In pharmaceutical selling, trust is built over time and depends on training, professionalism, and dedication to doctor and
patient needs—not just brand objectives. You can see the result of this in surveys of physicians, who show clear preferences
when it comes to company sales forces. They see the clinical data package, willingness of reps to present brand benefits with
"fair balance," and even samples as brand components that help build and maintain trust.
Michael Guarini is regional president, North America of Ogilvy Healthworld. He can be reached at
By Rebecca Robins
AT a time when consumer confidence has been shaken by product withdrawals and the media is spotlighting every ill of the industry
(while backlighting every good), companies need to engage with the true role and meaning of a brand as never before.
A brand is the ultimate mark of trust. It is the Kitemark of quality, the emblem of efficacy, and the reassurance of reliability
that is afforded by one product over another, or indeed, by a brand over a generic. Recently, the findings of a study presented
at the European Society of Cardiology, in Vienna, highlighted the stark reality of switching patients from a branded statin
to a generic: Switching was shown to be associated with a 3o percent increase in the risk of heart attack or stroke. The results
suggest the added reliability and strength of branded formulations—and keeping those brands alive, even in the face of generic
The principle—and practice—of trust applies to product and corporate brands alike and, of course, the relationship between
the two. For too long, pharma companies have demonstrated a reluctance to assert their identity, driven for the most part
by a self-protective separation of "church" from "state." In other words, there has been a tendency to maintain a degree of
distance between the corporate and product brand to protect companies from, in the worst case, product withdrawal and possibly
unforeseen side effects. However, pharma companies need to move toward the clear and distinctive assertion of who they are
and what they—and their brands—stand for. What's more, this communication needs to disseminate from the top down. Transparency
of communication is key to the foundations of any mark of trust.
Brands have become more visible than ever before. The brands that will succeed will be those that take ownership of that visibility,
through defining clear and meaningful values, communicating them consistently with all audiences, and delivering on them at
The tenets of trust already have been established. It is the exchange of trust that the industry is now grappling with—and
where the work remains undone.
Rebecca Robins is global marketing director, Interbrand Wood Healthcare and head of Interbrand Wood Healthcare in London.
She can be contacted at
By James L. Dettore and Scott Piergrossi
ACCEPT this premise: Marketers of pharmaceutical brands begin at a trust disadvantage, with the public instilling the same amount
of faith in Big Pharma as they do in the tobacco industry. In the face of such opposition, what should pharma execs do? Remain
clear-headed and focus on branding basics. Keep in mind:
James L. Dettore
- Trust can be earned, even in the pharmaceutical industry
- Trust is established over time through positive customer experience
- Trust is established when a product delivers on its brand promise—the big idea behind your brand, which should be meaningful and tangible to customers and, in turn, promote a sense of integrity
- While trust may be earned, it can also be lost.