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Unbranded Campaigns: Working Hard for Your Brand

Guest Blogger

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You may be thinking, "When every dollar counts, why bother with unbranded?" Research shows that most consumers are "information seekers" when it comes to health information. Since the introduction of DTC marketing, unbranded sites have become a popular platform for educating patients. According to the PEW Internet and American Life Project, 61% (135.8 million) of Internet users in the United States are looking online for health information. Of these, 66% (89.7 million) are looking for information on a specific disease or medical problem.

Unbranded campaigns have become a popular component of the online pharma marketer’s toolbox. They can allow marketers a way to build a foundation of trust with patients by providing valuable information about their disease state. Let’s take a look at the different ways unbranded campaigns can work for you.

Effective Unbranded Strategies

So how do you ensure your unbranded campaign will give you optimal results for your brand? We recommend the following strategies:

  1. Provide pertinent disease awareness information

    Be sure the education materials provided are relevant to your specific disease state and, where appropriate, to your brand. Also, make sure this information on your Web site is easily accessible. And the more content, the better, when it comes to search engine optimization.

  2. Make the patient feel comfortable

    Use engaging content that is written in a patient-friendly voice and is easy to understand. Use interesting designs, tone-appropriate content, and update tools regularly.

  3. Encourage patient-physician communication

    Unbranded campaigns are an excellent tool to facilitate meaningful dialogues between patients and health care professionals during office visits. Offer doctor discussion guides, symptom trackers, and other interactive tools to help patients communicate more effectively with their physicians.

  4. Build a dialogue with your patients

    Consider including a registration component and database into your marketing plan. Acquiring registrants via unbranded Web sites can facilitate an ongoing dialogue between you and information seekers. Gather the leads online, and then you can introduce your brand to your leads via e-mail. Just double-check with your regulatory reviewers that they are comfortable with this "linking-unbranded-to-branded" approach.

  5. Become a resource for physicians

    Many physicians have limited office time and are using unbranded Web sites as additional patient education resources. According to Taking the Pulse® v9.0, 59% of physicians recommended health sites to their patients, up from 52% in 2007. And 74% of health care providers seek patient education materials online, up from 60% in 2007. Review your unbranded sites to ensure they are worthy of a physician’s recommendation. If not, adjust accordingly.

  6. Connect patients directly to your brand site

    Provide informational links to your branded sites within a "treatment options" section of your unbranded site. Also, once your branded site is established as a patient and physician resource, include links to your unbranded site for patients to research additional information. Often marketers are reluctant to bring patients "away" from a branded site. But promoting this two-way communication between sites will help your search rankings and provide a broader base of value to your audience.

Is Unbranded a Good Strategy for Your Brand?

To help with this decision, consider your overall marketing strategy. Unbranded may be a great strategy if your product is:

  • Best-selling in its indication category
  • First-to-market
  • The sole treatment available
  • Part of a large portfolio of products from the same manufacturer
  • A product in a small, niche disease state in which there is currently not a lot of information available

In today’s marketing environment, there is increasingly greater scrutiny on branded campaigns by the FDA. With these considerations in mind, your best untapped channels for connecting with consumers may be an unbranded campaign.

Consider that unbranded campaigns:

  • Are perceived by many consumers as more credible than some branded efforts
  • Perform well in search engine results
  • Can support adjunct public awareness campaigns
  • Are guided by fewer constraints than branded and therefore may be easier to get through medical/legal/regulatory review processes

Especially if you’re one of the few players in a disease category, unbranded strategies may be a great supporting tactic to help you reach a larger audience and gain new and loyal patients. The digital channel enables marketers to be where their customers are, when they are seeking the information. Using a mix of both branded and unbranded strategies online can maximize ROI for your brand.

If you’d like us to help you create effective branded and/or unbranded campaigns, or would like to see some examples of our work, contact your Intouch Solutions representative, or email


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