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  • Posted by: InterbrandHealth on Monday, February 24 2014 05:05 PM | Comments (0)
    R. John Fidelino

    The Life Science Brand Reputation & Communications Conference was held last week in Atlanta, Georgia with attendees from a host of healthcare companies including AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare and UCB Inc. InterbrandHealth’s Executive Creative Director R. John Fidelino addressed the crowd on the role of corporate brand for communications professionals.

    A corporate brand is traditionally the most under leveraged business asset within the health and life sciences industry. When used strategically, the corporate brand in healthcare has the power to drive economic value for the company, create demand and build loyalty for a business. Historically, the corporate brand has been relegated to corporate communications and investor relations. 

    As we see the health industry transform, a strong corporate brand is a key tool for communications professionals. Using the corporate brand thoughtfully and consistently on products, services, and initiatives that matter can bolster your business's reputation and add value to your relationships with your consumers, investors, and employees.

    Fundamentally, brands can influence how people understand their world, and healthcare brands can shape people’s perceptions about disease, treatment, and even themselves. If your corporate identity is well-defined, then it can be the lens by which you innovate and also make business decisions.

    Communications strategists can reap four key benefits from honing in on the corporate brand:

    1. Defining your company’s distinct point of view is critical. Once you do, you and others within the company will have clarity around what matters most at your company and that will ensure coordinated and consistent messaging across your business.

    2. As mentioned previously, corporate brands often get “stuck” at corporate communications and investor relations. To grow influence, corporate brands need to be built around commercial dynamics and needs. The more aware you are of what is needed for commercial success, the more credibility you will have in mandating the use of the corporate brand across the business in a prominent way.

    3. You should be proud of your corporate social responsibility activities. They can boost corporate reputation, marketplace perception, and give employees something to be proud of. The equity and good will you build around the company as a result of your CSR activities can benefit your product brands. Getting credit for the good that you do also helps further your cause as it raises more awareness about why you invested in the first place.

    4. Your corporate brand can help you can connect to specialty customer groups in new and meaningful ways that product brands cannot. The corporate brand can aggregate products in your portfolio that share the same mission, therapeutic focus or technology. In this way the corporate brand can help support commercial objectives at the product level.

    R. John closed the presentation with best practices from some well-known healthcare brands, and gave attendees a few things to consider: everything counts, carry the torch, be proactive, and give them proof.

    All communications, relationships, and interactions make up your brand experience. Using corporate brand as a unifying force has an impact on every aspect of your business and, ultimately, on your company’s bottom line. By carrying the torch for the corporate brand across the organization, you’ll ensure clarity and consistency through all departments and business units, from research and development to human resources. 

    The best brands give their employees a reason to get up in the morning. They make sure that the people who work for them know what they are doing and why. They give them something to believe in and empower them with the tools to make things happen. 

    Lastly, you should create proof points for communications activities around the corporate brand and establish the metrics needed to demonstrate value. For a brand to be strong and meaningful, it must be embedded into every level of your business and measured.

    The Life Science Brand Reputation and Communications Conference, in addition to branding, covered topics such as optimizing social media, managing communications during mergers and acquisitions, and developing the role of patient advocacy relations.

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  • Posted by: InterbrandHealth on Monday, June 11 2012 04:28 PM | Comments (0)
    Wes Wilkes

    The true market potential for biosimilars has been under a microscope. In our last blog post we framed the industry, looking at some of the varying and conflicting points of view of major players in the industry. In this post we will begin exploring InterbrandHealth’s perspective on biosimilars.

    We recently participated in the Financial Times US Healthcare and Life Sciences Conference on June 6, 2012 in New York City. Below are some of the points that were discussed during the biosimilars panel that Wes Wilkes, our Executive Director of Global Strategy, participated in during the panel Biosimilars: Coming of Age?

    Biosimilars are here. Most of the conversation today is how the regulatory pathways will shape the landscape in the US, EU, and the rest of the world. What we are helping most of our clients with today is looking past the regulatory approvals and focusing on the uptake and competition post-regulatory approval.

    The uptake in developed markets will ultimately provide significant savings and access to a new population of patients. But new entrants may be underestimating the loyalties that exist with reference product manufacturers, and the trepidation that may exist for providers and patients to switch to the biogenerics, specifically those that treat more chronic conditions.

    We are not talking the same price disparities we see with generics in the small molecule space. In some markets we may be talking less than 30% in price savings, not to mention the price elasticity reference product manufacturers are willing to explore as the basement price for many of the big products is still unknown. Pair that with the brand loyalty, trust and safety that have been built up over the last decade — and we have a much different game on our hands.

    Some of the newer entrants can learn from the mistakes made in the past in the small molecule space, especially in how they will compete and differentiate themselves in a highly competitive environment.We see the future successors differentiating themselves on:

    1) The corporate/manufacturer brand

    2) The manufacturing process

    3) The technologies and delivery devices

    However, we see most of the efforts to date being placed in the reverse order. Of course the technology and delivery device is an obvious differentiator, but we are encouraging our clients to consider the uptake barriers that do and will exist post-approval.

    One of the greatest barriers is concern over safety and quality controls. Yes, the price will be a driver of choice, but the hurdle of a relatively “unknown” player with different manufacturing technologies may not be enough to overcome the price disparity.

    Starting now to lay the foundation of the corporate and manufacturer equities will be key to post-approval commercial success. Providers and payers will have an increased scrutiny on this space especially in the more chronic conditions. We feel that focusing only on the differences in delivery and dosing may be a bit myopic in a category where brand loyalty, trust and respect will be key.

    Stay tuned for a white paper on biosimilars where we will be exploring these commercial strategies in more depth. For more information on this topic please email: info@interbrandhealth.com

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  • Posted by: InterbrandHealth on Tuesday, April 24 2012 04:00 PM | Comments (0)
    Meredith Harris, InterbrandHealth Creative Manager

    On Wednesday April 4th, IBH Creative Manager, Meredith Harris, gave a presentation at her alma mater, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Meredith provided graduate students with insight into how she was able to parlay her degree in architecture into a career in healthcare branding. There was a brief Q&A session after the presentation. Here are some of the questions the students asked Meredith.

    Q&A with Meredith Harris

    Q: What did you hope to accomplish as you entered the design/consulting profession?

    A: I wanted to find a way to work in the healthcare industry and still apply my creative side. I liked the inherent structure and regulations that are built into the healthcare industry, which to me present an interesting challenge, especially from a design standpoint. Ultimately, I wanted to work in a field that could provide a balance between my interests in medicine and design, and required a strategic application of the skills I developed in architecture school.

    Q: Any previous employments that contributed to your current role?

    A: Because of my undergraduate experiences in the healthcare industry, ranging from the volunteer work I did in hospitals to internships at the National Institute of Health; I have an understanding of what these working environments are like and where the opportunities are for brand in these areas. When I speak with our clients, I can easily understand the scientific context of their work and the lengthy processes required in order to make their research come to life.

    Also, my internships at various architecture firms contributed to my current role because each firm offered more than just architectural services; I contributed to several other design projects for graphic design and product design. Thus, I was experienced in balancing several different types of projects at once and present design work to a client.

    Q: What is it about your job in healthcare branding that you enjoy the most?

    A: I enjoy being able to manage design work for the healthcare industry as a whole, which goes beyond architectural services and includes visual, verbal, and experiential design. I enjoy the challenge of creating brands that are truly engaging for audiences that are currently disengaged or simply unaware of how these healthcare companies can provide them with a revolutionary experience.

    Q: Tell us about your most ambitious goals in the role that you play today.

    A: I am truly passionate about brand and what it can do for the healthcare space. I aspire to bring a more total brand experience to InterbrandHealth clients and demonstrate how this can bring value to their business and to the people who need their services/products.

    One’s health is so incredibly personal and inherently experiential. I am always looking for ways in which we can deliver on designing an experience and not just a logo that reaches an audience and influences how they think about their own health.

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  • Posted by: Jyotsna Kini on Monday, April 9 2012 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

    On March 27th, the FDA approved Omontys (peginesatide), a drug used to treat anemia in adult dialysis patients who have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Omontys represents the first innovation in two decades – 20 years where the only option for CKD patients has been Amgen's Epogen. InterbrandHealth worked with Affymax and Takeda Pharmaceuticals to develop a brand name that would allow peginesatide to breathe fresh air into an older category riddled with monopoly.

    The market is excited to have a new treatment option and Omontys is poised to transform the world of anemia in CKD – it is slated to generate as much as $700 million in peak sales by 2017.

    Congratulations to Affymax and Takeda on this significant FDA approval!

    Jyotsna Kini is a Creative Director with InterbrandHealth in New York.

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  • Posted by: Melody Wolff on Tuesday, April 3 2012 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

    There has been a dark cloud looming over some of big pharma's giants as blockbuster drugs come off patent. According to Healthcare Finance News, big pharma is going to face major headwinds this year due to the upcoming patent expirations of the following blockbusters — Seroquol, Lexapro, Plavix, Singular and Actos.

    There is, however, a way for pharmaceutical companies to harness flux and overcome the loss of their cash cow’s patent. A different brand strategy can provide just the life line needed. Pharmaceutical companies should consider their corporate brand at the heart of the their overall brand strategy. Corporate brand becomes the solution for differentiating in a crowded marketplace with similar and, more importantly, cheaper generic drugs.

    Brand is playing a larger role in purchase decisions within the healthcare industry. In an environment where the marketing focus and budget were traditionally dedicated to the individual product brand, industry turbulence, including patent expiration, is creating a need for a different brand strategy in healthcare ... and thus we see the rise of the healthcare corporate brand.

    More and more we are seeing that consumers are willing to pay a premium for their healthcare. People pay a premium for designer spin and yoga classes that promise health and well-being, so why wouldn’t they buy upward when it comes to the pharmaceutical drugs that they put into their body and on which they rely on to keep them healthy and in often cases alive? I know I would certainly prefer to take a drug made by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca to a possibly unsafe, generic drug.

    Healthcare branding and pharmaceutical branding are becoming no different than luxury goods branding — although the role that brand plays in healthcare is still light years away from that in the luxury goods market, the shift is happening and big pharma needs to pay attention and adjust their brand strategy.

    Corporate brand is a branding strategy that is becoming more important in emerging markets. The strong corporate brand conveys credibility and reliability to all stakeholders: To physicians and patients, the message is equivalence, efficacy and safety. To the pharmacist, the message is reliability and ability to manufacture and deliver the product. Generic drugs just don't have the same reputation as their brand name counterparts and are not able to communicate the messages that influence purchase decision in emerging markets.

    From a healthcare branding-consultancy perspective, InterbrandHealth takes an in depth look at the role that brand plays in the pharmaceutical and even broader healthcare industries, with the paper “Vital Times: The Changing Role of Brand in the Health and Life Sciences industries.”

    There is no doubt that 2012 will be a difficult time for big pharma, but a change in brand strategy could be just the prescription needed to sustain and outlive the turbulence this year is sure to bring.

    Melody Wolff is a Manager at InterbrandHealth

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