Three takeaways to drug branding

Imagine that your job is to maximize value and revenue for a brand whose name can’t be pronounced on the first try, whose packaging can’t reference a single product feature or benefits, and – above all -, a brand that can’t be promoted to its end users directly.

That’s the challenge brand managers in pharmaceutical companies have to deal with. And they have their industry’s strict regulatory compliance requirements to thank.

It’s no secret branding doesn’t feature much in pharma, and outside of projecting bigger logos on larger screens at seminars and conferences, there’s not much unchartered opportunity to build a drug’s brand awareness. Or is there?

1. Expanding the frame of reference

Thinking beyond the branded product itself can give pharma marketers more leverage in the long run. A physician who has prescribed a drug that has shown to work well with patients will equate that quality and trustworthiness with the manufacturer. The recent rebranding of large pharmaceutical companies like Biogen Idec and Sanofi Aventis signals that new focus on a more prominent corporate identity drives sales and product portfolio exposure.

A more prominent corporate identity drives sales and product portoflio exposure.

2. Packaging it right

That’s tried and tested – the way a product looks influences customer recall and perception. And there’s no better way to make a product stand out than with packaging design. While the spectrum of creativity in pharma packaging design won’t allow much of a contribution to this objective, there are still opportunities worth giving thought to. When AstraZeneca orchestrated an OTC launch of its acid reflux prescription drug Prilosec, it built an image around the physical characteristic the Rx formulation had come to be recognized for – its purple color. The brand is now so closely associated with that distinctive hue AstraZeneca recently went to court to protect it from copy-cat competitors.

3. Going for consistency

With heavier caseloads and longer workdays, physicians tend to turn down meetings with pharmaceutical representatives. Instead they’ve increased their reliance on the Internet as a source for health and medical information. Pfizer is one of many to have rolled out video detailing while both GSK and Merck have launched their own e-sampling programs to enable physicians to order and manage prescription samples online. This calls for new approaches to get and compete for a doctor’s limited attention. And the ability to cut through the clutter starts with a consistent use of visual systems to drive an emotional connection and favor brand value and distinctiveness – not just online but across all channels and touch points.

Contact us today to discuss how our experience developing top drugs with Sanofi, Roche, Novartis or Spirig HealthCare, can help your product grow into a healthy brand.

Text credits: ARD / agi

Images credits: Biogen / Astra

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