Key Issue Identification

1. Patient Journey Decision Point Indentifcation

Building a solid brand plan starts with understanding the patient journey and identifying the leverage points along the journey, where there is opportunity to influence current behavior, by stakeholder, in an effort to positively impact patient outcomes and subsequently drive brand performance. Traditionally these journeys have identified influence points within the medical treatment paradigm, however it is becoming increasingly important to incorporate the digital / social influencers that many patients are now using as their “most trusted source”.

It is important to understand the insights behind the unmet customer needs or customer perceptions that are driving the current behavior(s) you need to change in order to build a strategy and related strategic imperatives that address the unmet customer needs, undesired customer behaviors and negative brand perceptions. That often works best by incorporating an emotional dimension to the journey such as patient quotes.

“The discipline required to set the stage for brand plans starts with deep insights that support, but are not limited to, the patient journey. All of which ultimately pushes the team to pragmatic disruption or sensible innovation.”

- Thomas Kolaras, Senior Vice President, US Specialty Marketing, Endo Pharmaceuticals

2. Identification of Key Issues (Brand Opportunities)

Next, define what the Key Issues or Market/Brand Opportunities are along the patient journey that can influence customer behaviors and then develop a Strategic Imperative to address each one. But before you begin the process of developing Strategic Imperatives, it is important to first ensure that the Key Issues or Brand Opportunities are the ones that truly “matter” with regard to impacting brand performance, as a result of effectively changing customer behavior and/or perceptions at the Patient Journey Leverage Points you identify as critical.

Broad examples of such leverage points along the patient journey are; when a patient decides to seek information about their disease or about your product, when and HCP is making a prescribing decision, when a patient is deciding to fill their prescription, when the patient is deciding to refill their prescription. These are all typical decision points that can, if positively influenced, can result in the patient getting the optimal therapy for their disease as prescribed and staying on that therapy. Of course, there are others depending on the therapeutic area and complexity of the journey. To the extent that the patients’, HCPs’ and other stakeholders’ needs are best met along the journey at those critical junctions, best determines the success of your brand.

“I’ve seen marketers become so fixated on the number of tactics in a brand plan without first understanding the needs of the customer. It’s not about the number of tactics, it’s about focusing on the analytical principles of the patient journey which leads to the creation of the brand story that unlocks the true value any product.”

- Kiernan Seth, PhD, Vice President of Marketing, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals