In technology industries, the companies that develop and sell brands are usually well known: think Apple or Samsung.
The same is true for the car industry; we refer to a BMW 5 series or a Nissan Leaf. We are aware that any one manufacturer has a range of products, and is likely to have one particularly suited to our own individual needs. We know what the company brand is, and what it stands for.
However, given the regulations for promoting to consumers in the Pharma industry, the company behind a range of pharmacological therapies is often less well known.
This creates a particular challenge when trying to understand and quantify the added value having a portfolio of brands treating one specific disease brings to a company.
Naming restrictions mean it is difficult to connect the portfolio in an obvious way through brand names, and most territories still limit the way a product range can be promoted to patients.
So where is the real value of portfolio level activity and a portfolio approach?
We think there are 3 ways a portfolio brings value to customers beyond the brands alone:
Developing strong, enduring relationships:
Pharma has long development times resulting in a need to develop long-term relationships. Having a portfolio and a pipeline of products shows a long-term commitment to improving the treatment of a condition and the lives of patients. This enables big, mutually beneficial relationships that stand the test of time - think about how Genentech / Roche / Chugai continue to build great relationships and standing in oncology with opinion leaders, regulators, payers and advocacy groups.
Nurturing real empathy and understanding:
Empathy with patients and clinicians comes from understanding their whole experience
Pharma companies that take a portfolio approach invest in services and solutions that work holistically along the whole journey. Their aim is not just to focus on one step to make use of their brand easier; it is to help all patients with a particular condition access the right products at the right time - think about how GSK have built their respiratory portfolio, offering real value to patients and physicians with their added value services.
Treating the untreated:
Taking a portfolio view often encourages companies to find patients who should be, but are not currently treated, by improving diagnosis rates and using big data to identify high risk groups
These are all ways to improve outcomes for patients and physicians, and they also increase sales for the manufacturer.
Perhaps more importantly, they increase the equity of the company in the eyes of their customers, building trust and loyalty.
The question we asked ourselves is whether you have to have a portfolio of products, or can you apply these principles even when you only have one product?
Would this result in bolder visions for brands and for patient outcomes?
We believe it would.
If you’d like to talk, and want to explore the possibilities for your brand, whether it be part of a portfolio or not, please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.