Practical Perspectives

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Swiss Army Knife

Multiple Indications, One Unifying Brand Story

In the early small-molecule era of pharmaceuticals there was usually a one-to-one correlation between an FDA-approved medicine and the indication or use for the condition it treated. Then things started to change and become more complex. For example, the industry developed relatively simple cardiovascular drugs like beta blockers and then found evidence that they could also treat a variety of related conditions, from hypertension to angina to congestive heart failure. Brand X was a dessert topping and a floor wax, to reference an SNL skit from an even earlier era about Swiss-Army-knife products that seemed to do a lot of

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Female Creative Director at desk

Investor Relations Needs a Creative Director

Investor Relations (IR) is a vital function within any company, large or small. Its primary responsibilities are to give current and potential investors and industry analysts a range of financial and non-financial information, access to company executives, rationale for a company’s valuation, and confidence that their money – or that of their clients – will provide the returns they are looking for. IR also ensures a company’s compliance with the laws and regulations that govern securities. Yet it does more than that. IR also helps company officers with messaging and managing the expectations of various stakeholders. The ripple effects of

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King on Chess Board

When Your CEO Makes It Hard to Communicate

We hear a lot about the ‘boss’ in our line of work. We help busy people create and deliver stories about important and complex subjects, and as you already know, that’s harder than it sounds. Our clients have tough jobs sometimes, so if the boss is part of the problem when it comes to delivering those messages, sooner or later we’re going to hear about it. But here’s the surprising thing: Most of the time, these people think that their boss – usually the company’s CEO, but sometimes another senior executive – is a genius, an inspirational leader, and a

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Woman planking in exercise studio

Strategic Communications: First, Strengthen Your Core

At Health Accelerators we believe that strategic planning should be methodical and sequential. Jumping directly into tactics during the planning process is like eating dessert first: it tastes good for a few minutes, but ultimately ruins your appetite for the food you need to stay healthy. Good planning practice means getting it right from the start. It takes discipline and requires a systematic approach to ensure that your tactical investments are built on a solid strategic foundation. Our clients understand that investments in strategy, communications planning and core messaging create a multiplier effect on their subsequent investments in media, meetings and events,

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Philadelphia skyline in Fall

Selling Innovation (Change) inside Big Companies

I’ve lived most of my life in the Northeastern part of the US, and autumn is a special time of the year. Despite a few weeks’ delay likely due to climate change, most of us still look forward to the change of seasons and the fall colors that paint the trees like dominos falling from north to south. I took the photo above a few years ago in Philadelphia, and each time I look at it I hear that classic Hall & Oates song. Change is natural and inevitable, and humans have adapted for a very long time. In the

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Problem-Solution Matrix

Improve Your Problem-Solving with this Simple System

Sometimes when we’re faced with problems at work it can feel like we’re lost in the woods and unsure of where to start. In this post we’ll look at a simple system to solve almost any problem you face in your daily life. After you gain a bit of experience, like I have, you see patterns in the world and in the problems you encounter at work and in other areas of your life. Here’s a straightforward approach that I use, and you may laugh at how simple it is. It strips down and organizes all of the possible problems

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3 Magic Questions

Start Every Project with these 3 Magic Questions

There are three magic questions that we use at our agency to ensure we’re making the best use of our time and talent, and our client’s resources. Whether you’re designing a new innovation process for your company, running the annual planning process for a brand, or even starting a new project at home — the three magic questions can really help you focus, clarify and prioritize during the critical early stages of discovery and planning. A problem well stated is a problem half-solved. The first magic question is, “What problem are we trying to solve?” It’s a basic question, so

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Milan Faces

Is Differentiation a Lost Art?

Pharmaceutical marketing is a sea of sameness in which clever key messages, celebrity spokespeople and p-values do not compensate for poorly differentiated products. Do marketers and their agencies simply fail to understand their customers, or do they really believe that the science will sell itself? I concede that one major difficulty in differentiating an Rx brand is that the product itself fundamentally doesn’t change during its brief patent-protected life. Uses may expand, formulations may be tweaked, new data may be generated, and patient support programs may be created—but it’s the same medicine with the same properties it had on launch

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Dunking a basketball

Boost Career Success with a Better ‘Inside Game’

Over the past few weeks we’ve received more calls than ever from brand leaders, CoE leaders, and other managers and executives, all with the same problem: They’re trying to get things done within their organization, but they’re running into internal roadblocks, apathy and bureaucracy that stalls their projects and hinders their success. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Across the industry, it’s getting harder for marketers and team leaders to get buy-in and internal support from colleagues within their own company. And when that happens, it can seriously jeopardize a team’s success and a manager’s career. Yet we know

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Road to the Future

Aftermath: BioPharma’s Brave New World

It has been difficult for many lately to focus on the next day, let alone the next week. However, if your work involves helping healthcare companies plan for the future, as mine does, creating 2021 scenarios is foundational for advising clients. Below are some possible futures and considerations for healthcare that may force the biopharma industry to change course in some fundamental areas. I hesitate to call them ‘predictions,’ because as of today they’re only half formed but still worth exploring. Creating future scenarios is foundational for advising clients. Since there’s no precedent, it’s difficult to predict what the US

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