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Pharma Brand Planners' Blog (Part 5)

How to ‘sell’ your brand plan....

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Part 5: How to 'sell' your brand plan...

This blog is focused on ‘selling’ your brand plan to your internal colleagues and management in order to gain the key decisions you need on strategy, resourcing, tactics, budget, etc...

The first thing to consider is who the key audiences are that you need to engage with and what you need them to know or do. There tend to be a few ‘usual suspects’ to consider:

  1. Your business unit or company general manager and the leadership team across medical, business operations, market access, sales
  2. The wider cross-functional brand team members who support your brand or portfolio across medical information, legal, compliance, market research, finance
  3. Field-based teams: medical science liaisons, sales teams, key account teams
  4. Your key support agencies that will be responsible for developing some of the content and tactics aligned to the brand strategy
  5. Your colleagues at regional and global level and in other local teams
  6. Any partners in collaborations, alliances or joint ventures.

You may want to create a mini internal communications plan for each audience, defining what you want them to know or do, key interactions and the format or content you will use with them. The presentation content, style and tone will look very different for a brand plan review with a global team vs a planning presentation to the field force.

In my years working in the industry, there are a few standout brand plan presentations that I can remember – from an oncology plan presentation from a business unit head that didn’t leave a dry eye in the room to a global launch plan presentation from the US brand lead that made the audience laugh, cheer and shout with enthusiasm.

Clearly, it’s worth thinking about not only the business and rational content you want to communicate, but ultimately how you want your audience to feel about your brand and the plans for the year ahead.

Some of the best presentations use multimedia, music, video, flip charts, a team approach and above all, a passion and commitment for the brand and what it can offer for patients’ lives and healthcare professionals’ practice.

Great brand plan presentations also transform their brand plan into a ‘story’ with a number of characters and lift the narrative beyond the classic performance bar charts and overcrowded SWOT analyses. Think about the key characters in your story:

  • The villain – the brand or company to challenge and defeat, improving on their product and customer service to benefit patients and HCPs
  • The hero or heroine – your brand, your brand’s purpose and values: what are the attributes that will enable your brand to succeed in the long term?
  • The challenges and quests – the key choices and bold decisions you have to make, such as why you should pursue this mission and what the value will be at the end of the journey
  • The tools and weapons – key insights and data that you can use for competitive advantage.

There are many great books on presentation skills which I won’t try and summarise here – do check out Present Like a Pro by Cyndi Maxey and Kevin E O’Connor.

Here are some practical tips when selling your brand plan to your colleagues:

  1. Create a clear structure within your presentation for the audience to follow
  2. Make your presentation slides and visual aids very appealing – clear, branded, interesting and not too detailed – consider getting some professional help with this
  3. Rehearse and practise your timings – no one likes a presenter who goes over time
  4. Know your facts, statistics and data – but don’t crowd your presentation with these
  5. Give your audience a clear action – at the beginning and at the end so they know what’s expected of them
  6. Lastly, present this together with your cross-functional team and practise how to answer any ‘hecklers’ or dissenters.

If you don’t get it right the first time, keep going!

Ask for feedback and don’t be discouraged. As a 30-something European marketing manager in a large pharma company, I was so terrible at presenting to the European General Manager group that they sent me to a top journalist and TV presenter in London’s Soho to improve – and it worked! I can thoroughly recommend this.

Next time, we’ll be looking at how to develop the right metrics and KPIs in your brand plan and how to build a culture of measurement to drive your performance.

Pharma Brand Planners' Blog (Part 4): Local brand planners – creating multichannel customer engagement plans to drive your tactics

Stephanie Hall is MD of brand planning healthcare consultancy Uptake Strategies

Stephanie Hall is MD of brand planning healthcare consultancy Uptake Strategies

23rd October 2019

From: Marketing

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