Kantar Health Blog

A roadmap for brand marketing success

by Mark Sales | Jul 16, 2014
Mark Sales

In order to develop a successful brand marketing plan, pharma needs to think more about getting diagnostic solutions. Brand teams need to constantly be looking forward to make better decisions that are evidence-based, patient-centered and deliver against unrealized brand opportunity. Whether you are six or 12 months from launch – or even just starting the launch phase – it would be useful to check that you are where you need to be in terms of the crucial factors we believe are the new core components of brand marketing:

  • Experience: The more traditional way of assessing brand performance based on how doctors feel about a brand and how they intend to use it.
  • Execution: Whether your brand marketing is actually being implemented (or is indeed implementable) in the field.
  • Access: The 21st century game changer for pharma: Will payers actually support budget for a product, even if doctors “feel” it is a good brand?

Brand marketing needs a coordinated approach across this trio in addition to more integrated working across internal silos. Do this, and pharma is well on its way to acquiring a roadmap for delivering unrealized brand opportunity.

The first step is diagnosis, achieved by quantitative and qualitative research using internal and external sources and benchmarking data. From this research it is possible to develop a brand plan that includes the metrics used to measure success before moving to implementation and monitoring of your strategy.

It requires a different approach. To start, you have to nail down the key priorities: what other data is available to be used, who will be your team’s first point of contact, who are the key stakeholders and how do you want to implement a strategy? You have to take into account the global program for the brand: can your new strategy be applied in every territory, or do sensitivities mean a different key message is needed from one country to another? The big advantage here is that no one knows their own market better than pharma companies themselves.

Ultimately you need to find a strategy for the brand based on what you know and what you want to do. The approach is likely to include talking to your internal stakeholders when putting together the initial diagnosis, developing the brand plan and monitoring, perhaps bringing in the entire team to see who is involved, and what internal deadlines are in play. It is also important to talk about available data such as sales that could be useful in illuminating the way forward. It may be that you have more of this than you think – it just needs to be ordered differently or looked at in a fresh way.

Key external stakeholders (prescribers, payers and patients) can be approached using online, video-driven research or something more traditional, along with classic measures such as what a physician thinks of a product, to build up a picture of where a brand needs to be for further growth or where you are missing existing opportunities. From here you can create a top-line profile of the brand that tells you where you are in terms of perceived patient share rather than actual market share and, from that, where you could be. This difference needs spelling out since it is fundamental to getting this new approach right. For example, the brand might have a perceived share gap of 10 percentage points on the marketplace: you can break this down into those three key categories – experience, execution and access – and thereby understand that there is a problem with access or with the multichannel strategy or something else. Highlighting this means you can then be very directional in terms of where to focus efforts.

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