DTC: What's in a Name? - Pharmaceutical Executive

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DTC: What's in a Name?
Corporate branding is important at every stage of the lifecycle.


Pharmaceutical Executive



Corporate carry-through Eli Lilly successfully paired corporate and product branding in the pre-launch and launch promotions for Symbyax, a new product that treats bipolar depression. The advertising leverages Lillys expertise in neuroscience to build excitement for the product brand and maintains that connection as a lasting point of differentiation.
Eli Lilly, for example, recognizes that its expertise in neuroscience is an important part of its overall corporate image. Before the launch of Symbyax (olanzapine/fluoxetine), Lilly ran an extensive campaign about its ongoing research in bipolar depression to set the stage for its new product. Additional advertising tying the corporate brand to that disease area also prepared the market for yet another category entry, the recent FDA approved depression treatment Cymbalta (duloxetine).

Launch and Beyond Too often, companies stop using the corporate brand once they launch a product or receive approval for an indication. That means pharmas lose their investment—and the connection they established for customers between the corporation, the therapeutic area, and the product.

There's no argument that products require the lion's share of voice in communication at launch. But companies must find a way to give both brands presence and meaning, so it is clear to all customers why the product and the company behind it are something worth their loyalty and investment.

Corporate brands also help differentiate and drive revenue for the me-too products that make up about one-third of most Big Pharma portfolios.


Corporate-branding case study Novo Nordisk uses its branding-communicated to all audiences through various communication tools-to position itself as a leading provider of diabetes products, devices, and services.
Although physicians make their primary prescribing decisions based on drug safety and efficacy, it is their total experience with the company, its reps, its other products, its customer service, and patient education that can affect what name goes on the script. It is the corporate brand that is the constant in all these touch points to ensure that the message is clear and consistent and captures physicians' and consumers' loyalty.

This is the case with Danish pharma company Novo Nordisk. Even though it has products in several therapeutic categories, Novo Nordisk decided to focus on diabetes and has launched a new corporate brand program to establish this position. The corporate program—communicated across all media and to all audiences—provides an umbrella for all Novo Nordisk's diabetes products, devices, and services. The intention is that physicians will think of Novo Nordisk when prescribing diabetes drugs and buy the range of products rather than individual brands.

What's in the Way?The strategy of establishing a corporate brand as the master brand is common outside the pharma industry. In fact, executives at other leading companies rely on their corporate brand to create differentiation, build a strong product offering, and build overall brand value.


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