Brand Growth – A Unifier Where Brand Optimization Is No Longer Linear

by Vince Grillo | Aug 7, 2017

In the not so distant past, building healthcare brands traditionally focused on various elements of the brand at different points across the product lifecycle – often involving separated functional areas within an organization – largely it worked given the objectives and targeted stakeholders were they themselves disconnected. For example,

  • More than 2-3 Years Pre-launch – the "brand" was the domain of the Market Access team, where the stakeholders were approvers and payers and the team focused on identifying the value messages that would support the product's approval and reimbursement. Traditionally this function relied on straightforward, rational data – as justifiers in value messaging.
  • Within 2-3 Years of Launch – the Marketing team would be “handed the brand" to ready its market and customers – traditionally prescribers. Marketing would focus on the "what, where and how" of the brand's positioning, as well as how to increase the salience of the brand in the minds, and sometimes hearts, of prescribers. This is despite the fact that health science organizations were often reluctant to subscribe to the importance of emotion in decision making.  Thankfully most of us have moved on from this...right?
  • Post launch – the brand would then be supported by Marketing to drive message development and the Sales team to execute and drive connections and commitments among customers. Success was a measure of face time with the physicians.

brand growth the unifier chart 2The result of this widely-accepted model was the “handballing of the brand" from Access to Marketing to Sales – ownership of the "brand" often disconnected resulting in opportunity unrealized.

Today, the world is far more complex and there is greater realization by brand owners that decision making is not at all, linear, rational and controlled.  Access is no longer partitioned off prelaunch, but now considered critical across the brand journey.  The new reality of building value messages that are centered on the non-linear patient journeys that are customized to multi-stakeholder in the patient ecosystem is a reality and a key challenge to unlock growth.    

brand growth the unifier chart 1Importantly, the sophistication of how to provide insights to inform brands across the product lifecycle has grown with increased knowledge on how brand decisions are made. Neuroscience directs us to use our understanding of how the brain works, in terms of emotion and decision making, to guide our choices in the wording of questions, while behavioural economics enables us to recognize that humans have cognitive limitations or “bounded rationality”. This understanding informs how we ask questions and which questions to ask. The need to disentangle the elements of a brand in order to help brand builders achieve optimum success is far more relevant today than ever before.

Kantar Health recently put out a new Edge of Insight report that details how you can maximize brand growth throughout the product lifecycle. The report indicates that brand teams must seek ongoing evidence of their brands' value, while embracing a more holistic perspective that incorporates a deeper understanding on where and how to focus across the key elements of a brand success - access, experience and execution. 

What we have found in implementing the framework is the instant resonance the model with commercial teams – it allows them to understand the growth of the brand, which competitors to focus on in driving growth, and how to capture that growth potential – that is which elements of access, experience and execution do they need to focus on which will give their the biggest bang for their investment dollars. It incorporates the latest in decision making and transforms this into simple compelling direction for brands to grow.

Please click here to check out the full Edge of Insight report.

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