How to Develop Brand Values: Preparing for Launch Part 2

Zebra is regularly asked about what type of research and intelligence should be explored at different stages of the drug development cycle. We have therefore created a series of posts that look to provide some answers, including those pertaining to brand values. The posts in this series will follow the different phases of the drug development process. Therefore, we have created an image showing the key commercial activities throughout the drug development pathway. Please click here to download the graphic that follows along with these posts.

The Last Piece of the Market Research Pie

In Part 1 of this post, we looked at two of the three major pieces of market research that companies should consider when preparing for launch; these included price research and product positioning. In this post, we’ll be looking at the development of brand identity and values.

Development of Brand Values and Identity

All too often, companies contract creative and market research agencies separately to work on brand image and values. However, working together and in an iterative process allows for more creative and informed content to explore with customers.

Any research would be looking to explore the verbal and visual imagery associated with the disease with regard to:

  • Characteristics of the condition
  • Impact on managing the disease
  • Impact of the disease on both physician and patient

In addition to this, core values associated with the disease and existing treatment approaches also need to be examined along with those associated with the product proposition itself. Lastly, identifying the components of the ideal brand image for the product will be an essential output at this stage.

Alongside the development of brand identity, companies need to review messaging to support the brand and thus develop optimum communication as the brand promise. A brand promise is one or two sentences, which internally communicates what the customer expects from a brand. It aligns efforts and keeps the company from developing something that is out of scope for the brand. The promise ensures that a company creates consistent experiences for the customers.

At this stage, one is focusing on: 

  • Global brand imagery 
  • Descriptors and terminology
  • Appeal
  • Distinctiveness
  • Fit with disease and brand values
  • Performance vs. communication objectives

3 Main Steps to Positioning

  1. The Premise is the key insight that customers identify with.
  2. The Promise is the benefit that is delivered to the customer (can be several).
  3. The Proof is how the customer is going to be convinced that the product will deliver the premise and promise.

Many studies can review all three in one study. Each is based on a strong foundation of understanding your market, customer groups and product—a culmination of all the previous work conducted about the product at different stages of development.

That’s why it’s important to conduct research amongst customers and have a solid understanding of their attitudes, behaviours and needs. Engaging with the right customers will not only bring multiple perspectives and a range of truths to the party, it will also uncover language that others relate to.

Above all, one is looking for the key differentiation and leveraging it in a way that no competitor can touch. It should be relevant and insightful to your specific customers and create a positive relationship.  

Other activities at this stage focus on competitive intelligence, which we’ll cover in future blog posts.


Stay tuned for our next post, in which we’ll discuss activities to consider for launch.

If you would like more company-specific ideas of how to conduct this work, please feel free to reach out to us.

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