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Branding and the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical Executive (November 1) has an article called “Step it up: Branding Roundtable” that talks about branding in the pharmaceutical industry.

I'm not sure what benefit branding ultimately is to the pharmaceutical industry, since generics are required by the Food and Drug Administration to be every bit as good as brands and are widely available.

I guess the scam is for the pharmaceutical industry to convince people that branded drugs are somehow better than generics...which is absolutely not the case.

To that end, here are some quotable quotes:

  • The fundamentals of branding: “If somebody is not willing to pay a little bit more for your brand, you did not have a brand in the first place.”--Jeff Conklin, VP, marketing practices and innovation, Wyeth
  • Being customer-centric: “Branding is going to be driven by the complexity of consumers rather than the complexity of brands.”--Conklin
  • Branding as an experience: “A brand has to create an experience, a situation where people see a reflection of themselves and their values. So the whole act of putting a nurse educator into a physician’s office is imparting a value to that brand. The brand becomes helpful, nurturing.”--Vince Parry, president, Y Brand
  • The importance of salespeople: “Probably the main brand experience for doctors is still the sales forces. Yet there is no training whatsoever on how sales reps should represent the brand they sell. They are not representing a nurturing, helpful, caring brand if they are coming into the office and saying, “Doc, I need your next 10 patients.” “--Vince Parry, president, Y Brand
  • Content as brand strategy: “As we become more commoditized, every market becomes more crowded. You’ll to need more depth to differentiate yourself....That may mean mobile media reaching out to patients at mealtime and saying, for example, ‘Crestor is reminding you to take your medication,’ and then recommending a heart-healthy diner nearby.”--Mark Nolan, senior VP, group creative director, Digitas Health
  • The importance of the corporate brand: “The role of the corporate brand is going to—has to—change drastically over the next 10 years. Patients are going to know who makes their drugs, and it will drive preference because these big issues, like trust, can be handled only at the corporate level. It’s the most underleveraged business asset of pharma companies.”--Wes Wilkes, managing director, Interbrand Wood Healthcare

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