Jon Hussey, Palio

June 3, 2010

Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical Executive, Pharmaceutical Executive-06-03-2010, Volume 0, Issue 0

In China people view expenditures on pharmaceuticals as a "cost" rather than a "purchase"

Significant differences in terms of quality of work not only exist between agencies, but also between offices within agency networks, and specific teams within an office.

Jon Hussey

By consolidating globally with a single agency, a client is creating the likelihood that at least some of their affiliates will be forced to work with offices that are significantly less capable than the agency they would work with if the affiliate had freedom to choose their agency. Because agency work is essentially the voice of the brand, in markets where a brand is receiving sub-par agency support there is significant potential for damage to the brand's performance, which could outweigh any cost savings associated with global consolidation.

One model that we have seen work very well involves using a single agency to create a global campaign idea with input from each of the local markets, and then allowing the local affiliates to execute the idea in ways that are best suited to local customs and interpretations.

Cost vs. Purchase

China is an interesting market from the pharmaceutical perspective. Clearly, in the consumer goods market, quality and the perception of quality are closely linked to status, which drives sales of luxury brands like Gucci and Prada. The dynamic in pharmaceuticals is very different. In general, people view expenditures on pharmaceuticals as a "cost" rather than a "purchase."

People are much more likely to try to limit their drug costs rather than pursue quality or status through their purchase choice. However, China has a rampant counterfeit drug industry that produces an entire spectrum of knock-off products, ranging from those that are almost indistinguishable from the real product, to those that are not particularly harmful but contain no active ingredient, to some that are toxic or deadly. Therefore, in China, "quality" in pharmaceuticals can be equated to "genuine." Based on that, the best way to provide a credible, compelling reason to use a branded pharmaceutical product and deliver a positive customer experience is by ensuring that customers who are seeking those products and willing to pay for them actually get the genuine product.

Related Content:

News