Always Play to Win: Reviving A Brand Against Increased Competition


Situation: Our client, a leading global pharmaceutical company, wanted to revive the sales of one of its largest selling biopharmaceutical drugs. The drug, prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, had a leading position in the marketplace. It was regarded as highly efficacious, yet physician usage was decreasing in the face of increased competition from new and established competitors. Our client needed to revise the brand positioning to regain its leadership and minimize the advancement of their competitors.

Core Strategy Group’s Approach: We were hired to develop a strategy that would educate physicians to the benefits of our client’s drug vs. the competitors in order to increase usage by patients. With our extensive experience in the healthcare/pharmaceutical marketplace, we know that although a drug’s effectiveness is understandably its primary requirement, in our world of increased competition, it is a brand’s core essence and emotional benefits that create the key differentiators which drive preference and usage. For our client, we first took an expansive look at the marketplace and, through our research, learned three crucial things. The first was that this drug’s core essence was not well defined and, as a result, could not be leveraged in any marketing information. Secondly, we determined that the primary challenge facing the sales team was motivating Medical Doctors—who already saw the medication as an effective drug—to actually prescribe it. Finally, we discovered that their target market should be expanded to include primary care physicians and consumers who were becoming more influential in determining treatment. With this in mind, we helped the client elevate its brand by creating an updated positioning that fully leveraged their core essence and identified emotional benefits to drive preference and usage. By re-focusing the brand on the information that needed to be communicated to drive sales, but had been forgotten after years on the market, we helped our client create new growth from existing equities.

Results: The drug gained a dramatic growth trajectory and achieved a 36% sales increase in 2007 vs. 2006. Our work enabled smarter, more targeted segmentation and more effective positioning aimed at professional and consumer audiences. Our client now has a $4B+ drug that is a leader in all indications for which it is approved by the FDA.

The Core Strategy Group Difference: The problem that most companies face is that while markets have changed fundamentally, the practice of marketing has barely changed at all. Core Strategy Group combines traditional business focused marketing discipline with the aggressiveness and drive of an insurgent strategic model. It is a model built for clarity, speed and impact. This is the new model for companies who are serious about improving their market performance, revenues, share and return on marketing investment. It provides the most effective way for any organization to compete—and win.