Kantar Health Blog

Uncovering the missed opportunities for maximizing your brand potential

by Mark Sales | Jul 21, 2014
Mark Sales

A question: How can you maximize the potential of your brand? Put another way: How do you know what opportunities for maximizing that potential you are missing in the first place? Focusing your resources on the right areas will help you identify and exploit these opportunities – but first you need to know what they are.

Let’s rewind a little. While there have been significant changes around the pharma industry in the last few years, not least in the sales arena where the rise of payers and empowered patients has realigned commercial relationships with prescribers, the brand marketing function has not yet been forced to adapt to new realities.

The main problem is that organizations are not necessarily working holistically. Market access teams are doing market access, brand people are doing branding, and those who are doing the execution, be it multichannel or sales force, are still doing them separately. When it comes to forecasting or building brand lifecycle, this lack of coordination means businesses are simply not achieving maximum impact, or consequently maximum benefit for patients.

The good news is that plenty of unrealized opportunities are still out there in brand marketing. But we need to do what we, as an industry, have been talking about for the last decade or so, which is actually pulling everything together and taking a holistic view at how we deliver our brands with our key stakeholders. We know this has already happened on the sales side, through necessity rather than through choice, in part because of patent cliff issues but also because of company downsizing, more targeted segmentation and messaging due to the increase in niche indications, and the proliferation of information leading to reduced return on investment (ROI) from traditional detailing. There is also the issue of market access and the change in the identity and role of payers plus patient advocacy but many of these environmental “push” factors apply to marketing too.

Pharma has looked very intensively at ROI when it comes to the sales function (and also trying to invest smarter in R&D), and attention is now turning to marketing because this siloed approach that we see time and again is simply not an optimal use of resources. Doctors are increasingly saying: “We are payers and this is how we want to be walked through a new product.” Throwing a sales rep or a market access expert at them is perhaps not the best approach; they need to be treated as a customer.

Governments are waking up to this too. In the UK, the much-vaunted value-based pricing (VBP), now value-based assessment (VBA), means an organization needs to approach these more and more powerful payers in a holistic way. Rather than saying, “Here’s our strategy, take it or leave it,” instead we need to say, “This is the value we’re going to bring to the UK.” Any other approach is increasingly likely to fall on its face. All of this is further complicated by patient groups and empowered individual patients increasingly flexing their muscles when it comes to influencing healthcare decisions. And this is not limited to the UK; healthcare systems in every country are looking closely at value.

So how do we uncover our missed brand opportunities? See my blog on the importance of evidence in proving brand worth. - 

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