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The Importance of Social Listening: The Diagnostics battles

Social listening on SRL and Dr. Lal Pathlabs

Dengue, Chikungunya, Cholesterol, Malaria- we’ve heard these words more often than we’d like and with good reason. Ill health and disease isn’t far from us today. Lifestyle related, diet or just the hygiene in the environment.

Whether it’s a trip to the doctor that sends us to the lab to get tested, or we heading there pre-emptively, none of us are strangers to a testing lab. Apart from the hospitals themselves, there are over a 100 brands of laboratories in Delhi NCR only. How do you choose whom to trust?

Hence the space is getting interesting from a consumer communication point of view with brands beginning to use celebrities, events, endorsements to stand apart from the crowd and strengthen their customer base.

We used our social listening tools to hear two of the more louder voices in recent weeks.

Dr. Lal Pathlabs and SRL Diagnostics. Here’s our learnings for the brands.

Share of Voice:

Share of Voice.png

SRL had a 2:1 share of voice versus Dr. Lal. Clearly, SRL has been the louder voice.

Specifically, SRL had 3K mentions with a potential to reach 1.1 Bn consumers, compared to 600Mn for Dr. Lal.

SRL had a net preference score (% positive - % negative mentions) of 14%. Not ideal, but still tilted in the right direction. This compares to a near 0 NPS for Dr. Lal.

Whats interesting is that social media mentions of SRL were very strongly in the diagnostics space, whereas for Dr. Lal, these mentions were slightly more peripheral. Eg: feedback from consumers rather than specific discussions around the service.

There are interesting contrasts on how media has been used by the two companies.

Dr. lal has very strong mentions in the popular news mediums. It could be related to Dr. Lal being the chair of the FICCI Health services Committee and therefore a very strong and relevant voice for the industry.


Here SRL comes a distant second in terms of mentions as well as the circulation of magazines where it is mentioned. Dr. Lal therefore appears to be a heavier voice in this industry.

But online, on blogs, twitter and Facebook, SRL rules.

SRL has a very active blog page, which is easy to find. It is relevant and written in easy conversational style. The effort is to create credibility with content.

The strategy for SRL appears to be to create a loud voice in the market, and then drive traffic to the website to build conversations and authority.


Whereas Dr Lal is predominantly Twitter focused. In fact, it is not much focusing on blogs. Content is irregular, the blog is hidden deep in its website and uses pictures more than words to create the conversation.

Dr Lal.png

What’s remarkable is the “non controlled” media presence of both brands. A lot of content out there is driven by the economic media/ influencers/ discussing the financials of the company and their suitability in an investment portfolio. These videos are watched by large numbers and create perceptions of the brand, completely independent of the brand manager’s message!

While both brands are making efforts to be “out there”, social media is a two way street. Both brands need to listen to consumers closely. Their FB pages and twitter mentions reflect a large number of feedback and consumer complaints in the last 6 months that have not had a response.

SRL is using Shilpa Shetty as its face in creating heightened awareness about its services, however they are up against Dr. Lal, and his persona that drives the image of Dr. Lal Pathlabs. A good brand ambassador and campaign does indeed drive up the awareness and interest around a service, but social media today is all about multiple points of access and not just broadcasting, but listening at each point. Here, both brands have a way to go.

Social media is not about what “the brand manager” says. Hers is only one voice, supported by campaign monies. But consumers listen better to other consumers. The brand today is built by consumers. Social media allows for the start of a dialogue. But the narrative is shaped by millions of your brand’s customers. Staying involved in those conversations is critical.


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