Just what the doctor ordered: 5 steps for enhancing your pharmaceutical brand
Pharmaceutical businesses operate in one of the most highly regulated sectors. Working within such constraints has to remain top of mind for any brand or agency operating within it. But, despite the restrictions, there remains plenty of opportunities for pharma brands to cut through the crowd and connect with the people that matter.
We’ve developed 5 key steps to delivering a distinctive pharma brand – dipping into our experience of the industry having partnered with global drug development and manufacturing accelerator Quotient Sciences for over 6 years.
1. Start big and broad
One of the biggest shifts we’ve seen within the sector is the move from thinking ‘purely product’ to ‘using brand as a genuine asset’. That’s very much welcome in our eyes. It makes perfect sense to build long-term equity into your master brand, then trickle it down when marketing a specific product or solution that you’ve developed.
Brand strategy, specifically your brand’s positioning, is absolutely critical to this. By establishing a big and broad positioning idea – one that elevates your strengths – you’re making a promise to your customers, while communicating what makes you different.
‘Molecule to cure. Fast’ is the promise that sits at the heart of Quotient Sciences. It’s deliberately simple yet unashamedly bold, and serves as the perfect platform to build its brand and communications around because it’s grounded in absolute truth.
By aligning your brand’s promise with the needs of your customers – while also reinforcing the difference you make – you’ll give your brand the best possible opportunity to stand out and connect with its audiences.
2. Show emotion
If they’re to demonstrate their vital role in people’s lives, pharma brands need to become more emotional. Showcasing science, data and technology alone was fine once upon a time, but there's now an increasing need to demonstrate patient-centricity and a broader understanding of your own impact.
Recognising this shift, and wanting to support its brand promise, we introduced an emotive range of hero photography into the Quotient Sciences brand. The style helps to connect the dots between functionality the business delivers with the powerful emotion of the people that are receiving or have received a Quotient-enabled solution.
Emotion isn’t something to be scared of, it’s something to embrace. It proves that your pharma brand is considerate not cold, caring not lacking in empathy and – above all – human.
3. Go beyond the science
Science and advancement sit at the heart of any pharma business. It’s fundamentally what they do, but it doesn’t need to be the only thing they show.
For the Quotient brand, we established a more rounded design language that consistently reinforced science as a focus, but also expresses and highlights other important aspects and traits – from the speed of their delivery, to how agile they operate and the integrated-nature of their processes.
Introducing office-based photography means communications are less reliant on lab or manufacturing shots, and the addition of a more distinctive typeface that feels welcoming rather than overly technical provides a warmth that was previously missing.
Sure, science has to remain a core focus, and something you need to continually show off. But by considering other angles to communicate, and establishing a well-crafted and considered design toolkit, you’ll be able to add visual variety and interest at the same time as expressing your difference.
4. Communicate benefits
It’s the benefits your brand delivers that gets customers interested and keeps them coming back. Tone of voice and language plays a key role in this – it’s a massively underrated tool.
By establishing a voice that leads with benefits, we’ve enabled Quotient to maximise the effectiveness of their communications. Additions such as using more assertive headlines and providing clearer guidance on how to write in the brand’s voice helps to reinforce messages and communicate them with conviction.
Confidence is huge in branding – it’s what separates the good from the great. Using language that enables your brand to be clearer on the benefits it delivers, not just what it offers, is a surefire way to build reassurance and credibility.
5. Keep fine-tuning
Regardless of what category they operate in, every successful brand is always a work in progress. It’s that constant evolution that keeps them ahead of the game, and ahead of the rest. With the pharma industry ever-advancing, the need to project a futureproofed image is absolutely essential.
Over the course of 6 years we’ve continually fine-tuned the Quotient Sciences brand to help it express not just the business they are, but the business they want to become. Using ambition as a north star means we’ve had to push creative boundaries to evolve, adapt and reconsider industry norms.
Culminating in a new brand refresh, which built on the strengths of the existing identity while introducing a modernised design language, we continue to work with the Quotient team to realise the full potential of their brand.
Too many pharma brands are playing things safe – sailing in a sea of sameness and missing opportunities to cut-through and connect. The process of developing a more distinctive, ownable and confident pharmaceutical brand isn’t easy, but the impact it can make is absolutely worth it.
Get in touch if you want to talk about your brand, business or anything in-between.