What Are IDEAs Made Of: Brand vs product

Mike Rea

IDEA Pharma

Your brand is so much more than your molecule. Most marketers would agree that is true. The associations, the promise, the added value services… They all count towards an experience for the customer that is more than the simple knowledge of the molecule and its data.

 

“…they continue to talk about your own molecule by its INN, for goodness sake, as if to acknowledge the brand name would make them less ‘medical’…”

 

However, there is a strange convention in pharma to talk about competitor products by their INNs, as if somehow mentioning the brand name would begin an unravelling that would only end in complete domination by the competitor. One can understand the medics doing it – they continue to talk about your own molecule by its INN, for goodness sake, as if to acknowledge the brand name would make them less ‘medical’ and like the rest of the non-MDs in the room. But denying the perception, the promise and the added value that your competitors bring to their brands is foolish – it leads to the kind of thinking that only ‘more data, more data’ can satisfy, in a molecule for molecule head to head. And that thinking, that a) physicians will ever see the data in primary sources, or b) are then able to translate it into their practice, is the kind of thinking that leads to investments in trials that will never have a payoff in increased use.

To an internal observer, this may seem trivial, however it reveals a level of frivolity in pharma marketing that undermines the discipline. Pharma marketing isn’t a child’s game (“let’s not speak about her…”). Your brand is shorthand for all the efficacy parameters, the safety parameters and, even more importantly, the regimen, the place in therapy, the recommended patient type. And, so are your competitors’ brands. If you are marketing a brand, give your competitors the respect they deserve, and realise that they can outmanoeuvre you without any new trials, that their patient support programme just added value to the brand even if it doesn’t make the molecule more effective. Imagine the marketers at Pepsi talking about ‘that carbonated cola beverage’ as if the ‘carbonated cola beverage’ was what the consumers were buying.

 

“If you are marketing a brand, give your competitors the respect they deserve, and realise that they can outmanoeuvre you without any new trials…”

 

If it isn’t true that brand makes a difference, cease all work on your own, and concentrate on just publishing what you studied. If it is true, then behave as if you are in a brand competition.

About the author:

Mike Rea is a Principal with IDEA Pharma, who enjoys taking a look outside the industry to learn how it can think differently. For direct enquiries he can be contacted on mike.rea@ideapharma.com and for more information on IDEA Pharma please see http://www.ideapharma.com/what/default.htm.

Is the brand more important than the product?