Among the keys to a successful global launch: Achieving world peace

by Shelley Weiss Miller, VP, Group Account Director

Launching a global rare disease brand is exciting, as well as uniquely challenging at times. Chief among these challenges is the need to service multiple stakeholders in varying markets around the globe. That’s why maintaining a level of diplomacy when involving team members from different countries is paramount to ensuring success. At Dudnyk, we’ve partnered closely with clients to navigate global launches in the rare disease space. Here are some lessons learned from our experiences.


Prelaunch: Not all countries have the same disease awareness needs

As companies are shaping the market for an upcoming launch, it’s important to keep in mind that needs can vary greatly by region. For example, awareness of a hereditary condition can be minimal in some countries. Other countries, on the other hand, may have greater awareness of the disease if it is endemic in their area.

Other factors to consider are the differences in competitive markets. If competitive drugs are available when you plan to launch your disease awareness campaign, the heavy lifting of market shaping may have already been done, so a lighter touch may be needed in these regions than in those in which no competitors exist.

Keep in mind that cultural differences can also affect the way a disease awareness campaign is perceived in the market. Some regions may be more accepting of hereditary illness than others. In some cultures, people may even be reluctant to admit to having a hereditary disease. Therefore, even with the availability of genetic testing for confirming a diagnosis, it may be even more challenging than it is normally to find patients with a rare disease.

Other ways in which cultural differences can affect a global campaign may show up in the creation of the artwork and messaging. Certain cultures may prefer one photographic style over another. For example, some countries find the use of a patient looking directly at the reader as too personal. And of course, from a messaging standpoint, nuances in languages and connotation must be considered at the local level.

When facing these differences in cultures and markets, it helps if all regions can agree on a unifying communication strategy before developing campaign concepts. The key is to land on a singular idea you want to get across that works to shape all markets for your upcoming brand launch. Once all regions agree on that strategy, it will be easier to agree on global market shaping campaign concepts to take into market research across multiple countries.  Part of the communication strategy should also include the key message pillars for the campaign. What are the 3 to 4 key messages that resonate across all markets? Once they’ve been established, the emphasis on specific message pillars can vary based on the individual region’s needs.


At Launch: Agreement on global product positioning leads to a brand that resonates everywhere

Although it is not mandatory, having a global brand that works across all regions allows for greater awareness and adoption and minimizes confusion across markets. However, getting to one consistent global campaign can be challenging when different countries want to pursue different aspects of the brand to meet their own needs—especially when each region has its own goals for product utilization and sales.

As with the market shaping campaign, the key is to agree on a strategy that works across all regions. Consistent brand imagery and messages are vital to the success of a global campaign, but what do you do if the approved label is different in certain markets? Some markets may have approved labels that allow for stronger messages. Other markets, however, may be dealing with labeling that is more restrictive.  Look to create consistent global message pillars and then dial up brand attributes in those regions that allow you the most flexibility.

When developing a global brand strategy, it is important to include all regions in the strategy development process. Although the global brand team may be responsible for owning the strategy, all regions should have a seat at the table when reviewing draft strategies, message pillars, and campaign concepts. The logistics can get tricky when there are numerous stakeholders across multiple time zones, but including the regional leads in the strategic development process instead of simply sharing finished work for their approval will help to ensure a smoother approval process.


Post Launch: Collaboration across countries benefits patients worldwide

The most important factor in ensuring a successful global launch is that you become a champion for continuous communication across regions. For brand success it is just as critical for you to listen to the needs of those in other regions as it is to advocate for your own. Our clients who have achieved success have done this by placing patients at the forefront of every decision. By working together and listening, you can not only have a successful global launch in your country—but also find fulfillment in being able to help alleviate the disease burden on as many patients as possible around the world.

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