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Pharmaceutical marketing is routed in claims and evidence and to some extent, this has led to communication being focussed on messaging of these claims and evidences. This is not to say that the concept of brand positioning has been ignored by leading pharmaceutical marketers, and many are familiar with the development and testing of positioning statements.

However, many marketers and planners are predicting the death of brand positioning as relationships with customers become more fluid and fast moving. With some market estimates citing around two-thirds of drug launches failing to meet first year expectations, is it time that brand strategy is turned on its head and the concept of brand positioning is well and truly buried.

Before we write off the merits of brand positioning, we need to challenge if its key principals have been effectively implemented across the pharmaceutical industry. In other verticals, we can cite many successful brands with clear and consistent brand positioning e.g. Nike, Red Bull, Zara, L’Oréal. Do you think these marketing departments are moving away from brand positioning?

As the future market landscape becomes more cluttered, a consistent, distinctive, motivating and compelling positioning becomes even more important. However, the route to developing this needs to change. The danger has been that to some extent, products have been gift wrapped, or the marketing team has “added on” the big idea as companies reach the clinical trial finishing line. The goal to develop a positioning statement as the tangible result of successful brand planning has, to some extent, clouded the issue.

Successful brand positioning is more than a statement and can cover the job of brand, promise, core insight and the brand personality. As creating an experience for the customer and creating compelling brand stories rather than selling a service and/or product become even more important, brand positioning plays an important foundational role.

However, creating a strong positioning platform is not without challenges and testing positioning statements and TPPs will provide only one part of the answer.

OSG Dynamo™combines multiple research methodologies and data sources e.g. competitive intelligence, social listening, KOL interviews, co-creations sessions to help build and shape the future customer journey. We then work with the client team to build a strong proposition and start to weave a compelling story and related experience along this journey.

We hope this information has been interesting and valuable to you. Please, feel free to share it with colleagues and other people in your network. We welcome discussing this topic further with you and understanding your specific challenges.