When companies with a strong consumer mindset set out to capture the hearts and minds of potential customers, they make a conscientious effort to create and nurture a long-term relationship — one that is built on brand awareness, corporate reputation, trust and loyalty. The goal is to have the company remain “top of mind” for consumers, so that consumers keep coming back over time. To be truly successful, biopharma companies should develop a more conscientious and comprehensive framework to foster the same level of recognition, reputational awareness and brand loyalty among consumers before, during and after they are patients.
Today, biopharma companies remain focused on fostering strong relationships with the primary stakeholders of yesterday and today, physicians, payers and governments. However, the primary stakeholders of tomorrow must be the consumer/patient who are managing their health and wellness, consuming, and directly paying for their medications through out-of-pocket expenditures via a high-deductible plan or health savings account.
A direct-to-consumer evolution — changing the focus from patient to consumer/patient — has the potential to dramatically change the paradigm in healthcare. Its time to move away from a linear mindset whereby a pharmaceutical therapy is primarily marketed and sold to physicians for prescription to patients and payment by payers, to one where the consumer/patient is squarely in the center of the process.
This presents an opportunity for stakeholders throughout the industry — to shift and expand the focus of their marketing and outreach efforts. The goal should be to connect with consumers in ways that truly raise awareness, trust, loyalty and name recognition. The goal is no longer to just have patients access and adhere to therapies that physicians have prescribed — but to have consumers develop a true and ongoing connection with the innovating biopharma company throughout their health and wellness journey.
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Today, the failure to create and sustain brand awareness for the innovator company itself, not just a particular branded therapy, represents a categorical shortcoming in our overall healthcare ecosystem — and a missed opportunity for innovators. Biopharma companies should look to other industry sectors to borrow best practices, and work to develop a multi-pronged approach (Note: This will be the subject of the next blog in this series).
The objective for biopharma companies must be to proactively identify and engage with potential consumer populations that may ultimately need their therapy offerings to manage a chronic condition and then work to raise brand awareness and build a trusted relationship that can last a lifetime. When such outreach efforts are done well, they create rich reputational capital with the consumer before they become a consumer/patient.