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KOL Identification & Mapping

We’ve applied intelligent thinking, modern technology, and systems innovations to re-engineer every step of the KOL Identification and KOL Mapping process. Simply put, our aim is to help you answer the three most important questions: who should you be working with, what should you be doing with them, and why? All of it driven by the data and evidence.


KOL Identification and KOL Mapping are often integrally linked together.

KOL Identification is about identifying anyone with the potential to impact your work – clinicians, authors, speakers, nurses, tweeters, or the medics building cutting edge apps for their patients.

KOL Mapping helps you to see the connections, collaborations, and networks that exist within that community of Experts, giving you a complete contextual picture of the Expert/KOL landscape.

Imagine the ‘KOL landscape’ of your therapy area – KOL Mapping helps you visualise and understand the terrain of the entire landscape, while KOL Identification identifies the individual mountains, peaks, and valleys. Together they create the canvas on which to create your own unique KOL programmes.


We don’t have one fixed methodology which we apply to every situation. It’s impossible to accept that one methodology can successfully solve every single KOL Identification and KOL mapping problem. That’s the belief we started with, and we’ve grown our methodologies over the years to tackle new challenges in new ways.

From the standard whole-of-landscape quantitative research all the way to a range of innovative qualitative methodologies that enable you to pick up the nuances within a KOL group – each methodology represents a different lens with which to analyse the KOL landscape.

Our role is to blend and create the perfect methodology mix to answer your specific KOL Mapping and KOL Identification problem. Only by doing this can we ensure that gut instincts are always balanced with hard facts. And regardless of which methodology we use and how we implement it, you can be assured that whatever we do, it will be systematic and analytical.

(“Hey, wait a minute, that’s a reflection of our company name!”, says Mike, his voice quivering with the shrill excitement of revelation. Err, yes, thank you, Mike. How long have you been working here?)


Our experience and expertise gives us the ability to confidently address and solve your KOL Identification and KOL Mapping need. And although client “needs” can sometimes be similar in overall context (e.g. “I want to find the most important KOLs in my therapy area”), they are always completely different in their underlying strategic requirements (e.g. “I want to find the most important KOLs in my therapy area, that are specific to my positioning and scientific story”). The examples on the right illustrate just a small selection of the types of needs we fulfil for our clients.


Top global KOLs, rising stars, regional/continental KOLs, national leaders, all the way down to frontline influencers – they all represent different levels of the classic KOL Pyramid.

But the KOL Pyramid evolves in tune with the life cycle of your product. For example, at launch, the frontline influencers guiding prescribing decisions will increase in importance, compared to the top global KOLs. In effect, the pyramid begins to flip on itself.

Mapping the right level of granularity is also of critical importance. For example, a very early stage asset may only need a handful of global KOLs to guide the clinical development programme. A detailed, granular map of the entire landscape is not needed, not yet anyway.

It’s an acute awareness of these sorts of nuances that enable us to identify and map the entire pyramid in the right level of granularity, throughout the life cycle of your product.


Instead of thinking about mapping KOLs and stakeholders, sometimes it’s worth thinking about mapping all the “voices” in your disease ecosystem.

A voice that impacts, influences, or inspires the success of your brand could encompass everything from long-established patient groups to transient online communities, from high-thinking academics to high-tweeting clinicians, the truly global to the very local.

How is this best done? Simply by listening to everything, everywhere you can. In practise this translates to using a whole host of research methodologies working in unison.

It’s also important to not just identify but also characterise each voice – hear what they are saying, gauge their influence, segment their position, and map their connections.

By considering your therapy area as a sea of numerous interconnected voices, you can accurately map all the influencers and best position your brand as a constituent among those.


In many emerging and special markets, the correlation between “activity of an Expert” and their influence/impact is not as clear cut as in mature markets. Social, political, and even military influences can play a significant role in establishing KOL status in such markets. China, Saudi Arabia and Japan are just some examples of markets with unique requirements. KOL Identification & KOL Mapping methodologies must reflect the subtleties of each market.

Having conducted identification and mapping programs in all such markets, we have the knowledge and expertise to address them in the right way. In fact, we have entire presentations specifically on addressing the methodological nuances of emerging/special markets. Just get in touch, and we’ll happily take you through our findings.


Getting an in-depth, granular, segmented view of the KOL landscape is like baking a layer cake.

We could start with the basics – a mass of quantitative data on the activity of Experts, e.g. who is publishing, presenting, managing Grand Rounds, getting involved in advocacy groups, and more. Then add in something interesting, a layer of claims and payment data, for example. For the icing, perhaps some influence mapping – to accurately map the influence landscape and identify those others look for guidance.

And then personalise to suit your tastes – blend in some social media analytics or Digital KOL Mapping, even stir in a helping of mindset mapping to understand what’s driving Expert thinking and behaviour.

The end result is a baked-to-order multi-layered cake of Experts with the power to impact your success.

(“You know, I thought this cake thingy was going to be about something completely different!”, says Mike. Errr, OK. Seriously though Mike, remind us again how long have you been working here?)


Which metric most closely correlates with a KOL’s status? Is there any link at all between the different qualitative and quantitative metrics when identifying KOLs? Does H-Index correlate with KOL status?

We've conducted an extensive study of data gathered from several KOL Mapping projects, over a million data points, thousands of KOLs, across 12 key therapy areas – all of it looking at the correlation between quantitative/qualitative metrics and “KOL status”.

Many of the beliefs that we may all have about KOL status and KOL metrics are simply not supported by evidence! We've presented our results at several industry conferences and to many of our clients and would be happy to do so for you. We promise it’ll make you think about how you treat KOL metrics when it comes to identification and mapping!

We use such research to adapt our methodologies and provide evidence behind the recommendations we give to our clients on how best to identify and map KOLs. And it’s this the continual pursuit of this sort of research that makes us thought leaders in our field.


When you focus entirely on doing something well, and you do so every day for several years, chances are that you get really, really good at it. That’s partly why we excel at KOL Mapping and identification.

But we don’t actually implement any KOL programs or activities. Never have, never will.

What we can do, however, is work with our sister agencies (all part of the WPP group) whose expertise lies in designing and implementing KOL engagement activities to support your brand story. We also often work with our clients’ existing Agencies who use our data to help power and drive their amazing KOL programs to even greater heights.


We can deliver the results of our KOL Identification and mapping results in many different ways - whatever works best for you, because ultimately you will be the one using the results.

Excel/PowerPoint - our interactive Excel output gives you all the core data and some base functionality to help you see the results in different ways.

Firefly - our family of world-class KOL databases. Firefly PRO is how we deliver the results of our bespoke KOL Identification mapping programs.

Workshops – our workshops help you apply the results to make decisions on who to engage, and in what capacity.

Want to see how our KOL identification and mapping services can transform your KOL initiatives?

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