Reposition a Biologic as a Challenger Brand


Our client’s biologic medicine launched a few years ago into a crowded category, and had a difficult time building market share in spite of a healthy budget, experienced brand team and big-name agency. In typical pharma fashion, they chose to go head-to-head on clinical efficacy with the category leader that outspent them 3:1 – including a heavy DTC TV investment – even though their clinical data were perceived to be at parity.


At Health Accelerators we believe that effective marketing includes owning a difference that matters to customers, so we set out first to understand what current and prospective customers valued most about the biologics in that therapeutic category, as well as what they thought ‘best in class’ looked like in other categories in which they had experience. Using a prioritized list of both product and service attributes, we identified areas that were both valued by customers and not uniquely owned by any brands in the category. We also looked carefully at the language customers used to describe their patients, the primary diseases they treated, and the biologic options in the category.

With clinical efficacy at parity to competitors in prescribers’ minds, we advised our client to emphasize patient convenience due to their less-frequent dosing and simpler administration (launching later gave them insight into designing a more reliable autoinjector) which were highly valued by both prescribers and patients. We developed and tested HCP messaging and core creative concepts which were later executed by their AOR, and designed a multichannel patient engagement plan that took advantage of the condition awareness created by the leading competitors’ large DTC spend.


The Health Accelerators team helped our client challenge the traditional way of thinking about how to market a ‘high science’ biologic. Through our research we found that that the majority of specialists see most brands in the category as roughly clinically equivalent, so in this case the patient had a larger say in the choice of treatment. This new understanding and focus on patient convenience helped our client cut through the noise of similar p-values and MOA videos to truly put the patient – and her success on therapy – at the center of the brand’s positioning and expression across all HCP and consumer communications channels.