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The Editors blog

An inside look at what’s happening within the pharma industry and across the PMGroup from the PMLiVE editorial team

Brand DNA: decoding the next generation

Of the key drivers that will chart your brand’s success, one may be the hot button of the future

The results for our Iconic Brands Survey are in, with a 1-10 league table compiled from your nominations (see Iconic Brands Survey: The results).

The survey has provided us with an important analysis. It has reinforced the view that highly successful pharma brands have some very specific brand values in common. But one of these values – that of the role of corporate authenticity – is increasingly going to define your brand's 'DNA' – and it could make all the difference to your brand's success.

It was while working on the Iconic Brands Survey findings that a report from PatientView entitled 'Corporate Reputation of Pharma – the Patient Perspective' hit my emails. The results suggest that pharma's consumer-facing, corporate relationship with its audiences is not what it needs to be. This global survey explored the views of 600 international, national and regional patient groups from 56 countries and differing specialities. In its key findings it states that the overall reputation of pharma declined in 2012. While the survey goes into specific possible reasons why it came to this conclusion, it illustrates the catch-up pharma may need to make.

Corporate messages

Pharma is best versed in having relationships with its consumer audiences either through its OTC activity (depending on local regulations) or its disease- awareness activities. Yet interestingly, in the analysis of the Iconic Brands Survey analysis InterbrandHealth's Karen Choueiri talks specifically about one of the key attributes associated with brand strength that is rising in importance: “Some of the nominated iconic product brands have lost or will be losing patient exclusivity by 2015. In such cases,” Choueiri adds, “the role of the corporate brand is crucial to increase marketing efficiencies and differentiate these product brands.”

As outlined in the series on Brand Strength – Parts 1, 2 and 3, pharma's corporate relationship with its audiences is going to become pivotal, whether your brand faces generic competition or not.

The opportunities 

What Choueiri is saying – and of course she's not alone nor the first – is that individual pharma companies must strive increasingly to uphold certain corporate equities and to communicate these effectively to their many and various audiences.

Honest, open – and importantly active – dialogue is at the hub of corporate reputation. Engendering trust and authenticity around a brand takes a robust corporate strategy involving active (and interactive) communication.

With consumers and patients increasingly craving information about their condition or prescribed drug and turning to social media to gather information from both formal and informal sources, pharma is ideally placed to step up its corporate interaction alongside its sharing of expertise.

The dynamics of social media pave the way for pharma to engage with its audiences in ways that engender greater trust and loyalty, at corporate level. It unquestionably means stepping out of a long-established comfort zone. But in what is now an open forum on all matters medical there are clear opportunities to go further than telling our audiences what we might think they want to hear. And clearly finding ways to embed strong corporate values in the minds and hearts of audiences worldwide is going to be part of what makes for individual brand success this day forward.

Back in 1999 public educationalist Crawford Kilian wrote: “More sophisticated models treat communication not as a one-way missile launched at a passive target, but as a simultaneous two-way process in which participants are responding.”

Yes, 14 years ago, Kilian who at the time described himself as a 'veteran of the internet' – was talking about how to develop multimedia interaction. Never could his words ring more true.

Sylvie Wootton is editor of The Directory of Advertising, Branding, Creative and Digital Agencies

Read the Iconic Brands Survey results and analysis of the findings

Find out what the 10 components of a strong brand are in our Smart Thinking blogsParts 1, 2 and 3

Article by
Sylvie Wootton

is editor of The Directory of Advertising, Branding, Creative and Digital Agencies

11th February 2013

From: Marketing

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