How Neuromarketing can boost your Pharma brand

Project Description

TTM associates Article

Branding is about understanding your brand’s value and knowing how to deliver value consistently to customers while keeping in mind the changes in brand identity during a product’s life cycle. Customer centred branding allows organisations to focus on what the customer wants, rather than forcing their products onto customers. The organisations that follow customer centred branding strategies will retain customers and grow relationships with them by delivering on-target solutions. In this context, they will be satisfying their customers’ expectations constantly. Branding is of crucial importance especially to management, as it allows them to share insights and knowledge with their customers and as a result expand the relationship between the company and customers.

The brand building process:

Brand Positioning & Personality

A brand must have a meaningful value proposition that will drive the decision making process of the customer. A value proposition must be relevant and significant to the customer, so it needs to be personal and differentiating, as well as make the customer feel and think by connecting emotionally and rationally.

Brand positioning is an exercise that defines a product’s value and embeds the product and its value in the customer’s mind. A brand personality is the humanising touchpoint for the individual customer; it can make or break a brand’s identity. If the positioning is the strategic core of a brand, then the strategic personality is how that strategy comes to life in the lives of customers and prospects.

Coke and Pepsi are great examples. Although most people can rarely tell the difference between the two products in a blind tasting; soda drinkers are often very brand loyal to either Coke or Pepsi. When there is very little difference between the products itself, brand becomes a more important factor in purchasing decisions. Within the pharmaceutical realm, the erectile dysfunction market is another good case study on the importance of brands. Although there is very little clinical difference between Viagra and Cialis, both Pfizer and Lilly have spent a great deal to build their respective brands.

Building the brand identity

The brand building process entails generating the insights necessary to understand the market, customer behaviour and competition. In order for businesses to design a successful brand identity, they need to understand their why they exist, what are the opportunities in the market and how they can effectively leverage their identity. A successful brand is differentiating, relevant, campaign-able, and allows for multiple and consistent ways to build brand equity. Social media intelligence, when applied correctly, can help inform these strategic endeavours.

Roche’s Rocephin campaign, which has been around for decades, was one of the first campaigns to use a distinctive and relevant branding icon, which remains a model for advertising creativity today and continues to be a brand builder. Rocephin’s apple has been given a personality, which has evolved over time, appearing on the beach, in different seasons, envisioned with X-rays and built of different materials like steel and gold to meet different marketing goals—but the ‘core’ of the idea always remained true to its simplest form.

The Visual Brand Identity

The visual brand identity or corporate design can be explained as the graphic components that provide a system for identifying and representing a brand. The basic elements of a brand’s visual identity might include a logo, symbols, colours and typography.

An effective logo must be simple and memorable, in other words catchy! It must also be timeless, versatile and appropriate. For example, choosing the right font is essential to convey your messages. Canon’s logo uses sharp corners to indicate the level of precision of their products, Disney’s logo is based on founder Walt Disney’s personal signature, while Google uses a variation of the Catull typeface that gives off an air of playfulness and flexibility, and MSD’s CozAAr uses a distinctive mark in its logo’s suffix by highlighting its medical use for (Lostran) as an Angiotensin II receptor antagonist.

On the other hand, drugs such as Celexa and Celebrex both antidepressants, as well as Detrol which treats overactive bladders, do not offer any distinctive or memorable logos as they share the same generic symbol (images below).

Plenty of companies have single shades of colour trademarked, which are crucial to how brands create their marketing, packaging, uniforms, and in-store design. These companies understand that colours increase chances of recognition by 80% and make people associate their brands with their trademark colour. Tiffany’s robin’s egg blue colour is iconic, while Coca-Cola has its iconic red and white scheme protected, AstraZeneca’s heartburn relief drug Nexium is marketed as the ‘purple pill’ so naturally, the shade used on the pill is protected.

A slogan is a short phrase that captures a company’s essence, personality, positioning, and distinguishes a company from its competitors. It must be catchy, clever or topical such “Ideas worth spreading” TED or “Just Do It” Nike would be good examples.

The challenge that pharmaceuticals face with their slogans is redundancy, such as Roche’s “We innovate healthcare” and Boehringer Ingelheim’s “Value through innovation” as well as Merck’s “Be well” vs GSK’s “Do more, feel better, live longer”. Pharmaceuticals tend to use value statements in their slogans, such as ‘caring for the patient’ or customer service statements such as ‘putting you first’. These types of slogans are not distinctive or original as they can practically apply to any company selling any kind of goods or services.

Neuroscience & Brand Identity

In “Buyology: Truth and lies about why we buy” Martin Lindstrom conducted a research project using fMRI and EEG technologies to study what was really going on in the brains of consumers as they watched commercials and thought about a brand. His research found that most of the consumers’ buying decisions aren’t conscious; only a very small part of the rational brain, 10%, plays a part in the decision making process. His research team compared consumers’ brain activity while viewing images of brands, religion, and sport figures which revealed some astonishing facts. The activity evoked by strong brands was much like that caused by religious images. For example, universal logos such as the McDonald’s ‘M’ or the Nike ‘tick’ evoked powerful associations as consumers instantaneously knew what the logos stood for. The research also revealed that consumers and cigarette health warnings actually stimulate smoking; researchers found that the warnings had no effect at all on the cravings of smokers. This applied not only to the rather subtle messages on US packaging, but even packages that included bold text and gruesome disease photos. The book concludes that all products in the future will be branded using brain scans prior to introducing them to the market but this will be initially very expensive and time consuming. Despite the cost, companies are already using neuromarketing like Christian Dior, Microsoft and Unilever. There is still much to discover about the science behind why we buy – but neuroscience is leading the way.

Final Thoughts

The balance in a brand portfolio depends on the geographic market and the consumer the company is trying to reach. Brands survive and thrive on their ability to deliver on a compelling brand promise; to provide superior delivery of desired benefits in ways that can’t be matched by another brand or firm. Companies that align their brand architecture strategy with their brand promise and product development strategies can create a successful brand that bring clarity to the consumer marketplace. The successful application of neuromarketing could reduce the number of product introductions that fail, and prove to be a more reliable tool than traditional market research techniques like surveys and focus groups.

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TTM associates have been a strategic partner in Healthcare for years, and has developed cutting-edge solutions in Pharmaceutical Marketing, branding and product marketing strategies.You are also welcome to have a look at TTM associates solutions across the Healthcare industry.