A Brand Positioning Nightmare

Jun 01, 2012
By Pharmaceutical Executive

I recall talking to a brand director who said to me, "I'm facing a problem. My product is receiving a new indication within the next year, and I'm worried it's going to hinder the brand more than help it."


Yaron Landow
I asked, "What is your worst nightmare for your brand?" She replied, "It's that our target will only use the drug in this narrow population, all because of its potential indication approval."

I said to her, "It's time we address your nightmare head on and turn it into one of your best dreams come true."

This challenge isn't unique for brand managers, especially in the oncology, hematology, and rheumatology arena, where one product can typically have more than one indication and multiple targets with different needs and mindsets.

When this happens to you and your brand, you should be armed with the right approach and a plan of action. This article covers four key steps you should take, along with some case studies. When we boil it down it's actually pretty simple to ensure that you take the right path.

Step 1: Case study analysis

Research previous brands that had similar issues and find out what they did. Use these case studies as guidance when thinking about what contributed to the brand's success and what didn't.

Step 2: Brand awareness—ask yourself two key questions:

Would the brand be more successful if we had one overarching brand position, or should we separate positions based on indications or different therapeutic categories?

How can we ensure our brand connects not only on the rational data points but also on an emotional level?

Step 3: Positioning workshop

Institute a full-day workshop that entails research insights, competitive analysis, positioning, and personality exercises that help you answer the questions from Step 2.

Step 4: Ask for help

This is an easy one. Pick up the phone or send an e-mail. Brand consultants with a knowledge of the therapeutic area will be happy to help you through your challenge.

Every brand has its own set of objectives and issues. These four steps may help your brand with multiple indications thrive. Each of these cases will look at similarities and differences in the areas of brand ideas/concepts, brand identity, and messaging.