Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007 - (Page 4)

RUNNING HEAD The Brand Exchange Rebecca Robins asks if the gains in the means of communication that we have today have been made at the expense of the currency of communication itself? hat a difference a decade makes. A week may be a long time in politics, but what of a decade in the pharmaceutical industry? 1997 saw the advent of direct-toconsumer (DTC) advertising in the United States. It is also reputed to be the year in which the term ‘blog’ was coined. Within those same ten years, we waved goodbye to fax and VHS, said hello to DVD and SMS, and welcomed the world of ‘i’ and addictive little gizmos named after purple fruit. The way in which we communicate has changed exponentially. The question is, to what extent have we in the healthcare industry capitalised on this sea change? We have the opportunity for dialogue with the customers and consumers of our brands as never before, but do we exploit it? Our ever-evolving vehicles of communication have brought with them a need for speed. Communications have become more W frequent and their messages more fractured and fragmented in the fray. The question is, are we running the gauntlet, or are we merely along for the ride? Brand by any other name Such is the inexorable lexicon of terminology that has arisen around the word ‘brand’ that I could spend quite some time reeling off 1001 enigmatically named variations of methodologies and terminologies that exist to define the same thing. Marketers now run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and getting bogged down in the seemingly mammoth process of ‘branding.’ Pharma companies and consultancies alike, “heal yourselves!” Clarity and consistency of communication begins at home. The fundamental principles of branding are based on a trinity, holy or otherwise, that should nonetheless be kept sacrosanct: simplicity, clarity and consistency. Simplicity. The strongest brands follow a single-minded vision and positioning. Clarity. The strongest brands embody a clearly articulated brand image, set of values and point of differentiation. Consistency. The strongest brands inhabit a consistent and wellmanaged external and internal world. Pharma brands have become more visible and consumers more empowered to drive dialogue — and demand. In an information-rich environment, customers are more ‘in control’ of choice than ever, but because of so much choice they are also less in control and need clarity, transparency and guidance from brands as never before. At a time when confusion and uncertainty are particularly prevalent, brands need to communicate — and educate — as never before . Maintaining contact with our consumers is crucial, if we are to hold true to the tenets of good branding: building and maintaining a 4 OCTOBER 2007 PHARMACEUTICAL EXECUTIVE EUROPE

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007

The Brand Exchange
Focused and Flexible
Making A Global Vision Work
Leading the Way
The OnlineConsumer
Wired to the Future
Co-ordinate Your Communications
In the Public Interest
Seek First to Understand

Pharmaceutical Executive Europe - October 2007