from medical devices and food supplements). Secondly, you can’t underestimate the value of an organic post from a HCP influencer. Post-Covid we’ve seen a surge in virtual health and self-care, with HCPs the trusted, credible experts that people are turning to on social media more than ever for expert information and advice. 

But encouraging HCP influencers to engage in your campaigns is not easy. Regulations mean medicines can only proactively outreach to HCP influencers with brand agnostic campaigns. These campaigns must also feel relevant to the HCP and their audience. Asking them for their views in the planning phases and building a story around this will increase the likelihood of them sharing it.

Securing traditional media coverage, particularly in the nationals or lifestyle magazines, is a great place to start, as HCPs will frequently comment on media stories on their own social channels. For example, Dr Nighat Arif, a GP with 54k followers and a regular on BBC Breakfast and This Morning, shared on her channels an opinion piece we secured in i (in print and online) for our client Nurofen on the Gender Pain Gap.  She added her own personal experiences of the gender pain gap to her post, increasing its impact and relevance to her followers.

Similarly, for a breast cancer awareness campaign we did for Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), Dr Nighat created an Instagram Story sharing Kreena Dhiman’s interview in Stylist magazine.  Kreena spoke about the stigma South Asian women face when dealing with breast cancer and why she’s supporting ELC’s campaign.

To gain these kinds of campaign recognition, building relationships with HCP influencers is key. Outreach should be personalised, highlighting why the story matters to them and their followers, while the ‘ask’ should not be too prescriptive or demanding as brands do not have any control on the organic content they post.

Assets such as a video, report or statistics are often created for traditional media as part of the sell-in package, but these can also be of use to HCP influencers. Make sure they are simple and impactful and HCPs may use these to build their own content or in the perfect scenario, social videos, which generate 1200% more shares than text and image content.  As part of the Gender Pain Gap campaign, Dr Aziza Sesay shared an Instagram reel with her 20k followers highlighting new statistics showing the extent of the gap. Her post had over 500 likes and heaps of engagement, including from other HCP influencers agreeing the stats are upsetting and more needs to be done to bring change. 

As with all earned content, any product or brand mention should either be woven into the story (rather than a blatant plug), or it needs to be an authentic recommendation if coming from an HCP influencer. They are first and foremost medical professionals and protecting their integrity has never been more crucial than when it comes to social media.

How ASICS earned a rightful place in health and well-being conversations

By Natasha Weeks, Executive Director, Consumer Health

Virgo Health’s Natasha Weeks, discusses how the recent ASICS Mind Games campaign earned a rightful place in health and well-being conversations.

Sometimes we have a hunch. We know the likely outcome. But how do we ensure meaningful data is behind those headline-grabbing stats? Today, ASICS launched Mind Games: The Experiment. We all know that exercise is good for our mental health, but could it improve the mental performance of even the brightest minds?  

To bring this concept to life, we could have easily asked an expert or commissioned a survey. But would that earn a place in the global health and wellbeing conversation? Not anymore. In order to generate an evidence-based consumer story, we blended Virgo Health’s informed healthcare expertise with Golin’s powerhouse consumer team to help ASICS co-ordinate a global experiment in partnership with renowned researcher in movement and mind, Professor Dr Brendon Stubbs

Targeting inactive competitor gamers, specialising in mind games from Chess to Esports, we recruited 77 people who rely on their cognitive function from across 22 countries and matched them up with personal trainers. We put them on a training programme designed by runner turned international coach, Andrew Kastor, including medium impact cardio and strength training. The gamers gradually increased their exercise levels to 150 minutes per week and Professor Stubbs measured the mental improvement of the participants based on their performance in their mind games, cognitive tests and wellbeing questionnaires over the course of a four-month research period. The results showed vast improvement in their cognitive functioning, including concentration levels and problem-solving abilities.

So, could exercise be the key to boosting brain power ASICS? Pass me my trainers.