The profit margins of businesses that let their brands lead the way—as opposed to their consumers, investors or employees—are nearly double the pharmaceutical industry standard, and 82% of brand-led businesses outperform their competitors (see these case studies for some more numbers and examples). So the question is: is your pharma company, biotech business or CRO led by a strong brand? And if not, how do you find one?
The brand bonus
Whether they realize it or not, most consumers aren’t just buying a product or a service but an idea. They want to feel connected to the companies they interact with; they need to “click” with your business’s personality—that is, with your business’s brand.
Many companies struggle with creating a brand. “Part of the problem is that many of us leading companies don’t really understand branding, or we think we know all about branding and totally underestimate what is involved in creating a strong brand,” says Sabine Hutchison. It was way more complex than we expected!
Let’s face it: many of us have purely scientific backgrounds and don’t know the first thing about marketing. However, as scientists, we appreciate data. And the data makes it clear that there are some major benefits to branding. But what exactly does that mean?
What’s in a brand?
Yep, your brand is going to need a logo—but it’s important to understand that brands are much more than their logos! A brand is the foundation for all strategy. It is the essence of your ideals, the story of your company as well as its vision, mission and purpose. It is the core reason why your business exists.
There are a lot of companies that think they have a brand when in fact what they have is a visual identity, which is ever so important, but not enough on its own. Your visual branding does need to be memorable, recognizable and representative of your business, and company colors do provide a unified look and communicate something about your personality—but these elements do not a strategy make. As Gina Dunn (“Chief Marketing Jedi” at iGina) says, “You can’t just put icing on the cake: you need to bake the cake first.”
So what does a baked cake—er, a branded company—look like? Beyond the logo and company website, a branded company is led by values. It knows what it believes in and stands up for that. A brand is much more than a cool product or service; it’s what shapes the product and services. It’s the company’s fundamental purpose, that which identifies and differentiates it.
As complex as the branding process is, it can essentially be boiled down into two steps:
Step 1: Lay your brand’s foundation, its core values and motivators.
Step 2: Activate your brand via a logo, color scheme, website and other visual tools and marketing materials.
“Just two steps?” we hear you ask, tongue in cheek. It almost sounds easy when you put it that way, but we know from personal experience it’s anything but (more blogs to come on that!). Here’s how we handled it.
Uncovering your brand
For most of us in the life-sciences industry, the biggest hurdle is a lack of experience and know-how in the branding arena. If that’s you, we were completely in your shoes when we decided it was time to create the brand for our Seuss Recruitment division. That’s why we turned to a pro: Gina from iGina. She specializes in helping small companies and start-ups with their branding so that entrepreneurs can give their attention to the daily business of getting a new company off the ground. Consulting with an expert like Gina took the pain out of the brand-creation process (actually, she made it a lot of fun!) while ensuring that all the branding decisions you make are framed toward long-term success.
Our experience taught us that we completely underestimated what was involved in the branding process. We weren’t sure what to expect going in, but by the end of our workshops and discussions, we were glad we had a facilitator leading the way—and saving us time, of course! Not to mention how invaluable an objective and experienced point of view was to the process. You can “brand yourself,” but unless you’re a specialist in this area, working with a pro is so much more effective.
However you decide to approach your branding, it starts with simply deciding it’s a priority and investing some effort and resources into uncovering your company’s purpose, its raison d’être. Zeroing in on a strong motivator in conjunction with a strong logo is the most important piece of strategic planning your business will ever undergo. As for us, we’re already seeing returns!
Does your biotechnology or pharmaceutical business need new branding to help attract talented life sciences professionals? Does your CRO or supplier company need a brand boost to attract sponsor clients to your services? Contact Seuss by calling us for a fun and friendly chat at + 31 (0) 20-2900016 or send us a quick message at TalkToUs@consultseuss.com