Rubber to Pavement

Jun 01, 2011

First in Class

Joe Maynard, EVP Director of Client Services | McCann Healthcare
Having a first-in-class brand with a tough competitor hot on its tail is a situation a lot of marketing directors would love to be in.

It's a great competitive scenario as long as you have enough momentum. To keep that second compound in your rearview mirror, eating your dust, consider:

A sober assessment. Take a long, hard look at your product with a focus on competitive strategizing:
  • How powerful is your brand's engine? How quickly can it accelerate? How long can it sustain its speed? You have to know these things. And you have to be prepared to play to your strengths in a way that compensates for any weaknesses.

Leverage your head start to maximize benefit during a limited exclusivity period. Don't act as if the competition is vying for position alongside of you when in fact they haven't even left the starting line.

Believe in your brand. Your brand's power and potential, and all its resources is what will make it a first-in-class success. Go with that.

Follow the disrupt, displace, and entrench model. Disrupt current thinking, displace today's standard of care, and then entrench your brand as the new one.

First in Market

An anti nicotine vaccine would be the one vaccine for a condition that is not invisible.

Targeting the appropriate audience all comes down to who has the power to request the vaccine from the physician. Is it the smokers or the people who care about them? NicVAX offers a clear benefit, but how receptive will smokers be to it? Denial is a big part of the addiction.

There are also sensitivities regarding the age of smokers. Take the case of a parent concerned about her teenage son. Is it appropriate to encourage annual vaccinations for your children?

The global aspect. The sensibilities of local markets are considerations for any brand, but uniquely so for NicVAX.In European countries and emerging economies smoking might still be socially acceptable.

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