corporate reputation

Focus on Corporate Reputation To Make a Difference in Biopharma

Years ago, when I worked on a communications campaign for a cardiovascular product, I advised the team to include a few points about the company to support the product-specific messages. The team pushed back, saying they wanted to focus on the product brand, and did not see the value of diluting their efforts with corporate messages.

After much discussion, I convinced the team that linking the company’s reputation with the product would only strengthen the overall messaging. At the time, this recommendation came from the gut. But now, a recent survey shows that corporate reputation and branding play a significant role in influencing decision-making among healthcare providers (HCPs). 

Corporate Reputation Matters — A Lot

The results from a recent global survey of healthcare professionals support the importance of corporate reputation for biopharmaceutical companies. The survey found that, outside of a medicine’s efficacy and safety profile, a company’s overall reputation was the most important factor influencing their decision to prescribe or recommend the medicine. The second most important factor was a company’s reputation in the relevant health condition.

“Strong corporate reputation sends a clear message to HCPs that they’re delivering quality medicines, putting patients over profit, and aligning themselves with a company that people respect.”

Healthy Reputation: More Than Medicine

The survey, conducted by WE Communications, included responses from more than 1000 HCPs in six countries — Australia, China, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. Its focus was whether HCPs were influenced by the overall corporate brand, or were they primarily concerned with the efficacy and safety of individual medications and therapies.

Corporate Reputation
Image from here.

The survey also evaluated the characteristics HCPs wanted companies to embody. Patient centricity was the most important characteristic identified by HCPs, but only 45% of respondents believed biopharmaceutical companies were delivering this to a “great” or a “large” extent.

HCPs identified the following patient-centric proof points as those they want to see from companies:  offering patient support programs, improving understanding of complex health information, and demonstrating an understanding of the physical and emotional patient experience.

“It’s not enough to be patient centric, biotech and pharmaceutical companies must present healthcare professionals with concrete evidence that proves that patients are always at the center of their mission. HCPs’ concern for patient centricity is clearly evident in the way they prioritize patient-advocacy groups; nearly half (49%) said the relationship biotech and pharma companies have with these groups (and other health organizations they admire) was “very influential.”

Healthy Reputation: More Than Medicine

Building Credibility, Reliability, and Trustworthiness

Clearly, building and protecting a company’s credibility, reliability, and trustworthiness – all elements of corporate reputation – should be a priority. Here are some considerations:

  • Commit to ESG
  • Develop thought leadership programs
  • Support patient advocacy organizations
  • Educate the public about the science behind the medicines
  • Work with local/community patient groups and encourage employee volunteerism
  • Nurture employees as ambassadors

“Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you’re doing the right thing.”

John D. Rockefeller


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