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Building Brand Equity
by Dr Cedric Nazareth

There was once a Brand Manager who found that the doctor was not prescribing his product. So he went to the market to find out why. What he learnt was that the doctor was not familiar with his product. “I must create brand awareness!” said the Brand Manager. He summoned his Medical Representative (MR) and briefed him accordingly.

The enthusiastic MR called on the doctor and did as the Brand Manager had advised. He worked at creating brand awareness. His product was undoubtedly of the highest quality, and he wanted the doctor to have a perception of quality for the product. The MR worked till he felt sure that the doctor was aware of the product’s features, advantages and benefits. On his part, the doctor showed a definite interest in the product but did not prescribe it. So the Brand Manager and the MR studied the situation. “We have created brand awareness,” concluded the Brand Manager, “but not brand recall. We must create brand recall.”

The MR renewed his efforts with the doctor. However, though he worked hard, the doctor did not prescribe. The MR brooded. There were so many other MRs meeting the doctor, all bombarding him with their messages. Would he ever manage to get the doctor to remember his brand? The MR and the Brand Manager got together for some serious thinking. “We can help the doctor to remember our brand,” they concluded, “by associating it with something. We must build some brand association.”

Now the Brand Manager thought of interesting new ideas to help the doctor remember the brand. He associated it with specific situations, made a catchy slogan and created a pneumonic. All these did help the doctor to remember the brand - but yet, not enough for him to prescribe it. “There is definitely brand recall,” said the Brand Manager, “but to get prescriptions, we need top-of-the-mind recall.”

So they increased the intensity of their efforts with the doctor till he did prescribe. The doctor had indeed prescribed their brand! The MR and the Brand Manager were jubilant. But not for long. Soon enough, they found that the doctor had switched to another brand. They had to reevaluate. “The brand has a high perception of quality and even top-of-the-mind recall,” thought the Brand Manager, “but what we do not have is brand loyalty. Right now, the doctor loses nothing if he switches to another brand. We could get brand loyalty if we can offer specific benefits which the customer would lose with a switch of prescription.”

Thus, a complete package of benefits was evolved for the brand. The doctor started prescribing once again. And they all lived happily ever after ... well, almost. The competitors augmented their products too and the Brand Manager had to be ever vigilant to remain ahead. But the Brand Manager could now look back with satisfaction on the success of his brand. It was truly a brand, not just a product. Its value was not just related to its sales volume, but involved much more. The brand’s assets now included awareness and recall among its customers, a good image (perception of quality and brand associations), customer loyalty, and several other assets that had become strongly associated with the brand.

They had been building brand equity.

Pharma Marketing Page.
This article was published in
Pharma Business 18th August 2000.
All rights reserved

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