Step It Up: Branding Roundtable - Pharmaceutical Executive


Step It Up: Branding Roundtable

Pharmaceutical Executive

CLINTON: With the new focus on pharmacovigilance and the availability of huge databases of insured patients, how can marketers create a strong brand as safety signals continually emerge?

MOSKOW: Safety is not a bad thing to talk about. We want to make sure that our patients are having a good experience. We're in a better place if they know what to expect and, even better, how to avoid it. It is important for the physician to think about patient selection, about who is the right patient and who is not the right patient.

MARK NOLAN (senior VP, group creative director, Digitas Health): One of the first things patients will look at on a Web site is the side effects page. So we advise our clients to consider a more radical level of transparency. Don't underestimate the power of patient, caregiver, and physician bloggers. The second a safety concern arises, your brand's Web site is going to be knocked down on search engines by them, or by lawyers looking to sue.


BREITSTEIN: Pharma has long been talking about the missed opportunities of compliance. Are there any new efforts in the space that are truly promising?

BOKEN: You really create that brand equity if you can get into the hard work of figuring out what to say to the patients and delivering the right information about adverse events in their language.

There are significant adverse events that come with taking any ADHD drug. It used to be, "Don't tell parents about it, because the kids are going to go off treatment." But the bottom line was, we were having this huge drop-off, because parents were seeing the adverse event and no one was talking them through it. We made the change to holding their hands, where we send them a mailing every week once they initiate treatment, and then after two or three months on treatment, they get a reminder.

As a result, our product is the leader in compliance in the category. That's a sign that we're doing something right.

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Mark Nolan, Digitas Health; Maureen Regan, Regan Campbell Ward; Bob Mason, Palio Communications; Vince Parry, Y Brand
REGAN: What's new is that we're going to see more research conducted on the underlying mechanisms of noncompliance. We'll find out that there is no such thing as the typical noncompliant patient. There are many different motivations that lead to noncompliance, and, hopefully, we will be able to model different communications based on these triggers and identify which patients would benefit from more tailored communications. The financial services industry does a particularly good job of this in terms of tailoring the messages to small niches. There is potential to do that in our business, but it is in its infancy.

NOLAN: When you talk about patient compliance, you're really talking about segment compliance, because you're going to have those proactive patients that are going to be compliant even without a program. But we see using the Internet as a way to supplement what the physician tells the patient as a key driver. More and more, patients can go online and choose a mentor they can identify with—someone with the same experience, who has been there, done that, and can connect with them. Those things work.

As we become more commoditized, every market becomes more crowded. You'll to need more depth to differentiate yourself—and that is content, whether it be clinical or service content. It should be immediate and personally relevant. That may mean mobile media reaching out to patients at mealtime and saying, for example, "Crestor is reminding you to take your medication," and then recommending a heart-healthy diner nearby.

HUNTSMAN: With some biotech products, the value of each patient is substantial. Out of necessity, we really had to be ahead of Big Pharma in terms of tactics to create the patient experience.


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