KISS it better: Improving marketing communications in pharma

Recently published in the BHBIA Journal, Audrey Anand, Director at Incite takes a view on the importance of behaviour change principles in the context of branding.

Three simple principles for better communications.

The nature of the Pharmaceutical industry means that communications usually have to address complex conditions, drug actions and protocols.  But this complexity shouldn’t get in way of designing effective packaging, detailing, advertising or information sheets.

The familiar acronym, KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid may be a cliché, but there’s a lot that we can learn about simplicity from consumer brand communications.

Three core principles point the way:

1 / Know your audiences

Who are you addressing?  Don’t just think in terms of buyers of drugs, but think of their information needs in the context they’ll be coming into contact with your brand.  Think about the impact of the communications channel and whether the audience in each situation is actively looking for information or passively receiving it.

What are you expecting them to do and to feel as a consequence of seeing it?  Fundamentally, what do they need the communication to do for them?

2 / Understand what they need from you

No matter who they are, from the most anxious patient to a highly qualified physician, their needs will be driven by behavioural biases.  It therefore makes sense to take account of those biases in shaping your communications.

In our article, we outline some of the key biases that influence medical audiences that should be kept in mind when developing communications.  Essentially, we have to remember that even the most professional medical person is also an ordinary human being.  You need to address those natural human biases accordingly.

3 / Use all the tools in the branding and communications armoury

The fundamental tenet of consumer communications is: Be Single-minded.  Although pharmaceutical comms are necessarily regulated, there is no rule against being focused and clear, so think about how to make your message easy to understand and quick to grasp.  Use every tool in the box from graphics to photography, to colour, typeface and writing style to engage the audience and help them engage with your brand.  And don’t forget to strike the right relationship with your them.  Usually, this will be peer-to-peer.  But think about what kind of peers you are; is it “we’re all scientists” or possibly “we both care about your patient’s outcome”?  Whichever it is, you will need to use different language and tone.

These principles are all within your grasp and research can help you perfect your approach by being alert to the biases in play.  Taking time to think them through on your next branding or communications project could make a significant difference to your audience’s response.  All you have to do is KISS it better.

Click here to read the full article