Introduction: Branded for Life

Coke or Pepsi. Mac or PC. Developing brand loyalty takes time and patience, but the payoff is worth it in the end.
Mar 01, 2007

Jeannette Park
On my first day of college, I remember going to the drugstore with my roommate Susanna to pick up some essentials. I remember peering into her basket and seeing brands I had never used. Inside my own cart, I placed Dial soap, Colgate toothpaste, and Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo. These were products my parents had bought for my brother and I all our lives, and I had never used anything else. Although Susanna raved about the items she purchased, and the local store had sales on other brands, being so far away from home only made me more committed to using the brands I grew up with.

Brand loyalty is a central topic in Volume VII of the Successful Product Manager's Handbook—and with good reason. It is the social and emotional impact of brands that make patients loyal customers. Daniel Rehal, senior product manager for diabetes at Takeda, offers a front-line perspective on how this works in the physician's office. In his experience, a drug's cost takes a backseat to how doctors feel about brands. Rebecca Robins, of Interbrand Wood, also tackles branding, and discusses how execs can enable lifelong relationships between their product and the patients that use them. The biggest challenge: don't shout louder, but instead be smarter about communicating the right message.

One way of doing that is through the Web. Stephen Gerard of TGaS Advisors offers brand teams a benchmark for their Web spending and insight on how to get the most out of a brand's online dollars. Of course, it's not only what you spend, but the impact of the creative. In her article, Corbett creative chief Robin Shapiro discusses how to develop a concept that blows away the competition. (Hint: it's the relationship with the client that counts.)

In the end, the patient experience isn't so different than my own: I've long been out of college, but you better believe I still have Dial soap, Colgate toothpaste, and Johnson & Johnson's shampoo in my medicine cabinet.

Jeannette Park is Pharmaceutical Executive's special projects editor. She can be reached at

lorem ipsum