The largest community of pharma leaders


Pharma brand and experience management is in the midst of a radical shift to take advantage of a rapidly digitizing healthcare ecosystem. Pharma brands have unique opportunity to become living asset for physicians, patients and employees. Those brands that embrace this opportunity will win, and will stand out for their relevance.

Pharma brand and experience management is at the beginning of a radical shift. Brands are moving to take advantage of a rapidly digitizing healthcare ecosystem. Partnerships with connected medical devices, integration of artificial intelligence in adherence solutions, the growing use of de-identified big data are providing pharma brands with a unique opportunity to become living assets for physicians, patients and employees. Those brands that embrace and engage digital will win. They will stand out as the most relevant brands amidst a plethora of treatment options, digital channels, and health care information.

This change isn’t just about increasing investment in digital technologies or sorting out the new opportunities to use big data in healthcare.  Pharma marketers will need to change the way they think about and develop brands and experiences. Pharma brands cannot remain rigid bedrocks of consistent, uniform, and often mundane messages and experiences. Instead, they will need to respond to patients, physicians and caregivers based on the context of their needs, goals and ways of working. They will need to incorporate the traits of living brands – those that adapt and evolve to consistently remain relevant.

The dynamism and adaptability of living brands will make them better suited to partnering with other brands in the healthcare ecosystem. Pharma partnerships with providers, device companies and research institutions are enhanced by the participation of living brands because they can flex and adapt within the partnerships and grow as the partnership grows. Living pharma product brands and corporate brands also unleash opportunities to harness the most valuable brand equities at both product and corporate levels within a single enterprise on behalf of physicians and patients.

A living brand focuses on being relevant in each physician and patient encounter and relationship. It puts these stakeholders in control of how, when and where they experience the brand. From categories where living brands have already emerged, we can clearly indentify several crucial living brand-building principles:

Stay True Your Brand’s Purpose

Driving brand adaptability and responsiveness won’t work unless the brand focuses on a core idea that represents what it can do for patients now and in the future. The more a brand responds and adapts to physicians and patients the more it needs a central idea to guide activation and ensure that everything it does is linked together and remains relevant.

Change the Brand and Experience Model 

As living pharma brands learn and adapt they must move to a new model for building and managing brands and experiences. Brand strategy must better incorporate interactive brand stories, the brand identity must gain a voice  and the brand personality must become more human, genuine and relatable.

Engage, Adapt, Evolve…Live

Brand experiences live by enabling stakeholder involvement

Engage: Brand experiences live by enabling stakeholder involvement throughout the journey from adoption to loyalty. Connected diabetes device and medicine partnerships are at the forefront of engagement in pharma right now.  BoehringerIngelheim’s partnership with Propeller Health to deliver a connected inhaler and digital dashboard show that other therapeutic areas are catching on.

A living brand tailors how it acts, feels, and looks, according to the user context.

Adapt: A living brand tailors how it acts, feels, and looks, according to the user context.  Empathy and authenticity are crucial to this form of personalization. It’s hard to identify a pharma brand that has become paradigm of adaptiveness in healthcare the way Amazon is in retailing. But, adaptive pharma marketing is taking hold.  Pharma brands are beginning to use programmatic buying and message customization as technologies advance to ensure regulatory compliance.  Many drug adherence programs are tailoring information based on patient lifestyle characteristics and partnering with apps to deliver helpful adherence tools.  The untapped opportunities to become more adaptive are extensive.

A living brand evolves as it learns.

Evolve: A living brand evolves as it learns. Many pharma product brands have done exactly that as they’ve expanded into new indications and patient populations.  Corporate pharma brands are the next horizon. By providing value across individual conditions and partnering with healthcare brands they can increase the role they play in physician and patient lives.  Is there a pharma corporate brand who aspires to be the Google of healthcare?  Maybe not yet, but it is possible.

Enable Employees

Living brands have an employee face as well as a customer one. They engage, adapt and evolve the employee experience at an individual level.  They depart from traditional employee relations that tend to emphasize consistent treatment of employees based on hierarchical tiers and functions.  Living brands do their utmost to tailor the employee experience to individual needs.

Making these changes won’t be easy in pharmaceuticals where the stakes are so high for a brand to succeed. A brand and experience strategy tailored to the unique requirements of healthcare in different parts of the world is imperative to successfully incorporate the principles of a living brand. To learn more about how Prophet develops living brand strategies in the life sciences, click here.

Related Topics

Recent Articles