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Pharma as change champions

By responding to behaviour change in customers, pharma brands can improve society from local health economies to a global scale.

For all industries in the business universe, a monumental shift has occurred over the last 20 years. This shift has seen the producer-centric become the customer-centric, wherein the customer no longer ‘eats what they are given’ and demand does not fall into line with supply. Knowledge is available at the click of a mouse, and, as we all know, knowledge is power. Consumers have undergone a huge change in behaviour, and this change has given them control over what they want and, ultimately, get.   

Pharma in the slow lane
Bizarrely, the pharma industry has been slower than most to recognise this shift of power. Largely, it still relies on the supply-over-demand system, and moves forward from its own vantage point rather than the customers’. New or improved products, or practices, are thrust upon the public without their consultation – under the assumption that pharma knows best, as it always has.   

Earning trust
Keeping up with the times, however, is not pharma’s only challenge. Lack of transparency and clarity in clinical trial data has led, often, to a lack of trust of pharma brands. Patients and HCPs alike have been left confused and disappointed, and have naturally sought out other sources. So how, then, can pharma brands win back brand trust?   

To begin with, it is important to recognise that this trust is not mandatory. This arrogance is more infuriating even, to customers, than lack of transparency.   

Yet being transparent displays the humility that declares, “I know I have no God-given right to your trust, and will fight to earn this trust”. It accepts that HCPs/payers/patients have their own minds and the final say, and exhibits true customer-centric behaviour. ‘Customer-centric’, for many brands, is no more than a token label; a gimmick term used to fool customers into thinking they are valued. Actually, being customer-centric is to genuinely respect them and their opinions.   

And being transparent means revealing your true selves, warts and all. This entails being accessible – especially on social media – and discussing your activities, hopes and concerns in public. If HCPs and patients can see you as a human being like themselves, they are much more likely to trust your motives and integrity.   

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12th April 2017



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