Build your brand's story to maximize success across the lifecycle

by Tim Irfan | Jul 18, 2017

A strong brand is not built on a successful launch alone, but also navigating through often complex challenges to maximize the brand's potential across the product lifecycle. This is a demanding assignment that requires both skill and a deep understanding of the market, competitors, changing market environment factors, and changing influences regarding stage of the lifecycle.

In today's world, most products that launch are not unique and need differentiating support to build their story, claim a position in the market and target the right patient and HCP segment.

Companies must not focus solely on the product, but be mindful of regulatory, pricing, reimbursement, market access and clinical development factors – in essence the market as a whole - to optimally leverage broad-scale marketing activities. Working across silos and viewing the market holistically grants a deeper understanding of all stakeholders and enables a brand team to position its product where it belongs.

Brand tracking should start preferably before launch to set a baseline for comparison. And continually gathering meaningful insights will help you course correct brand strategy as needed. Marketing’s influence on a brand is usually the greatest directly after launch.

While Marketing sets a brand's course for years to come, it cannot do it in isolation for maximum success. Collaboration across departments is essential and should continue after launch.

The course set after launch is the course most often kept throughout the lifecycle as only about 20% of brands significantly increases their share after the Immediate Growth Post-Launch phase. Yet through a more holistic approach, active market observations, applied analytics and translating insights into actions, brand teams can re-position their medicines and shift shares in their favor.

While brand tracking and course corrections of the brand strategy help to achieve peak performance, the brand team still needs to think ahead. Expanding indications, broadening the label and reinforcing customers’ trust through KOLs should be key priorities. The customer’s brand experience needs to be honed and refined, as it becomes more and more important in the second half of the lifecycle.

Patients play an active role in the success of a brand as well. Using a push-pull marketing strategy, in which patients are empowered and informed customers of a brand, they can create a need for a specific treatment that HCPs find hard to refuse.

Creating brand loyalty in HCPs and patients throughout the lifecycle through re-occurring positive experiences can be a strong protection against generics or biosimilars. Managing decline then becomes much easier. In addition, real world evidence can support HCPs’ brand perception and reinforce prescribing behaviors - something a new entrant cannot provide. Furthermore, this can be combined with line extensions and new formulations, e.g. going from IV to SC, to promote convenience.

Navigating a brand through the unique stages of the lifecycle in an intricate and changing market with multiple stakeholders can seem difficult, complex and overwhelming at first. However, when brand opportunities are analyzed in a deliberative and prospective manner, brand teams can shape and extend the duration of the lifecycle to achieve maximum success. There is no excuse anymore, growth is at hand – just take it!

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