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.
If 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.