Brand Rescuing - Pharmaceutical Executive


Brand Rescuing
Rescuing your drug's reputation from brand-jackers may be risky. Not doing it may be a real trust-breaker.

Guide to Branding

Besides optimization, there are also paid search strategies every brand manager can implement to help in the process of reputation management online. These include:

  • Continually monitoring and notify-ing the search engines of brand trademark misuse
  • Purchasing the top spot for the brand name
  • Monitoring for domain misspellings and brand jacking: Managers of popular brands should type in their brand names and look closely at the results to ensure that no URL jacking has occurred. Unethical marketers will buy a URL similar to another brand's (for example, "," which is a common misspelling for the allergy drug Alavert). But consumers will be unaware that they've clicked on an incorrect link.


At this point, a brand manager can begin to fully manage the brand's reputation. An industry as carefully scrutinized as pharma certainly does not need yet another black eye. And it is true; digging into negative search results to determine what content lies within them can open up a Pandora's box of adverse effects. However, pretending the content does not exist can leave false and misleading information sitting in cyberspace, waiting to be read by a consumer seeking reliable health information.

And what if a consumer reads erroneous or out-of-date information about a drug and then gets sick or, worse, dies?

Instead of worrying about the potential headaches of committing to this step in a reputation-management program, companies should be concerned about the infinitely worse headaches that can come from avoiding it.

Negative and incorrect information is not the only content pharmaceutical companies are missing if they refuse to venture into the blogosphere. Customer advocates and potential brand evangelists are everywhere, and third-party endorsements of a brand can be priceless in this industry where so many are doubtful of trustworthiness. What then should a brand manager do to get started? This type of program is most effective with executive buy-in. Therefore, getting the corporation on board with the policy is an ambitious yet important goal to have. Regulatory teams need to be involved, too, and they can help with eventual presentations of the policy to FDA.


These steps might seem like a long shot and overly aggressive in an industry that has long shied away from participating in new media because of strict government regulations, but they are still worth striving for over time.

To influence consumers and demonstrate that a brand is trustworthy, the industry must show that it is not afraid of getting to a point where it will participate in an open dialogue with both its critics and its supporters.

Heather Frahm is president of Catalyst Online, a search engine marketing firm. She can be reached at


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Source: Guide to Branding,
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