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It's all in the preparation

'Fail to plan: plan to fail' is an old and often quoted saying, but how much planning and preparation do you really put into developing your agency brief?

Vegetables being prepared on a chopping boardPerhaps the key challenge in the planning and implementation of any European cross-national programme is securing the enthusiasm, buy-in and commitment of the local operating companies (LOCs).

How well has this worked in the past? Which initiatives have previously failed to secure LOC support? Why? A brief that accurately reflects LOCs' needs, is invaluable.

 





Potential service providers

Section  Content
Background • Key data about your company, the product, the key competitors
Objective • Programme objectives and scope of work
• The anticipated result
• What effect should the communication have?
• What do you want the target audience to think, to feel, to do?
Target audience • Who exactly are we talking to?
• Target group(s) including geographical information
Brand positioning • The main advantages/disadvantages (factual and/or emotional) of your product and competitor products
• After the project, how should the audience perceive your product?
Key messages • Key messages in a priority order, eg, by audience and geography
Timing and budget information • A timetable showing the proposed agency presentation date(s)
• The budget allocated for this activity, or a 'ball park' guide?
Key contact point and availability • Main contact point and availability
• Handling of agency questions (ie, email or by phone, specific time or ad hoc?)
• Ask for a single point of contact


What implication does a pan-European remit have for the briefing process?
Company culture/structure • For example, regional versus local autonomy
Product approval/ lifecycle status • By country: European mutual recognition procedures mean that the regulatory authorities in a single national market can be influential in establishing a product's perceived safety and value across Europe. This has implications both for licence approvals and for pricing
Product target/aspiration • By country, region or other criteria
National resource • What team, if any, do the national markets have in place?
Priority markets • Which markets require the most attention? Those with the greatest earning potential or those who have the least local resource?
KEEs/spokespeople • Location/nationality/viewpoint of top-tier specialists
Ongoing research • Location of live clinical research sites
SPP/CME • Existing strategic publication plan (SPP) and any existing medical education
(CME) activities
Other relevant information • Should the campaign take into consideration any legal or self-regulatory constraints specific to your company, market and therapy area?
• Will you need specialised assistance and in-depth local market understanding from your agency?
• Are the desired communication channels appropriate for the local market restrictions, eg, access to new media?
• Other idiosyncrasies unique to the company, product or disease state
Approval process • What is the pitch process?
• How many agencies are involved?
• Who are the decision makers?
• Communicate a decision timeline
• When would you like work to start?

 

The Authors
Mark Forbes Irving, managing director and Glenn Mursell, associate director, client services, Wells Healthcare Communications can be contacted on +44 (0)1892 511600.

To comment on this article, email editor@pmlive.com 

 

Related articles: A Fine Balance

15th February 2010

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