Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Standing by patients through our dedicated programs is something we are proud of. And now, adding to that list, is the IAMHER2 initiative, our specialised program for HER2 breast cancer patients.

The first of its kind in India, IAMHER2 is a completely unbiased support service that brings HER2 positive BC patients and their caregivers in touch with the best treatment options. Going beyond that, the initiative creates an entire resource ecosystem – facilitating affordable testing and treatment, along with ancillary services like counselling, nutrition and psychological support.

IAMHER2 has, along its journey, held the hands of many women and helped them deal with the condition. On the 13th of October 2016, (Metastatic Breast Cancer awareness Day), we took another significant step, by launching Crossroads – a film about courage, faith and above all, hope.’

Crossroads is the story of Surekha, a HER2 breast cancer survivor who chose hope over overwhelming circumstances. Follow the link below to watch Crossroads. Share it, talk about it. Because the more people know about HER2 BC, the more will women like Surekha get a new lease on life.

We didn’t stop there, though. To ensure Surekha’s story spread across social media, her experience was also posted on The Logical Indian on the 10th of October. 

There are many such stories waiting to be heard – stories of trials and tribulations, stories that inspire and instil hope, stories that touch our hearts. If you, or anyone you know has a story you would like to be heard, do share it with us.

It is only through connecting the dots that we can understand the whole picture about breast cancer. That, is one of the ways we can show our support. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

World Hearts Day – 29th September 2016

Keeping your heart healthy
is not a hard choice.
It’s a heart choice.

It doesn’t take much to keep heart disease at bay. In fact, it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference – changing lifestyle habits and being physically active, for instance. And it is not just us; even experts are on our side. They have said it loud and clear – when it comes to cardiovascular ailments, prevention is, in fact, better than cure.

World Heart Day is celebrated annually on the 29th of September. Founded in the year 2000, the campaign has been established to spread awareness about heart health. A large percentage of the society at large suffers from heart-related disorders like stroke, heart attacks, heart failures, etc. Quite clearly then, these problems are the leading cause of death across the world.

Not such a hearty scenario there.

The World Heart Foundation says that at least 80% of premature deaths due to cardiovascular diseases can be avoided by controlling four major risk factors – unhealthy eating, tobacco and alcohol use and lack of physical activity.And to drive this message home, a range of World Heart Day activities are organised, maximising reach and participation across a wide section of the society.

Creating conversations of significance matters the most when it comes to critical causes like those of heart health. On the occasion of World Heart Day, health institutes and various organizations conduct health check-ups and seminars to disseminate awareness on heart diseases, and ways one can prevent them.

We’d like to share a few ways in which you can lower the risk of heart diseases:

1. Quit smoking

Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of cardiovascular disease in both men and women, with more than 50%of heart attacks among middle-aged population are attributable to tobacco.

2. Keep your cholesterol levels in check

Aim for total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL; LDL cholesterol below 130 mg/dL and HDL above 35 mg/dL.

3. Don’t let your weight get in the way of heart health

60% of both men and women get no regular physical activity. Obesity, especially abdominal adiposity, is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease in women.

4. Exercise regularly, keep your heart pumping

Recent evidence suggests that even moderate-intensity activity, including brisk walking, is associated with substantial reduction of the risk of cardiovascular diseases

5. Make healthy diet choices

Diets low in saturated fat and high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fibre are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, you could even think about turning flexitarian (primarily vegetarian diet with an occasional intake of meat or fish) or vegetarian.

6. Stress management helps

Poorly controlled stress may have an adverse effect on blood lipids. Relaxation methods (meditation, breathing exercises), yoga, and stress management techniques are essential for preventing cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease and for reducing the risk of recurrent cardiac problems.

In India, millions of people fall victim to and die of cardiovascular diseases because of unhealthy lifestyles. All it takes is taking a step, no matter how big or small and that will be the beginning of a heart healthy life. It’s about time we all live the hearty life we’re supposed to. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Emotional Intelligence—Leveraging the Feeling

Have you ever laughed until your stomach hurt? Until there are no sounds but
just teary-eyed flailing of arms?

Happy emotions can do a lot – elevate your mood, for instance. The U.S. News
Health says laughter improves heart health. No wonder then, that we instantly
connect to brands that make us laugh. Brands that provoke some emotion,
make us feel. That is the key to stand apart – make consumers feel something.
According to the Atlantic, “over the past decade, an abundance of
psychological research has shown that experiences bring people more
happiness than possessions.”

And that is what brands all over are clamouring to deliver – a meaningful
customer experience. It is the key to customer loyalty, and a major influencer
along the buyer’s journey.

Let us look at how brands are forming these connections, giving people
experiences worth remembering.


Otrivin is Novartis India’s flagship brand in the OTC nasal decongestant
category. It is a space densely populated with remedies ranging from balms
to tablets and inhalers to nasal drops. Consumers know the brand, but do
not know how it provides superior relief. In a way, it was like any other
product in the category.
What becomes paramount in this situation, is enhancing trials and creating
brand preference among the target audience – in Otrivin’s case, males in the
age group of 25-44 years. Currently, consumers live with, and ignore the
problem of nasal congestion until it becomes severe, a behaviour which was
acting as a barrier in getting trials.

“To develop the TVC, the agency tapped into the consumer insight that
when a person is suffering from a blocked nose, he cannot speak clearly.
This not only hampers his performance but also causes social
embarrassment, as he is ‘nasally misunderstood.’

The inability to speak / breathe clearly, and being ‘nasally misunderstood’
was a crucial insight into developing the TVC – a welcome relief, comic
even, that drove the point across quite effectively, and even made viewers
laugh while doing so.


Before becoming the go-to solution for oral freshness and as an antiseptic
mouthwash, Listerine was used for anything from cleaning floors to curing
gonorrhoea. But in the 1920’s, the smart people at Listerine found that the
composition could cure chronic halitosis – bad breath. And there began a
radical shift in positioning – the communication dramatized how people
were turned off by those with bad breath. It was not such a big deal back
then, but this shift drove Listerine to becoming a multi-million dollar brand in
less than a decade. Bad breath was made the enemy, and Listerine, the
knight in shining armour.

The emotional connect here was everyone’s intrinsic need to be close to
people they liked, and possibly help intimacy.


The bindi – as instant a marker of being an Indian woman as the saree. Visit
any Indian village, and the one thing you will almost instantly notice is the
bindi on the women’s foreheads. This dot that has several meanings, from
the religious to the spiritual and even cosmetic. But did you know, that this
small dot has helped millions of women in rural areas lead better, healthier
lives? Well, here’s the story.

Lack of iodine has been linked to several life threatening medical conditions
such as breast cancer, brain damage and pregnancy-related complications.
And in India, iodine deficiency is a grim reality finding its root in the inherently
deficient soil of the subcontinent. Adding to the problem, is the fact that in
spite of iodine-fortified salts being introduced, close to 350 million people
still have not started using it.

This unique problem needed an equally unique solution. And the bindi came
to the rescue. Something so ubiquitous, something that’s part of everyday
life, the bindi was turned into the ‘Life-saving Dot (Jeevan Bindi).’

Special bindis were manufactured with a small dose of iodine in them.
Flawless drug delivery combined with zero compliance issues – the
Life-saving Dot is what all pharma products aim to be.


Stressful work atmosphere and long hours filled with lectures, presentations
and activities, and a lifestyle that leaves no room for exercise – all these come
together to create an ideal for backache to set in. Relief remains elusive, with
pained expressions like “aah” slowly becoming part of vocabulary.

Moov entered this distressed space, with its benefit of relief closely locked
in with its message. A message that brought smiles to everyone’s faces,
and respite from backache.

“Aah se aha tak”, an expression that encapsulates ‘from pain to relief’ drove
home the explicit desire for a credible relief process. And helped Moov
secure a solid position in the minds and hearts of consumers.

There you have it – a change in vocabulary that remains true to the product,
aids recall and ensures presence in almost every Indian home. This is the
spirit of Moov, a friend that has seen a long, unbroken continuum with
consumers’ lives. 


We have now seen examples of how consumers connect with brands that
elevate their benefits to an emotional level. Mastering the messaging, then,
might seem like a daunting task. Let us strip the concepts and reveal some
simple truth behind the messages. Here are the key takeaways –

Know your target audience and what they feel, want and need.
Know the emotions that your brand and marketing materials should evoke.

Craft marketing messages that skilfully trigger the emotions in your target
audience in a way that aligns them with your brand.

Ready to give emotional branding a go? We’d love to hear how you did.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Google vs Doctors - Why Internet self-diagnosis is a bad idea

Google – a storehouse of information for anyone that’s looking. It is like the go-to guy for any sort of query, bringing you information, opinions, ideas and what not. In short, it is an encyclopedia of anything and everything. Lacking in one crucial quality, though – the ability to think. In spite of the advent of Artificial Intelligence that has made today’s computers much smarter, the very human ability of thinking and reasoning is unmatched, something a machine is not capable of, at least now. 

With the universal availability of smartphones, the sheer number of people searching the Internet for information has skyrocketed, along with the quantity of information available online. In all the queries flooding the Internet, medical queries sit somewhere close to the top.

The question, then, is, how reliable is the Internet for the purpose of disease diagnosis? Who scores over the other – the doctor or Google?

Though the web provides meanings of certain technical terms, understanding and analysing medical literature in its true sense is not possible for the average Internet user – someone without a background of structured training in healthcare.

Medicine is a language in itself, and comprehending medical literature involves not only knowledge of technical terms, but a deeper understanding of its finer nuances, such as bio-statics – something that comes only from structured training and experience. In the absence of such a background, a collection of mere words (specialised terminology) will obviously appear meaningless, leading to anxiety, confusion and sometimes, even overconfidence.

And an anxious mind is a veritable door to lack of logical thinking, and arriving at pessimistic, unrealistic conclusions. For example, a person who is already anxious about his headache, going about searching Google for causes, might eventually focus on the most serious cause – a brain tumour, whereas in reality, a migraine might be indicated as more likely.

For reasons stated above, among many other, many sensible doctors themselves do not attempt self-diagnosis. They would rather consult another doctor as they are aware how their own anxiety could cloud their judgement.

The computer, though quite advanced as a tool, cannot replicate the analytical thinking capacity of a trained human mind. A website can generate an algorithm or probability based on its limited access to symptoms; it cannot match intuition (heuristic analysis) and deductive reasoning, the mainstay of professionals.

Another question raises its head frequently –What if the doctor’s treatment is not working?

We should understand that medicine is not an exact science. Not all doctors share similar treatment approaches, and not all patients with the same condition can be treated by the same medication. It would then be sensible to go back and let the doctor know about the apparent lack of response to treatment. It is any day a sensible option compared to Googling symptoms and medications, and ending up becoming more confused.

So, what’s the verdict?
The Internet no doubt is an excellent resource, a tool, to help patients understand procedures that they might be undergoing, for example, cardiac catheterization, colonoscopy, or an MRI scan. However, those with an undiagnosed symptom are better off consulting a qualified medical practitioner, than attempting self-diagnosis through Doctor G – Google. It can save people from coming up with premature, uninformed and erroneous conclusions. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Emotional Intelligence : Leveraging the ‘feeling’

Putting Emotion in Pharma

As Matt Giegerich, President of Quantum Group highlights, “Unless you understand how the patient feels about a category, and then show how your product can respond to that feeling, the execution is jargon.”

Giegerich statement is particularly relevant, when multiple products are reaching patent expiry and are facing competition from generics. At the same time, more ‘me-too’ product are entering the market, and Rx to OTC switches are getting frequent, putting the purchasing power in consumers’ hands.

While the market undergoes such upheavals, it is disconcerting to brands being promoted on purely functional benefits, with little regard for the emotional connect that could be created with the audience.

And in such a scenario, what happens when a competition ‘one-ups’ your functional offering, or if that functional offering no longer offers greater differentiation than the rest of the market?

AstraZeneca’s highly successful, moving campaign of their oncology brand Arimidex, a hormonal replacement therapy for reducing breast cancer recurrence, is a good example. The integrated advertising campaign aimed at overcoming the HRT-generated fear by negative press, and the reluctance of breast cancer survivors for even hearing about another treatment and achieved it remarkably. The company, instead of pursuing a ‘hard- sell’ strategy, followed an unbranded educational campaign that generated a great deal of goodwill.

Research suggests that cancer patients rely heavily on survivors for information and support. Arimidex implemented a strategy that used real-life breast cancer survivors to talk to other survivors.

Moving Hearts as well as Minds

In a healthcare world where both healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients are often overwhelmed with information and data, the role a brand plays will become all the more important in ensuring success.

Successful healthcare brands are built from a foundation of both rational emotional benefits. This confluence of the heart and the mind gives a brand the ability to communicate its functional attributes and create a lasting, positive image in the minds of those prescribing it.

This is the power of a brand – the capability to provoke resonance. And that happened when a doctor connects with what the brand is saying, and responds by prescribing it instead of a competitor.

Shaking Things Up – The Right Amount of Fear

AstraZeneca repositioned heartburn from a trivial condition, to one that can have serious consequences. Changing the name of the condition from heartburn to Acid Reflux Disease or GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) was a smart repositioning tactic. For example, a TV ad for Nexium warned consumers that “Over time, that acid can shred your esophagus.”2

Quite a fearful image. But it helped viewers remember the brand. Because it alarmed them and presented the condition as something to be concerned about.

Emotional branding goes beyond loyalty and almost creates an “I-am-with- -no-matter- what” mentality.

Reverse Psychology

For some pharmaceutical products, beyond relieving physical symptoms or discomfort, the product benefit is also to nullify some social emotions.

For example, consumers desire a medication for psoriasis because it relieves itch and pain. However, it also delivers a stronger emotional benefit by alleviating powerful feelings of shame or rejection, which most patients feel when they are in social situations. The product’s ability to alleviate this
strong emotional pain is an equal, if not stronger, purchase driver than its ability to alleviate physical discomfort.

The One who Cares

While cough and cold medications are largely marketed on functional benefits – efficacy, speed, long-lasting – one very strong emotional need remained unaddressed. Parents of sick children feel tremendous anxiety, which is triggered by a number of perceived uncertainties.

“How sick is my child? Will she get worse? Can I go to work tomorrow?”

Armed with this insight, the brand pursued new creative development to implicitly promise anxiety relief, and align this emotional reward with the brand. Understanding the unmet emotional needs enabled breakthrough marketing innovation for this brand.

Good positioning often promises an emotional benefit, without stating it directly.

For example, several years ago, Merck achieved an ideal positioning strategy for Fosamax (Alendronate) with the statement “Fosamax helps you regain your independence.” By focusing on the underlying emotional issues surrounding osteoporosis and the constant threat of fracture faced by
women with low bone density, the essence of the indication was well-captured. In response, sales of Fosamax increased dramatically. In contrast, the statement “Fosamax increases bone density,” while true, lacks the emotional impact of a positioning statement that focuses on regaining

To Summarize

One may argue that it will take a while for pharmaceutical brands to leverage the same kind of returns that FMCG’s have from communicating emotional values in building loyalty. But it is an area that should definitely not be neglected.

Product attributes and pricing do play a significant part in influencing customers to choose a particular brand. But an ongoing advertising campaign that touches consumers emotionally will enable top-of-the mind recall and help build long term brand loyalty. Additionally, all of the brand’s
communication, including press advertising, public relations (PR), online and direct marketing should focus on the emotional values; this will help deliver a consistent message.

In addition to delivering functional benefits, it is only when a product stimulates an emotional dialogue with the consumer and confers value to its customers, will it sustain loyalty in the long term.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Doctor Segmentation: Reaching out through a different lens

Indian Pharmaceutical market is genericized. The doctors are progressively cluttered with multiple brands belonging to the same molecule class. Managing brands in this scenario has become increasingly difficult for pharmaceutical brand managers, since doctor engagement and brand loyalty amidst dense competition is tough. Each level in the multilayer stakeholder network of the pharmaceutical companies in India is armed with their individual strategies to combat this competitive scenario. Most practiced strategy is customer segmentation basis doctor specialty and their prescription behavior.

While in the quest to win over competition, this strategy of customer segmentation has met success, it’s time to ponder! Each customer is different with different needs and interests. Their expectation from pharmaceutical branding also differs according to their interests. Hence branding with customized engagement route becomes imperative forming customer communities is a popularly employed tool to engage customers effectively. Communities could be formed basis customer’s attitude, psychographs, needs in relation to the brand/category. This would eventually help pharma bigwigs to formulate focussed marketing strategies, fixate on the inputs to engage the doctors effectively, extricate relevant consumer insight to assure endurance.



  • Knowledge seekers are generally interested in company supported educational programs.
  • They are seldom interested in representative talks or samples.

Inflection Points

  • Liaise with the community by inviting the knowledge seekers to educational programs.
  • Appeal doctor’s interest by directing them to gauge practices adopted globally.

Community Characteristics

  • The community believes in engaging with the on-ground team with the objective of gaining and imparting information.
  • They typically value medication samples, pharmaceutical representative’s interactions and education.

Inflection Points

  • We can influence the community with a multi-faceted sales and marketing message.
  • They can be provided with samples readily available, invite doctors to speaker events.
  • They would welcome in-clinic reminder items pertinent to the demographics of their practice.


Community Characteristics

  • Independents typically don’t value rep interactions.
  • They try to rely on independent evidence based medicine material. 

Inflection Points

  • Relationship could be built by facilitating speaker programs, peer-reviewed journals or educational camps for their patients.
  • Attempt could be made to make doctors aware of all new clinical trials and details, to become a resource representative and not a sales representative.


Community Characteristics

  • They are cost conscious and receptive to patient preference.
  • Patient education interests them more.
  • They are slow to adopt new medications.

Inflection Points

  • Product differentiation with respect to cost, ease of administration, formulary availability, patient education materials, efficacy and safety needs to be established.
  • On-ground team may expound on the advantages of using brand in concern over the competition.


The current approaches of customer segmentation for branding have been helping the pharma companies to generate business. However, in order to stand out in doctor’s chamber, forming doctor communities to understand value graphics could be an alternative approach. Understanding the customer value graphics gives an advantage to pose as knowledge representative, as against sales representative. Such an understanding can help the pharma bigwigs to be armed with relevant information tools that each customer type is keen to seek. This makes each interaction more engaging and would eventually help to earn brand currency with the doctors.