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    Every Hero Needs a Backstory. What’s Yours?

    March 11, 2015

    superheroHow interesting would a superhero movie be if it immediately jumped right to the part where the hero fights the epic battle, defeats the villain, and saves the day? Although the action might captivate your attention for a few minutes, you’re ultimately not likely to remember much about it once it’s over if you haven’t been provided with the backstory. The backstory gives you context, and more importantly, it explains why you should even care.

    Yet with the heroes of our industry, ahem our pharmaceutical brands, we consistently feel the need to just jump right to the part where our brand saves the day. This archaic approach leaves our customers, whether prescribers or patients, in the same quandary as my fictitious moviegoer – trying to figure out on her own why she should care. (more…)

    Mind the Clever Communication Platform Catchphrase

    December 1, 2014

    chicken nuggetsCongratulations! You’ve just completed your brand positioning, and it’s wonderful. After many weeks (or likely months) and hundreds of man hours, the wording has been expertly selected and refined to effectively communicate your brand’s unique benefit(s), it’s been validated with your targeted customers, and the result is a thing of beauty.

    But now someone at your agency, or worse within your own organization, tells you that it’s kind of hard to remember. They want you to develop a short moniker to help the troops understand the essence of what you hope to communicate, but without having them have to work too hard to decipher. You know what I mean, s/he wants a catchphrase like, “confident control” or “best balanced” to throw around at the launch readiness review or sales meetings, because let’s face it, the catchphrase is just easier than reciting that whole mess of words that your team created.

    So, what’s the harm really? It would make it easier for everyone to remember and rally around. It can’t hurt, right? WRONG . . . (more…)

    Physician Experience Fills Data Gaps for Trusted Brands

    July 8, 2014

    I’ve recently worked on two projects in separate therapeutic areas where the challenger brand had unique clinical data that was met with apathy despite high unmet need in both categories. Why would this be the case?

    Filling data gapsThe physicians in each category had assumed that their current brand already had the data in question when it, in fact, did not. This belief by the prescribers basically eliminated the rightful clinical differentiation for these new products. The physicians had given the benefit of the doubt (or filled in the missing data) to their trusted brand.

    So, how does something like this happen? (more…)

    Emotional End Benefit – Earned Not Given

    July 29, 2013

    Hi. We just met. You trust me, right? You have confidence in the work I’ll do for you. Now that we’ve met, you’re willing to give me all your strategic business over other people you’ve worked with for years. Right?

    Well, obviously this idea is absurd. I have to work hard and deliver consistently to earn your trust, your confidence, and your business.

    Circle of TrustIf we all agree that this is how things work in the business world, then can anyone explain why do pharmaceutical brand teams seem to think this rule doesn’t apply for a brand that is new to the market?

    All too often, I see positioning statements for new brands littered with cliché emotional end benefit statements that supposedly fulfill a long-standing unmet need. Things like, “so doctors can confidently make a difference in the lives of their patients” or “so you can trust that you’re helping to improve their overall quality of life.”

    The problem is that these emotional end benefits will not be granted right out of the gate, but have to be earned over time.
    Don’t believe me? Well, ask yourself a few questions.

    • How can a physician have confidence in your brand and what it will deliver if they have never used it?
    • Why should they trust your product when they haven’t seen how it compares to the brands they’ve relied on for years?
    • How do they know how they will feel when they prescribe this product if they haven’t heard patients play back their first-hand experiences?

    The value of physicians connecting with brands on an emotional level is undeniable. In fact, it was validated in a recent survey from Harris Interactive in early 2013 (Harris Poll Physician PulseSM). But what was also clear from this study was that the pharmaceutical medications highest ranked in terms of trust have been on the market for years, if not decades, and physicians have had significant prescribing experience with each one.

    So when you’re working on positioning your brand, keep in mind that you need to give physicians a practical benefit to prescribe when you initially enter the market. You can then work to uncover a highly relevant emotional benefit for your brand once they’ve had ample time to actually establish a connection to your product.

    At the end of the day, prescribing is a lot like dating. If you say, “I love you.” on the first date, you’re likely to scare them off before the relationship even gets started.

    Understand The ‘Zone of Credibility’ for Your Brand Before You Make Content Investments

    February 24, 2013

    Zone of CredibilityPharmaceutical and Biotechnology Marketers increasingly frustrated by the limitations of the package insert and desperate to seek value-added services, have tried to engage their target HCPs by offering content that extends beyond the product itself. When examined, this attempt to reach beyond the product has been met with resistance.

    In assessing the marketing effectiveness of a HCP CRM program from a biotechnology company, ROF quantified huge perceived credibility gaps among HCPs on a variety of non-drug content topics. An illustrative quote from a physician pinpointed the issue.

    “I view the manufacturer as the experts on their product
    (e.g., effectiveness, access, side effect management, administration)
    but this does not extend to other content areas.”

    At ROF, we refer to this as the ‘zone of credibility.’ HCPs pointed out in the research that there are timelier and more credible sources of information for such common content areas as:

    • Disease state information
    • Clinical data releases
    • Conference information and meeting summaries
    • KOL Interviews
    • Practice & Treatment Guidelines

    In short, HCPs viewed the elements above outside the manufacturers zone of credibility and therefore, discounted (or more likely, ignored) the value the manufacturer was trying to provide.

    On the flip side, our research confirmed the content areas that are considered within the brand’s zone of credibility as measured by HCP responses. These areas included:

    • Dosing and administration
    • Side effect management
    • Patient assistance
    • Benefits coordination and reimbursement services
    • Clinical trial information about your brand
    • Patient education materials

    You may be asking yourself, why is this the first time I’m hearing of this? The answer is few brands actually quantify the zone of credibility afforded by their customers. However, once you clearly define the credibility zone for your brand, the marketing effectiveness of your commercial investments can only increase.

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