Brandie Linfante, Senior VP, Engagement Strategy, Ogilvy Health
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The pharmaceutical company landscape is transforming. With this evolution, brand portfolios range from mass production of products for chronic diseases affecting large portions of populations, to development of novel treatments for rare diseases and personalized medicine. Today, we have the domination of big pharma, as well as multiple biopharma collaborations, and joint ventures. Furthermore, an insurgence of small, promising, biotech pharma start-ups are on the horizon on a global scale. Many of the remarkable innovations in healthcare are being made by small biopharma companies focused on specific therapeutic areas with a targeted approach to treatment while making an impact and significant strides for patients.
Building an Intelligent Brand
With today’s advent of digital platforms and easy access to market research and analytics, brand building is about using intelligence. As brand builders, we have the tools and access to be better listeners and more customer-focused. It is incumbent on us to make brands more relevant and relatable, socially conscious and aware, and offer personal experiences and emotional connections. Great brand building makes a product a problem solver and creates an environment that begets customer loyalty.
Brands that previously excelled at marketing through traditional channels that find themselves stagnant (or falling by the wayside) can rebuild their brands, and reinvent themselves for new marketing channels. These brands can develop and regale in a new-found identity, identify a purpose and embrace it, and take advantage of new methods of engaging with their audience, strengthening their relevance.
For the new entrants to pharma, the smaller pharma, biopharma, and biotech companies, they may find themselves building the plane as they’re flying it. Building a brand while you are building a company’s brand can present challenges, with a need for experienced marketers to lend a keen eye to translate those challenges into potential benefits. For example, their company brand can set the hierarchy for product branding, without any prejudice, established opinions, or bias of the holding company, and gain cascading benefits of the company mission to help elevate the product brand(s).
Aligning the Fundamentals
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for brand building, certain fundamentals withstand time and evolution. Never underestimate the value of discovery, competitive analysis, positioning, market research, and planning. Understanding your target audience, their unmet needs, as well as their customer journey will be essential in creating an effective communication strategy. Competitive analysis and brand positioning will serve to differentiate and develop your brand’s persona, how your brand will be envisioned, who you want or need to be for your customers, why you’re valuable, and what you should offer. Market research will keep in tune with your customers. Planning your brand goals and objectives will provide the clarity you need to apply proper strategy and achieve success. Integrating your brand goals, objectives, and strategies into everything you do is an important measure that should never be overlooked.
Making Your Brand Matter
Once you have gone through the fundamentals of brand building, have gained a deep understanding of your customers, understand the competitive landscape, defined your positioning, set your brand objectives and goals, you will need to develop a communications and engagement strategy for your brand. Make every moment matter with your content strategy, with every single piece of content being representative of the whole. Consider all the variables, apply the appropriate tone and approach for the different channels and tactics, and weave your brand identity into everything you do. Being customer-centric, providing information on demand and in anticipation of a customer’s needs will build momentum and ensure customer allegiance. Authenticity is the price of entry. Though authenticity is often seen as a characteristic translatable only to millennial audiences, people are people, and authenticity is not an entitlement, it’s something all customers want, deserve, and demand to justify loyalty for your brand.
Advanced brand building should look to include experiential opportunities where they apply. For example, it should solve for patient’s unmet needs and provide a solution, and/or allow healthcare professionals to experience a moment in the life of a patient and build empathy. Using technology for a purpose, not just for the sake of showcasing tech.
Finally, use data and analytics to assess where you are making the biggest impacts with your brand. Learn from your customers to help your brand grow, engage with positive meaning, and add value. Don’t just set your sights on building a brand. Be determined and passionate about building a brand with meaning.(PV)
Ogilvy Health makes brands matter by keeping our audiences’ health, healthcare and wellness needs at the center of every touchpoint.
For more information, visit ogilvychww.com.