S Biradar, S Bhagavati, B Shegunshi, R Hunshyal
S Biradar, S Bhagavati, B Shegunshi, R Hunshyal. Emotional Branding in the Pharmaceutical Industry. The Internet Journal of Pharmacology. 2005 Volume 4 Number 2.
Most pharmaceutical companies are multinational, operating across many different markets. But what are the practicalities of maintaining brand consistency while, at the same time, taking into account local cultural environments. Over-the-counter marketing is at a nascent stage in India, which continues to be prescription-driven. Even as pharma companies grapple with strict legislation and preference for home remedies, there is need for greater brand promotion.
In reality, however, marketing is a complex discipline influenced by culture, business environment and a host of other factors. So a standardized global approach may not always be best for a brand's local competitiveness. Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands realized some time ago that the 'one size fits all' approach does not always work; it is often better to express the core values of a brand in an appropriate way for local markets. Sometimes this can even come down to changing brand names
The global pharmaceutical industry is undergoing profound change, and pharmaceutical companies - traditionally science and sales-driven businesses - must embrace marketing and branding strategies to a much greater extent than they have done in the past. Brand building during the period a new drug remains under patent can help prolong the commercial life of the product once its monopoly status lapses. And strongly branded prescription drugs can make the transition into the over-the-counter (OTC) arena more easily. The role and value of branding in the pharmaceutical industry is changing.
How are these impressions created
Firstly, through the product itself. It must be of acceptable quality and fully capable of performing its functional role - whatever that may be. Secondly, through the packaging - which must both protect the contents and allow the product to be accessed easily and in the required quantities. Thirdly, through the brand image - which is influenced through the brand name and identity, the package graphics and the advertising
Emotion and motivation
A brand 'emerges' when a company interacts and builds a relationship with the customer. This excitement builds up, people remember the brand and becomes a reference for them in their daily life. Apple for instance a favorite example of emotional branding. Managers envy the extraordinary bond the iPod has developed with its customers.
Emotional branding focuses on how this brand essence should be communicated. Emotions sell.
Marketers like to think of brands as a psychological phenomenon which steems from the perception of individual consumers. But what makes a brand is the collective nature of these perceptions.
How does a successful brand maintain its connection with the customer. The acid test is whether doctors are motivated to prescribe the brand. Motivation is based on emotions — the words emotion and motivation both originate from the same Latin verb meaning 'to move.' In order to motivate someone we must move them emotionally.1
Aristotle was the first to recognize the power of emotion to persuade others. He stated that logical argument consists of logos (logic), ethos (character) and pathos (emotion). And what applied in ancient Greece still applies today. The best way to get someone's attention is to stimulate an emotional response.
This is why the most effective advertisements are not informational but emotional. The feelings evoked by an advertisement often have no 'logical' connection to the product. What is important is linking the desired emotion with the brand.2
Communicating the message
Crucial in communicating the brand is the customer frame of reference. We all internalize communications using our own experiences, so the meanings we impose on messages we receive from advertisements vary from culture to culture. Any communication that is developed outside that cultural frame of reference can be misunderstood or not understood at all.
Yet in marketing today, particularly pharmaceutical marketing, messages and communications tend to be developed by a small group, often distanced (both culturally and physically) from the markets in question. Consequently, the local target customer may not understand the message, resulting in little or no chance of us achieving our marketing objectives.
In healthcare, individual branding is still prevalent and global corporate brands are few and far between. One reason for this is country-specific regulation, which impedes synchronised global brand launches.
These regulations have created an environment where companies have to use push selling as the dominant commercial approach, is essentially local and which does not depend on global branding
At the same time, changes in consumer behaviour and advances in technology mean that traditional brand-building methods are becoming obsolete and it is increasingly hard to achieve premium brand status.
The growth of home-internet use and on- demand TV has led to a sharp decline in the efficacy of traditional advertising, while the rise of direct marketing channels, such as websites, email and SMS, represent powerful new ways to reach consumers. More than 50 per cent of internet users are online everyday (ie, one quarter of the adult population), while the share of media time for broadband users is close to that of traditional TV and radio3.
Basic Qualities of Brand Positioning
The right positioning incorporates strong values and differentiators that are important to our customers.:
Warm and fuzzy positioning
Packaging also has the ability to solidify patient loyalty to the brand. For patients, the package is the product. It's the tangible manifestation of an often emotionally charged relationship to a brand. The ideal healthcare package, in addition to reflecting the quality of the product it contains, fortifies brand equity and differentiates the product in the marketplace. What's more, the ideal healthcare package is memorable to physicians and pharmacists—both of whom influence patients' product choices.
As drugs increasingly become available over the counter, shelf appeal and brand identity become a greater concern as products fight for consumers' attention. The need for eye-catching graphics and design also plays a role in prescription medication, given the high number of drugs being advertised to the consumer. And as a product's patent expires and the medication is released as a generic, the loyalty built through years of strong branding can extend the product's life3.
Emotional Branding and people
Organizations of all types can benefit from emotional branding. The more people associate a product or service with a positive emotion, the more willing they will be to rely on it. Following are some ways to strengthen the “emotional quotient” of a brand and reap the benefits of emotional branding4.
Focus On The Customer: Customers respond well to brands that establish partnerships based on mutual respect. Organizations should respect customers' boundaries and respond to their needs.
Fulfill The Customer's Desires: Try to associate your product or service with a customer's desires rather than needs. For example, a customer needs a car to get from point A to point B. However, they may desire a car that will make them feel different, flattered or important. To be more successful, fulfill your customers' desires.
Be Trustworthy: Deliver on your brand promise: Be what you say, and say what you mean. This builds trust and trust drives uptake.
Build A Relationship: Customers like to feel that those they are dealing with care and respond to their needs and desires – both stated and unstated.
Emotional branding is a powerful and useful tool. When applied correctly, it can boost uptake of your products and services and help you establish a stronger bond with your customers4.
With the gradual decline in the power of the patent to secure future business earnings, and the rise in patient power and the availability of medicines, the brand will play an increasingly important role. First in helping customers to find and select products which are suitable for their requirements, and then as a symbol of high quality and value. Advertising, to be really effective, must be honest and it must offer people future relevance to their life. Something they will react to emotionally and intellectually,” says Winslow. It generates discussion around water coolers.