There’s a lot of things to watch on the news of late. I have been following the vaccine trial development that a lot of pharmaceutical companies are undertaking right now. Not surprisingly, many of them have had setbacks requiring them to halt the trials. Some of the subjects experienced unforeseen symptoms.

The concern is that the drugs produce side effects without mitigation. In today’s COVID world, these understandable events during trials are looked upon with a greater degree of scrutiny. In other words, consumers will think that the pharmaceutical companies are being ineffective in their development.

That’s not necessarily the case. Setbacks in drug discovery happen all the time. But nowadays, the expectations by consumers as well as politicos and government entities are so unrealistic about how quickly a vaccine can get developed that pharmaceutical companies are going to find themselves in a real bind. Their reputation can be damaged as a result. The hype is just off the charts.

So if you’re in that position and you’re in the process of bringing something big to market like this, your communications with potential consumers, employees, investors, government agencies, and the like are going to be so important. You will have to temper expectations with a dose of reality while preserving a reputation that you are the company of choice, you can get this product or solution to market better and faster than anybody else, and that you certainly understand what’s at stake. Make sure that people recognize that you’re doing all you can, you’re working as fast as you can, and that no one else is going to get it done quicker.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if others outside the pharmaceutical industry will find themselves at some point in a similar position where the hype and the expectations are so unrealistic, that they will need to have taken some notes from this playbook.