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6 CPG Trends That Are Shaping Pharma Brand Marketing

Posted By: SGK November 06, 2014
6 CPG Trends That Are Shaping Pharma Brand Marketing

The nature of branding has been redefined. By understanding today’s big consumer goods trends, pharma brands can position themselves for greater success, says Bruce Levinson, VP of Client Engagement at SGK.

In his recent BrandSquare Live Session, CPG Mega-Trends Influencing Pharma Brands, Bruce discussed six CPG mega-trends that are creating new risks…and new opportunities. Are you ready?

1.    Global Consumerism – Today, access to international travel, cuisine, fashion and sports have created a new global consumer - one with a taste for the world beyond their doorstep. Millennials in particular are challenging accepted norms and not simply buying into the brands and products that their parents did. The range of products available to them is much more diverse, borrowing flavors, ingredients, raw materials and even philosophies from all corners of the globe.

As with CPG, patients are challenging norms in the pharmaceutical sector and are at the center of new healthcare models. While historically, pharma has focused on developing blockbuster drugs, the criteria for success has changed today. Patients are now equipped with more information at their fingertips and are actively involved in managing their own health. They’re considering remedies from around the world that go beyond conventional medicine, such as alternative medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. 

2.    Celebrating Authenticity – This is demonstrated by brands with a compelling, lasting narrative: the brands that don’t change with the whims and fancies of the latest fads, even newer brands that offer something distinctive and not easily copied. 

The pharma sector is massively targeted for counterfeiting, which accounts for annual losses estimated at $75 billion. Packaging is a key part of the strategy for protecting the authenticity of the brand and ultimately patient safety. Pharma brands are leveraging multiple security techniques with varying degrees of success. Covert features enable brand owners to identify a product’s authenticity. 

3.    Sustainability Consciousness – Millennials don’t just know more about sustainability, they care more and often vote with their wallets. And today sustainability isn’t just about saving the planet. It’s about how a company and its brands interact with resources, people and even ideals. Sustainable sourcing, fair trade practices and even social corporate responsibility have become a new focus of packaging and marketing materials.     

For pharma the act of putting a product in our bodies creates a much higher degree of personal importance than perhaps ecological sustainability. OTC consumers favor claims supporting purity and “natural-ness”. For instance BFS (blow-fill-seal) technology has gained market focus in recent years for its multiple sustainability advantages. With BFS, there’s no need to purchase or stock a range of pre-fabricated containers and sterilization is not required. 

4.    Specialization of Everything – Products have become over-engineered, providing perhaps more than we really need. The “Good, Better, Best” portfolio has evolved to include Super-Premium, Gourmet, Free-Form and Industrial. In the pharma sector, this has resulted in specialized “compound” customized medications. This practice is widely recognized as medically necessary. Prescriptions are based on patients’ needs under supervision.

5.    Consumer Proactivity – Consumers are seeking information and guidance from brands in planning their family, finances, beauty and, of course, their health, making on-pack and on-line messaging strategy more important than ever. Patient-centric healthcare has been characterized by a number of trends as well. Passive patients have been replaced by patients who are engaged, which means pharmaceutical companies must take time to understand what these patients need.

6.    Make It Easy – Consumers are faced with so many choices, they won’t waste their time and money on brands that make life too hard. What works: Fast-acting, convenient formats, on the go. Make it simple for them to navigate between flavors and functions. Research indicates that in most cases, packaging can contribute to improving adherence levels, which are shockingly low among patients with chronic conditions. Patients’ perception of their medication needs to change and innovative packaging can help address these areas.
Learn more about the consumer goods trends that are influencing how pharma brands are managed and marketed. Watch Bruce Levinson’s BrandSquare Live Session recording on YouTube!