The Role of Data in the Brand-Building Process

Data and analytics are consistently playing a larger and more critical role in healthcare marketing and branding. Using data in a way that shapes and supports the commercialization process is a theme across the healthcare space and is especially true in brand development.

Recently, Leaderboard Branding’s Managing Partner, Brannon Cashion, participated in a webinar panel discussion with Endpoints News about this very topic.

Shaping decision-making through data and insight

Early in the commercialization process, the future of a product isn’t entirely clear. Market analytics and competitive analysis can be influenced by what is communicated even though the experienced reality of the market and audience may be different. Data help provide a better understanding of market dynamics and product opportunities.

In brand development, many factors can be subjective for decision-makers. Strong insights can help provide a level of objectivity. With the appropriate insights, used to fill information gaps and validate key assumptions, marketers can be more confident in the brands they are shaping.

Start early and be nimble

“I have a belief that, in regard to brand strategy and brand identity, there’s almost no argument for starting too early,” Cashion shared. “Because so much of the equation is outside the manufacturer’s control.”

By beginning the branding process early in development, teams are able to respond to key learnings with an open mind and be nimble to change. They are also able to practice due diligence by presenting a robust, data-rich process to regulatory bodies. With additional time also comes the opportunity to adjust or dispute potential regulatory challenges, supporting a well-thought-out and consistent global brand strategy.

“We actually had a situation where a client had a name rejected by the EMA. [The EMA] felt the name was too similar to another medication name and that there could be confusion that might lead to a pharmacy dispensing error,” Cashion told the panel. “We engaged the prescribing audience and did a head-to-head comparison. We gathered the data and presented our findings—that the two products in question will never intersect, so they can’t be confused.” In the end, the name was approved.

Better tools for the age of big data

White boards and brainstorming will always have their place; however, branding has evolved to incorporate more data into the creative process. Global pharmaceutical trademark rigor is a critical step in exploring brand opportunities that can be globally viable. Taking trademark information from data to insight through tools and expertise highlights what name candidates can pick to have a higher probability of success.

Phonetic Orthographic Computer Analysis (POCA) is a tool that uses algorithm-based analysis to quantify the extent to which names may look alike or sound alike. This analysis is a critical component of approval, especially in the United States, where the FDA specifically references such analyses. Effective use of POCA has evolved to provide improved insights into brand name candidates far before regulatory review.

Cashion explained that he feels the future of brand naming lies in a dual approach of human rigor and creativity combined with machine learning. “These [tools] aren’t name databases, but they’re taking a lot of these other data sources and aggregating them. So when a name is created, we have a predictive measurement or a score in our minds that says what can be approvable from a legal perspective, from a regulatory perspective, and from a commercial perspective.”

Healthcare marketing is evolving at light speed, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. To stay at the forefront of the landscape, companies will use data to drive insights that shape the future of their brands.

To hear more of Cashion’s thoughts on the use of analytics in creating and building brands, watch the full webinar discussion.