Too often, Americans think of “global” as a term that means “everybody except us.” Too often, we forget that global means “all of us.”
It’s understandable – but it’s a liability. Because, after all, people are people the world round. Physicians the world round have the same drive to help their patients. All of us are, at some point, patients. And, wherever we live, whoever we are, we live on a planet that is more interconnected every day.
Sometimes, the instinct with any shift in thinking is to assume we must have all or nothing. And sometimes, when pharma attempts an all-or-nothing approach – one global brand, even one global campaign – it can be difficult for several reasons.
Primarily, of course, regulations vary drastically in terms of what can be said, to whom, through what channels. (For instance, of course, only the United States and New Zealand permit DTC claims for Rx products.)
Moreover, many international pharma organizations have an extremely decentralized structure, which makes global dissemination of global messages a convoluted proposition.
Globalization, therefore, is a nuanced proposition in pharma marketing. It’s not always easy, but that doesn’t make it impossible. Here are five ways to globalize your brands. How many are you using, and where could you do more?
Design with flexibility in mind. Make it possible for your work to evolve to best fit the population it is reaching. This can mean everything from redesigning for the direction – right to left, left to right, top-down – in which the language is written; working with the media that are most popular in that region; using images and colors that reflect the audience; or employing idioms and examples that resonate with the culture.
Let even the tiniest details shine. The tiny globe icon that Facebook uses to alert you to notifications turns to your part of the globe based on where you are when you log in. It’s only a few pixels – but it’s an elegant way to demonstrate user awareness.
Automate location-sensitive personalization wherever possible. That example is also a perfect demonstration of this goal. When you can make your work globally sensitive in a frictionless way, everyone wins. The idea of designing to feel local may at first conjure fancy thoughts – for instance, a symptom tracker that changes colors according to the local time? But it begins in small and practical ways. Simplest of all: budget to ensure that high-quality translations can be available as rapidly as possible.
Involve the right people every step of the way. Rather than developing a campaign, then rolling it out to colleagues around the world to implement, seek their perspectives and expertise before you even begin. They know their market, and how their market thinks best, and it’s only with that insight that you’ll succeed.
Check back in. Every market is in a constant state of evolution, and every brand must reposition accordingly. Competition changes; regulations change; trends change. Discussions before launch are vital. But so, too, are ongoing discussions.
Talk to your Intouch account lead about ways to improve the global mindset of your brand.