How Do Best Compliance Practices Feed Brand Image?

Kristin Buske
Written By
Kristin Buske
February 5, 2018

Data crunching, monitoring, risk management—traditionally, we have never seen these activities form part of what is the glamorous realm of the brand manager’s toolkit.

But—as regulators strive to bring transparency and distributive justice to the pharmaceutical industry, best compliance practices may actually be inching their way into active branding.

Perception Reality Gap: “Marketing is the war of perceptions,” is a familiar truism in business textbooks. It’s something marketing professionals have always known, frequently exploited, and increasingly—fallen victim to, themselves too. As access to data gets easier and quicker, the risk of falling victim to one’s own (mis)-perceptions is magnified manifold. ‘Gut instincts’ are only 50% accurate, and going by them, or a superficial, irregular presentation of sales figures gives brand managers a picture that is worse than non-existent—it is misleading, and can lead to risky behavior for the communities they serve. That’s where compliance steps in and helps fix things.

Sales figures are historical—which means they can tell you how the market has already behaved, and possibly explain why. They may also tell you where the market is headed. But not very accurately, and not too far out.

Spend analytics take care of both challenges. They visually highlight the emergent patterns decision-makers have been missing, and flag areas which were safe harbors of ‘quiet confident growth’.

Because analytics can be deployed in isolation, and compounded by two, three or more factors, it is easier (and less erroneous) to identify patterns in complex relationships. For instance, will an epidemic scare absolutely cause a sales spurt? Not necessarily. Likewise, do malicious disclosures about drugs lead to a direct drop in sales? Again, not necessarily.

While managing public opinion has traditionally been a responsibility led by a pharmaceutical company’s commercial team, they will find that increasingly support in ‘calling the shots’ and ‘busting myths’ about a drug’s brand direction comes from the compliance team. That’s because the compliance team has the objectivity and the critical approach needed to question assumptions. And also, because its motive is not to present the brand in the best possible light, but in its most honest state.

What results from this are a series of actionable insights for the brand management team.

But what happens in between?

We’ll address these in our next blog. Keep visiting this space.




Kristin Buske

About the Author

Dr. Buske earned her PhD in Immunology in 2004 and completed her Post-doctoral research at the German Cancer Research Center in 2008. She has been a key decision-maker in pharmaceutical industry in the region, with important responsibilities in Abbott GmbH & Co.KG, Merz Pharmaceuticals and Teva GmbH. Currently the Head of MSL Excellence at Merck, she joined qordata as the Principal Consultant in 2016. Her work has been instrumental in creating a culture of compliance and improved business performance in the pharmaceutical industry.