While branding continues to be one of the hallmark crafts of our industry, agencies are finding it necessary to refocus these efforts and respond proactively to today’s changing market dynamics. The scientific rationale behind products appears to weigh more heavily than ever in the customer decision-making process. While compelling graphics and copy serve to attract attention, the clinical rationale for believing in the value of the brand needs to be more fully realized. To accomplish this goal, it’s often necessary to extend the branding process — implementing many unique devices that not only brand the product, but also create a compelling identity for the science, programs, and services surrounding the brand.
Branding the Science
Science is the basis upon which all brands are built — the more compelling the science, the more reason to believe in the value of the brand. Agencies that strongly embrace this premise successfully put into practice communications programs that establish brand lexicons that can ensure promotional success. For example, Effexor, a novel antidepressant from Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, competed at launch in a market primarily dominated by the SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil). Effexor displayed a unique brand attribute — an MOA exhibiting dual reuptake inhibition of serotonin and norepinephrine. From this insight, a new class of antidepressants was branded that was truly distinctive from the SSRI class — the SNRI class. With this classification, Effexor was viewed as a unique and relevant new option, offering a double-action MOA that was perceived to provide…