Branding Biotech – Communicating the Brand’s Point of Differentiation

This is a guest post from Brannon Cashion, President of Addison Whitney Health. Do you have a response to Brannin’s post? Respond in the comments section below.

Brannon Cashion HeadshotThe branding process in the biotech sector can be related to the oxymoronic term of “new and improved.” While there is great benefit to being new, and also to being improved, the two terms are mutually exclusive.

Thus is the great challenge facing those in biotech when beginning their brand development – how is a worthwhile brand, which at its best pulls from precedent while communicating familiarity with the audience, to be built in a way that successfully communicates the previously unseen nature of innovation?

The answer can be found in one word – differentiation. In this space, when products are coming onto the market that forge unprecedented new ground within the industry and becoming the previously non-existent solution to a number of products, the brands that stand out are those highlighting how their product does the same.

Therefore, when looking to develop a brand for biotech products, the first steps forward are best used examining the marketplace, the current industry landscape and the consumer mindset. All of these factors will serve as insight into what is currently being offered and where the unmet or under-met needs exist. If the product is one that will find success, its innovative nature will fit one of these needs, and the branding should represent that niche in the marketplace.

It’s safe to presume that initial work has been done in research and development to identify a target unmet or under-met need for which the product has been developed. There was a reason why the product exists, why the innovation was needed. Now it is up to the brand to communicate this information to the necessary groups.

This is where we see the importance of differentiation come front and center once again. The strategic mindset for brand development is to ensure that those in need of the product, in addition to those who will be working with the product, know that there is a new option on the marketplace.

Vague, unfocused brand development can be a recipe for disaster in the biotech space, as the ease of which a new product can get lost in the rush is looming for each new launch. A biotech brand must find itself starting with the end goal in mind – what is the key message or messages that the audience must know when the brand communication is over? Then, how will those messages be transitioned from brand communication to consumer mindset?

Strong brands stay with the audience long after the interaction is over. Whether through a memorable name or visual brand, or through a strategy that highlights something that connects with the audience, they leave the interaction with something new on their mind. For biotech brands, that something new needs to be how the product stands out from the noise. Whether they are currently in need of the product’s benefits, know someone who is, or might need the product in the future, the brand’s goal should be to ensure that they stay top-of-mind throughout.

About Brannon Cashion:

Brannon Cashion is President of Addison Whitney Health, a part of inVentiv Health. With more than two decades of marketing experience, Brannon Cashion has led Addison Whitney’s offerings in brand strategy and development, brand name and logo creation, corporate identity consulting and market research, and oversees Addison Whitney’s offices in Charlotte, NC, Munich, Germany, New York, NY, Seattle, WA, London and Tokyo, Japan.


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