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Conjunction(s) Are the Death Knell of Pharmaceutical Brand Positioning

After five years of intensive focus on pharmaceutical brand positioning, I stepped away from the discipline in 2006 to start Return on Focus. With the clarity of a five-year sabbatical and a renewed focus on increasing the level of evidence behind communication platform development (positioning + message hierarchy), I’ve found the primary culprit to poor positioning . . .
the conjunction!

Conjunction JunctionIf you can’t immediately recall the School House Rock Song, Conjunction Junction, conjunctions are connector words like AND and OR, and they’re used for “hookin’ up words and phrases and clauses,” thus allowing the ability to combine two or more thoughts or ideas in a sentence. So you see the problem with conjunctions and positioning, right?

If positioning is supposed to be a single-minded concept or perceptual unit, it shouldn’t have any conjunctions at all! Exhibit A is the oft used positioning statement catch-all – Product X is the best balance of efficacy, safety, AND tolerability.

My definition of positioning after being away from the space for a little while remains the same – Positioning is the art of sacrifice. Pull out your positioning statement, count the number of conjunctions, and then give me a call for a strong dose of sacrificial thinking!

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