Building a brand is much like building a house—first you must consult with experts across varying specialties. In the case of a house, architects, designers, plumbers, and electricians. As for pharmaceutical brands, the first stop is the community experts.

Laying a solid foundation of input, insight, and support is the key for all brands entering the market. Meticulous attention to detail for market preparation and go-to-market strategic and operational plans are required before moving into the build phase; the design, achieved through brand hallmarks, concept, and messaging, must be differentiated and compelling to stand out in the community.

And the experience of entering the home is the same as a customer engaging with your brand. There should be a personality and experience associated with it that embodies the brand essence.

To construct a secure and successful brand that can deliver that wow factor each and every time, follow these five steps.

DEVELOP: Lead by Example and Ensure Quality via Co-Development with Experts

In pharma, we benefit from co-developing our strategy and content with global and national opinion leaders to define our brand value proposition and a shared POV on the disease state, including standards of care and quality metrics. This is the DEVELOP phase—careful curation of the disease-state experts who you want to collaborate with to define your strategy, programs, communications, and establish new standards for patient outcomes.

ESTABLISH: Gain Relevance and Support Through Endorsement By Relatable and Recognized Community Leaders

Through influence mapping, identify vocal local influencers, the next tier of experts, and practicing physicians who are leaders in the disease but work in more traditional settings where they see more patients to find the people who offer the best opportunity to ESTABLISH the platform. These HCPs will provide deeper context into how it would fit within their practices, and through collaboration you can optimize the work, establish the sense of co-creation, and develop the next group of “raving fans.” Including patient advocacy groups and payer experts at this phase will ensure broader validation and endorsement within the community to exponentially increase the effectiveness.

COMMUNICATE: Enhance Acceptance Via Established Community Leaders

These local influencers become the voice of your brand, encouraging their peers through their local network of prescribers, pharmacists, payers, and patients by COMMUNICATING a synthesized narrative through a well-orchestrated engagement plan. They will bring the disease and brand story to the community through their interactions, social platforms, and speaking engagements. The branded communication plan leverages their content, videos, and faces across an integrated ecosystem, which will ensure greater target engagement and ultimately uptake of the brand position in the market.

ACCEPT: Drive Utilization Through Acceptance of New Community Standards and Demonstrating Results

By leveraging longitudinal patient healthcare data, you can paint a picture of the current situation through pre-launch retrospective analysis. Then, you can evaluate outcomes with the product by tracking them against the total population to demonstrate differential and beneficial results prospectively post-launch. Predictive analytics can also be applied against this data set to clearly identify the optimal patients for your brand, supporting targeted identification in the real world that will benefit from your product. Translating the work done with the experts to define quality metrics and optimal outcomes for development and deployment of tools to measure success provides real-time reinforcement of the product selection while generating real-world evidence.

LEVERAGE: Provide Value Back to the Community by Disseminating Real-World Outcomes and Optimizing the Engagement Model

Identification, alignment, and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential for providing meaningful data to assess the impact of all components of the marketing effort to LEVERAGE while optimizing the plan. A clear definition of the brand ecosystem and engagement map is the starting place, but the window that you must look through to judge the effectiveness of your communication plan includes critical pieces such as the metrics to assess the results: the messages, channels, and platforms you deploy. Early identification of these measures helps set ROI modeling and clearly defined plans, allowing you to optimize engagements in real time.

The days of “set it and forget it” are over. No more waiting for the next plan of action (POA). Today’s requirements include real-time learning with continuous optimization. Not only are the engagement metrics of the channels and platforms important, you also need to assess the level of awareness and conversion of belief and behaviors of your disease-state messaging and your brand, which requires clearly defined KPIs as well. Working to optimize messaging within the focus, wording, and impact of the originator and sender should be a fluid, ongoing process while in-market.

Continued review of real-world outcomes of product use, combined with established quality metrics and outcomes that are defined and communicated to the market, is imperative to understand the value of the product for your customers. Collecting and communicating back to the HCPs, patients, and payers provides positive reinforcement of the decisions they have made and provides real-world evidence to those you continue to convert.

DECAL: try it once, duplicate it again and again, and it just may become a go-to in your brand architecture toolbox.

  • Eric Shaffer

    Eric Shaffer is EVP, Global Client Lead at Calcium. Eric joined Calcium in 2020. He is an experienced healthcare commercial marketing leader who has brought brands to market across regions while supporting portfolio strategic planning and leading integrated cross-functional teams. He brings a broad range of experience, including global to local strategic pull-through and regional activation across all stakeholders.


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