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Brand Planning During a Pandemic

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Annual brand planning is a challenging and exhaustive process even in the best of times. So how do you plan for 2021 during a global crisis with little knowledge of what the future holds?

While business is not as usual anymore, pharmaceutical marketing is mostly staying the course for now. According to an article by FiercePharma, a survey of ad agencies and medical communications firms that handle pharmaceutical clients found both slowdowns and bright spots, but mostly unknowns as the situation continues to unfold.

Moving forward, plans need to be developed based on different scenarios driving different brand plans that will mitigate the unknowns. The strategy will need to be agile with the ability to pivot to a different scenario when needed.

Additionally, the execution will need to be simplified based on these different scenarios that have been mapped out for 2021.

So for you brand leaders, where do you begin? Here are some key questions you need to ask:

  1. What are your short-term versus long-term brand objectives as supported by senior management and other internal brand team members (i.e., marketing, medical, market access… etc.)?
  2. What are the different scenarios that need to be mapped out?
  3. What are the simple and actionable plans for each scenario? As strategic partners for your brand, your agency is there to support you. They can help you map out these scenarios and brainstorm simple and actionable items to achieve your brand and sub-brand objectives.
  4. What are key dates to map out scenarios against?
  5. What are the requirements and measurements of success and what are the assessment timelines?
  6. Do you have an action plan and key dates identified to hit the key steps in developing quality plan? Dates, requirements, measures of success? If not create a plan for your plan for the next 2-3 months.

 We don’t know how COVID-19 pandemic will affect us in the second half of 2020 and in 2021 and what impact it will have on how we communicate with patients, HCPs, payers, or pharma. What we need to assume is that the new normal will be with us for an indefinite period of time. In order to be agile, brands that plan based on insightful data will gain a competitive advantage. This will require thorough planning, collaboration, and coordination, which will be challenging but will prove to be worthwhile. Brands that properly plan and remain agile will win the day regardless of what the future holds.

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