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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Thursday, July 31 2014 11:29 AM | Comments (0)
    WOBI

    Image: © Kreg Holt for WOBI

    According to strategy expert Rita Gunther McGrath, the competitive advantage is dead. Any edge your brand has over another will be trumped faster and more furiously than ever before. And in fact, most of the speakers at the WOBI on Innovation conference focused on these disrupters: brands that emerge, seemingly out of nowhere, and shake up a category so dramatically that all others in its category must hustle to stay relevant.

    McGrath advises a new, nimble mindset as the best way to protect your brand from being edged out, including changing your thinking about innovation and also your business strategy. Incredible agility is now required when we consider our products, budgets, and even our own careers.  Innovation should be incorporated fully into our company, not as an “extra,” but as another cost of doing business. Products and ideas should be championed for as long as they are effective and then relinquished for improved solutions. And, as employees, we have to consistently and proactively shape and nurture our career paths.

    If the WOBI faculty is an indication of the future, then healthcare in particular must be alert to the patter of disrupters. Technology looming on the horizon could threaten many healthcare brands; however, getting educated about what’s happening at the leading-edge and being open to possibilities gives brands an opportunity to progress and position themselves as forward thinkers, whether that means partnering with “disruptive” consumer brands or refocusing their own R&D.

    What does the future hold?

    If we are to believe tech entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, our future is going to be super cool and very scary all at the same time. We’ll start with the (now) ordinary but end up with the extraordinary—and a number of questions about our privacy and consumerism in general, will be raised. What happens to the pharmaceutical industry when we can print our own medications? Or to doctors when robots perform all our surgeries? Our phones will track everything our bodies do, from fitness to heart monitoring, to medication absorption. Global data is growing at a rate of 59 percent per year, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Pills will come with sensors; medicine for conditions like cancer will be personalized. We’ll print hearts and lungs and bionic hands. Devices and tattoos on our skin will store our health records, credit cards, and IDs. Robots will continue to advance in medicine and beyond, replacing pharmacists, delivery vehicles, factory workers, and more.

    How does a brand adapt?

    So how does a healthcare brand stay agile during this tumultuous time? CEO Mark Bertolini offered some insight into the direction Aetna is taking that is inspiring for anyone in healthcare today. Perhaps most importantly, Bertolini has shifted the company’s perception of its customer, its marketplace, and its role:

    “Healthcare is focused on curing disease, not creating highly functional human beings. Our goal should be highly functional humans because they are productive, economically viable, and therefore happy. That should be our definition of how a healthcare system works.”

    Not only is this aspirational, it’s practical. Between the ACA, new technology, and concierge medicine, healthcare is more patient-centric than ever. Consumers now have the tools to understand, monitor, and take an active role in their health like never before. Bertolini goes so far as to say that if the healthcare system is structured properly and built around the individual, traditional insurance won’t even be necessary. He sees three main transformative principles for staying ahead:

    1. Move towards consumer-centric digital tools that empower customers to take control of their healthcare
    2. Partner with doctors and hospitals to share incentives and keep people healthy
    3. Exact concierge level service for chronic patients that is high touch and high tech

    Bolster your brand

    There are no guarantees against disrupters—and they’re also not always a genuine threat. For every Uber or AirBnB there’s a Pets.com or LaserDisc. However, taking the whole landscape in account, it’s very clear that we’re entering a brave new world for healthcare. Therefore, understanding the strength of your brand in the marketplace and developing future strategies around that can help you adapt to the industry’s turbulent new normal. What shifts should you make to foster innovation and keep employees engaged? How can you push new products forward and disengage from those that have run their course? Can you adopt new technologies to better serve your consumers? We don’t know where the next disrupter will come from, or when it will emerge, but by recognizing changes in our industry, employing forward-thinking techniques, and adapting to consumer marketplace trends, we can set our brands up for success and longevity.

    Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth. You can follow her on Twitter @NicoleDiamant.

    Interested in future-proofing your brand? Connect with InterbrandHealth here.

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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Thursday, July 24 2014 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Miss Idaho

    Long relegated to the realm of the old-fashioned or to TLC daytime voyeurism, beauty pageants are suddenly relevant. In case you missed it, Sierra Sanderson just won the title of Miss Idaho 2014—and she rocked her insulin pump during the bathing suit competition. 

    Sierra in swimsuit

    While naysayers continue to pick on pageants for promoting sexist standards of beauty, Sierra made a small but incredibly impactful human statement. And brands should take notice. In a glorious mashup of social media, health empowerment, and forward thinking, the #showmeyourpump campaign epitomizes how healthcare is changing and where the future lies.   

    Health is no longer something hiding behind the closed-doors of a doctor’s office. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 25 percent of Internet users have read or watched someone else’s health or medical experience in the last 12 months. In the Age of the Internet, health is personal, visible, and increasingly public—something we openly share information about. 

    Child with insulin pump

    In fact, a report by PwC revealed that 90 percent of adults ages 18-24 said they would trust medical information shared by others in their social media networks. In light of these trends, healthcare brands need to keep pace by recognizing this shift in how health-related information is being consumed, shared, and exchanged. Patient to patient is now a powerful marketing device. 

    Reshaping brand strategy with the patient at the center is crucial for the industry. Whether it’s a medical device, hospital, or app, smart design and personalization will be key to staying relevant in consumers’ lives. As we take more ownership of our health and begin to share our medical data, we can expect health to extend into other sectors including fashion, tech, luxury goods, and more.   

    Healthcare brands that shift their thinking to the empowered consumer, crafting tools and services that are more than just functional, will lead the way. As health comes into the light, it’s possible that everyone will benefit—learning from others with similar conditions, sharing data with the best and brightest researchers, and understanding how to influence our own well-being, could result in a healthier world for us all.

    Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth. You can follow her on Twitter @NicoleDiamant.

    Curious about using brand strategies to boost your marketing efforts? Connect with InterbrandHealth here.

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  • Posted by: John Breen on Wednesday, July 16 2014 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

    FDA word cloud

    The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a long-awaited draft guidance document for the development and assessment of proprietary drug names for prescription and non-prescription products. Regulatory decisions can sometimes impact the pharmaceutical industry in unpredictable ways, so this guidance is a welcome addition. But will these guidelines drive the industry toward greater consistency and predictability in proprietary name reviews?   

    Here are four key takeaways from InterbrandHealth’s analysis of the draft:   

    1. The FDA is instituting a number of criteria that can be objectively measured 

    One of the key challenges in naming research is that it produces few black and white results; we’re often forced to manage many shades of grey. Within the draft guidance document, the FDA aims to present more tangible metrics—pre-screening criteria, checklists, specific categories for its POCA tool (Phonetic and Orthographic Computer Analysis)—that should, in theory, result in greater standardization in the approach to name testing and therefore greater predictability in outcomes. The FDA also has provided its latest thinking on a number of topics that have created anxiety for our industry in the past, including brand modifiers and “dual proprietary names.” While some of these topics will still be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the draft guidance offers hope of greater consistency.   

    2. POCA plays a starring role in the guidance 

    When first released, the FDA’s POCA algorithm was viewed as one of many inputs to a name safety assessment. With the new draft guidance, the FDA is placing greater emphasis on the results of a POCA search than we have experienced to date. Now, the FDA has officially grouped POCA scores into three categories and is using these categories as the basis for a final safety evaluation. This is a bit of a departure for the FDA that certainly warrants monitoring.    

    The draft guidance document places greater emphasis on name similarity versus other contributing factors to medication errors than ever before. Many of the industry’s more practical arguments for why a proprietary name candidate will not be confused with an existing marketed drug in the real world—including differences in how products are actually prescribed, dispensed and administered—may no longer be persuasive. This is particularly true of names that score higher than 70 on POCA with an existing drug name. Despite differences in product characteristics, the FDA states that these highly similar names are at risk for confusion. At InterbrandHealth, we have found POCA to be a useful tool in prioritizing potential safety conflict. However, our experience also suggests that the results can range from inconsistent to confounding. So, it will be very interesting to see if POCA can, in fact, serve as a successful filtering tool.   

    3. The FDA is looking for more rigorous prescription simulation studies 

    The best practices summarized in the draft guidance for prescription simulation studies are similar to the FDA’s 2008 PDUFA Pilot Concept Paper. The FDA is requesting that at least 20 scenarios be included in a prescription simulation study, including marketed products. While this is feasible in a market research study, it will increase survey complexity. Applicants may need to rethink existing approaches and be prepared to invest more time and money to complete this “recommended” market research. 

    As noted earlier, over-the-counter (OTC) products fall under the draft guidance document, which implies that these sponsors may need to conduct more in-depth testing, including more prescription simulations.   

    4. There is no mention of Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) 

    Our final observation addresses not only what’s in the draft but also what’s missing. In the 2008 PDUFA Pilot Concept Paper, the FDA alluded to the importance of FMEA in a sponsor’s name safety assessment. In a significant departure from this earlier stance, FMEA is now completely omitted from the draft guidance document. While sponsors are not being asked to complete this analysis, we are curious to see whether the FDA will continue to conduct FMEA as part of its safety review for proprietary name candidates. Currently, it appears that the FDA is asking the industry to generate initial hypotheses for a review through its requested methods and then this data will be fed into the internal evaluation. InterbrandHealth envisions this could limit the voice of a sponsor in its attempt to present a rationale for proprietary name selection beyond the outcomes of the prescription simulation studies and POCA results.    

    In summary, the draft guidance offers greater clarity and the possibility of increased predictability, but it is too soon to know if the endpoints summarized in the document will “guarantee” an FDA approval of a proprietary name candidate. The removal of FMEA, while reducing subjectivity, is particularly surprising. However, it appears that through the launch of this guidance, the FDA is looking to the industry to help shape and standardize the process with a goal of creating greater certainty in outcomes, which is a positive step.   

    InterbrandHealth is currently submitting comments to the FDA regarding the draft guidance document, and we look forward to uncovering its implications as the guidance comes to life through our work.   

    John Breen is the Executive Director of Analytics for InterbrandHealth. Lillian Smith is an Analyst for InterbrandHealth.    

    For more information about the drug naming process or the FDA guidance document, connect with InterbrandHealth here.

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  • Posted by: Ramya Kartikeyan on Monday, July 7 2014 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

    Making the jump from prescription to OTC

    At the NewYorkBIO 2014 conference, multidisciplinary speakers focused on the need for a clearer path to commercialization for pipeline drugs to promote regulatory efficiency and openness. In a call out to developments made by the FDA, the keynote speech delivered by the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, highlighted changes that have been introduced to bring new products to the market sooner, without compromising the integrity of the regulatory process as a whole.   

    An improved regulatory system runs at the heart of a changing healthcare market, which includes stratified patient populations, larger clinical trials, the growing role of biologics, and the diminishing value of the blockbuster drug model for the majority of companies. With the cost of developing most drugs reaching approximately $1bn from bench to bedside, more companies are looking for ways to extend the life of their drugs beyond their impending patent cliffs.   

    A separate panel at the NYBIO conference delved into the intricacies of shifting from prescription (Rx) status to over-the-counter (OTC) to capitalize on the brand equity built by the corporate manufacturer over years of marketing. With a potential loss of 85 percent or greater market share, drug manufacturers of select therapies will likely be able to successfully convert their Rx products into OTC products, but doing so comes with its own set of challenges. Each manufacturer is required to conduct a series of marketing assessments to ensure that the product adheres to existing guidelines on safety.   

    Due to the nature of the Rx to OTC switching process, the majority of the drugs that have successfully made the jump include drugs in categories such as migraine, high cholesterol, oral contraception, erectile dysfunction, antivirals, etc. The top 10 products in the OTC category currently generate more than $300m per year per drug, which offers a significant “cash cow” alternative for those products setting up to battle stiff generic competition. Even with a steady cash flow from OTC sales, companies are often forced to drop their prices to remain competitive and relevant within this new market dynamic. However, in light of the Affordable Care Act, industry specialists expect more and more patients to self-treat with OTC treatments before seeking the costlier option of seeing a medical professional.   

    So, should a branded drug asset compete on par with other products in the OTC market given these stakes? Can an Rx branded product cut through the “noise” and effectively capitalize on its brand equity to generate momentum in sales with a direct-to-consumer distribution channel? Pharma companies need to carefully consider these challenges and investigate if the R&D investment is worth the payoff.   

    Ramya Kartikeyan, Ph.D., is the Director of Analytics for InterbrandHealth.    

    For more information about product brand equity, connect with InterbrandHealth here.

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  • Posted by: Nicole Diamant on Monday, June 30 2014 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

    If Virgin were in the healthcare space

    From digestible colon cameras to bionic hands to 3D printed organs, the healthcare industry is exploding with scientific discovery, technological achievement, and impossible visions made possible. And yet, when we look at the majority of the creative work done for the healthcare sector, it rarely captures the sense of excitement that often accompanies these cutting-edge developments. The way the industry communicates and represents itself visually is often safe, cliché, or just tries too hard to win us over. Are opportunities being missed?  

    “Cool” may not be the first word that comes to mind when most people think of healthcare, but, in such an innovative field, cool things do, in fact, happen. Maybe it’s time for the sector’s creative work to reflect that.     

    At the inaugural Lions Health festival at Cannes, InterbrandHealth’s Executive Creative Director, R. John Fidelino, explored this cognitive dissonance in his talk “Chasing Cool in Healthcare.” In his provocative presentation, R. John tackled the concept of cool, the current language of healthcare, and how communications and creative professionals can shift their thinking and elevate the groundbreaking work being done in this field.     

    Should healthcare be cool? If so, how can we push the boundaries to more effectively communicate with consumers in this increasingly patient-centric world? The inherent nature of something deemed cool is the effortlessness of it. Cool things, people, and places inspire us and make us want to be associated with them. When we think about healthcare, we need to ask ourselves, are we achieving this same thing with our brands? Do we strive to hit the three qualities that characterize cool: meaningful, authentic, and immersive?    

    And is cool even appropriate for healthcare? It may be that we are uncomfortable with “cool” in healthcare—it may trivialize the seriousness of disease and sickness. While the category does demand a high level of respect, we do it a disservice by not recognizing and promoting innovative work and exciting breakthroughs. Are we diving deep enough and helping people understand all aspects of our category? 

    Great consumer brands craft relationships with people—through websites, apps, social media, in-store experiences, and more. In healthcare, are we creating that same 360-degree experience? We need to start thinking about how words and images create full and complete worlds for consumers. That is what makes a great brand. What if Virgin ran a hospital? What if Apple sold pharmaceuticals? What if Nike made medical devices? Consumer brands are already dabbling in the healthcare space. Imagining the future of healthcare and the types of brands that may eventually play in this space can be inspiring and eye-opening.

    Healthcare enriches life, even saves life. What could be cooler than that? We need to stop being bashful about the category. We need to recognize all the great things happening in our industry, celebrate them, and help people appreciate the wonders of this rapidly evolving field. When we acknowledge how amazing our category really is, we won’t have to chase cool—we’ll naturally embrace it. And others will too.     

    Here are a few questions to help us assess our brands' cool factor:   

    • Are we crafting brands that are authentic, meaningful, and immersive?
    • Are we creating 360-degree experiences for consumers?
    • Are we properly communicating the awesomeness of our category?
    • Are we thinking outside of healthcare and appropriately adopting the best practices of great consumer brands?  

    Nicole Diamant is the Marketing Manager for InterbrandHealth. You can follow her on Twitter: @NicoleDiamant

    For more information on the Chasing Cool presentation, please contact InterbrandHealth. A video clip can be seen here.   

     


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