When 1+1=3 is Good Math for Brands

We all know that 1+1=2. But sometimes better synergy is possible when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We’ve done the math, and a franchise approach to pharmaceutical marketing within a therapeutic category often makes sense. By promoting brands as a franchise, the value of each individual brand interaction increases, ultimately helping establish or grow a category leadership position in the market.

The healthcare landscape is changing, and brands must move quickly to stay competitive. We are entering an age of outcomes management, where the value of pharmaceutical brands won’t be measured by safety and efficacy alone, but by their overall impact in driving better patient outcomes. It’s an age in which the mantra “No outcomes, no income” will set the tone.

To succeed, brands will need to deliver a real value story to physicians who are managing risk across disease categories. They need to expand their reach to wider sets of healthcare stakeholders, such as nurses and pharmacists, and engage them in ways that fit their new reality as “corporate citizens.” Pharmaceuticals must invest in ideas that showcase the brands’ ability to improve outcomes—the new bottom line in the evolving healthcare marketplace.

This raises new challenges for brands. With market access controlled by a relatively small group of public and private payers, pharmaceuticals must demonstrate brand value in a way that protects and grows existing market share without jeopardizing other brands in its portfolio. A franchise approach is a smart way to safeguard and cultivate each individual brand in the franchise and save money. There are four essential steps to driving category leadership in this evolving landscape:

1. Establish Products: A brand must first establish its place in the market with compelling promotional messages and medical education. This means going beyond the traditional rep detail by engaging physicians where they live, both online and in-office, building new communities to share the brand story and extending the message to a broader group of healthcare professionals.

2. Prove Value: Next, a brand needs to deliver a value story to the new stakeholders who are managing the risk across disease populations. Physicians’ needs are evolving as they manage larger groups of patients more effectively, with higher-quality care. Real-world outcomes are increasingly important to these physicians and no longer just a payer demand. HEOR and real-world effectiveness data are critical to justify access and drive demand.

3. Fulfill Existing Needs: In the new client service model, brands must move beyond simply fulfilling the needs of physicians and focus on making the experience both easy and even delightful. Let’s face it—doctors are very busy people. Brands must understand they face more challenges than ever and find ways to deliver valuable information in meaningful ways. Brands have a unique role to play in helping the physician drive better health with patients.

4. Deliver Outcomes: True success will be measured in outcomes-based data. Therefore, brands must demonstrate how they fulfill the ultimate need to improve health. This will require investment in long-term clinical studies that prove effectiveness in the category.

The key to a franchise is building the category synergistically so each brand can represent its part in the care continuum. That way the brands become complementary treatments. Physicians can come to appreciate how each brand fits into their overall strategy for improving outcomes and how the franchise is leading the way, providing the needed treatments within the category. That makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

  • Lynn O'Connor Vos

    Lynn O’Connor Vos is President and CEO of ghg (grey healthcare group), a leading global healthcare communications company with expertise in multiple specialties that drive brand loyalty and sales. She is committed to ensuring communications help drive better health outcomes in the healthcare industry.

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