We provide strategic marketing consulting & training to companies operating in the Personal Care / Pharma sector, helping launch & build brands, switch brands from Rx to OTC, or resolving specific business challenges at a local, European or Global level.
Our core strength is in Self-care, which we define as the choices and behaviour changes people make to manage their own and their family’s health and wellbeing. It’s a broad definition of healthcare that includes, for example:
Over the counter medicines
Patient centered Pharma brands
e-cigarettes & vaping devices
Apart from marketing expertise, we have a deep understanding of how consumers behave when managing their health and wellbeing, who influences them and how to navigate the regulatory environment.
What you get is a well-considered response to your issue, based on considerable client-side experience. We believe strongly that a strategy is only useful if it is rooted in reality and can be executed in practice. Therefore you get creativity balanced with pragmatism – it’s the only way to drive sustainable growth.
SWITCH STRATEGY IN EUROPE
Context & challenge
A leading multinational Consumer Healthcare company was in the final stages of switching an allergy brand from Rx to OTC in the US. The lean Global Team was quite rightly focused on the US switch and launch. But the asset had been transferred globally from the Pharma to the Consumer Healthcare division and there was an expectation to switch in all markets.
Sponsored by the EMEA President, the challenge was to define a switch strategy for Europe, bearing in mind the very different regulatory & market context, gaining alignment with the local European Marketing Directors / GMs and ensuring the strategy and deliverables from the Global Category Team were fit for purpose in a European context.
What we did
Market data analysis, desk research and engagement with the local markets (Marketing and Regulatory Affairs) we created a ‘dashboard’ for each market, including OTC vs. Rx market dynamics, competitive analysis and regulatory / reimbursement status. Using this as an input, a face-to-face workshop was held, involving: EMEA Area Marketing Directors; the Project Lead from the Global Category Team; representation from regional Regulatory Affairs.
The outcome was an agreed strategic profiling of European markets, with alternative strategies for each market cluster. Benefits were: a clear, executable strategy based on market realities (with buy-in from key stakeholders; a clear understanding of the opportunity, strategy and issues from the Area Marketing Directors; a much improved understanding from the US based Global Category Team of the European switch paradigm and local strategic requirements. Subsequent dialogue with the Global Category Team ensured that strategies and launch deliverables were aligned with the European context and requirements.
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY STRATEGY
Context & Challenge
A top 10 global Pharma company had a commitment to and myriad examples of Corporate Responsibility activities. These projects were initiated from a variety of sources, some from the very top, many from within the business. CR reporting was done retrospectively, focused on achievements in the previous year; the structure of the report varied from year to year. Within the business, understanding of what constitutes Corporate Responsibility was highly variable.
The newly appointed VP of Corporate Responsibility aspired to move the company on to the next level. The challenge was therefore to create an overarching strategic framework that would:
- Create a common internal understanding of what Corporate Responsibility is
- Set the strategic direction, long-term ambition and long term quantifiable goals against which progress would be regularly reported
- Enable communication the approach in a compelling and consistent way
- Inspire people, both within and outside the company
The process devised for this project was as follows:
- Create a draft architecture that encompassed and sorted all current CR projects, across the breadth of the business
- Create a stakeholder map to ensure appropriate engagement & buy-in was achieved
- Run a series of workshops with key stakeholders to iterate and optimise the architecture
- Run a second series of workshops, each addressing a specific branch of the architecture, with senior stakeholders, to develop a set of forward looking goals and under-pinning objectives.
- Assign sponsors (CET members) & owners within the business for each of the CR goals
- Follow-up with goal owners to finesse & sign-off their goal and underpinning objectives, ensuring that each objective had an owner who had co-created and signed-off the objective.
- Gain sign-off by each of the sponsors, prior to submission to the CET for final approval.
Following extensive stakeholder management, from CET level down to CR Objective owners within the business, a CR architecture was approved, which now drives the structure of annual CR reports. Forward looking goals were agreed, approved and publicised for each of the main branches of the architecture.
Regional Strategic Planning
Context & Challenge
Mark Dickinson undertook an interim management role, covering the EMEA Marketing Director’s role for a leading global Consumer Healthcare company, reporting to the Regional President.
The task was, in partnership with the Regional Finance Director, to lead the preparation of the annual regional strategic plan. Also, to prepare the associated presentation to Senior Management in order to communicate the commercial realities of the region and to secure a realistic and achievable plan.
What we did
Mark worked closely with the Regional Finance Director and the Regional Leadership Team to allocate responsibility for key sections of the plan and agree a timetable.
Mark was specifically responsible for the overall story flow of the presentation and creating the content for the regional category and brand analysis. Working closely with the Global Analytics Team, a clear and compelling visualization of the performance of key categories and brands, across the geographical areas was developed. This highlighted strengths, weaknesses, underlying reasons and strategic investment priorities.
Inputs for various sections of the plan were collated from other Leadership Team members and incorporated in the key documents. After a couple of reviews with the Regional President and Regional Finance VP, the presentation and associated documents were good to go.
The presentation of the plan to senior management was successful in communicating the realities and challenges of the region. The strategic priorities were agreed, as was a stretching but achievable financial plan.
Strategic Rx / Cx collaboration
Context & Challenge
A global top 10 Pharma company had embarked on a major project, initiated by the CEO, to explicitly capture more synergies between the Pharma (Rx) and Consumer Healthcare (Cx) arms of the business. A small, cross-sector global team had been established, key initiatives identified and kicked off, but acceptance and momentum within the business remained a challenge.
In an interim management capacity, Mark Dickinson lead one of the workstreams on the global team, specifically charged with agreeing metrics and working with the Consumer Healthcare and Pharma project leads.
What we did
In a highly matrixed and political environment, an extremely collaborative and persuasive approach was required, with the Rx and Cx workstream leads formally owning strategy development.
It quickly became apparent that getting one version of the truth in terms of in-market project activation was a challenge. Team structures and processes were adjusted to ensure consistent information capture and communication, across, up and down the organisations.
Through a series of workshops and meetings, measurable KPIs metrics were identified and agreed by the various stakeholders.
Despite significant political tensions, good relationships were built with key stakeholders. KPIs and consistent metrics were agreed; key strategies and plans were shaped and developed, consistent with the global team requirements, while ensuring ownership by the sector project leads.
Charity corporate re-branding
NB – this project was conducted by Mark Dickinson while working at GSK. He participated in their ‘Pulse Programme’, whereby employees are sponsored to work with charities for 6 months.
Context & Challenge
A 50-year old global African healthcare development charity was embarking on a journey to transform itself from a loose, highly decentralised federation of local organisation with fragmented branding and positioning, to a unified, truly global organisation with shared corporate identity, branding, strategy and plan. The company name was well known in many African countries in which programmes are implemented, but brand awareness and equity in most fundraising countries in Europe and N America was extremely low. Local office CEOs were politically powerful, running organisations with quite different brand positionings, strategies and ways of working.
The project was to establish a globally agreed corporate identity and brand that would permeate all aspects of the organisation’s strategy, culture and communications.
Mark first assembled a project team with senior level participation, including the most politically powerful. The team deliberately had a highly respected and politically neutral leader & strong sponsorship from the Director General.
The project was broken into 2 clear and distinct steps:
- Corporate identity development.
It was important to develop and gain complete buy-in / sign-off to a global corporate identity before considering all the implications.
With complete endorsement of the corporate identity, we cold now develop an implication plan, including a review of the name and brand logo
Pro-bono support was secured from a major global advertising agency (a planner and some design resource) and in partnership, we ran their brand positioning development process via a workshop with the project team. This generated a powerful corporate identity statement with unanimous buy-in and support.
Extensive stakeholder management work was then done, socialising the outcome across the organisation prior to presenting for approval to the relevant board sub-committees, Leadership Team and Global Board.
Work was then done with the agency and the project team to develop a plan for implementation of the new corporate identity, including reviewing the name and brand logo. Needless to say, this was politically highly contentious, but absolutely necessary. Once again, this required extensive stakeholder management and negotiation to achieve global alignment.
Complete approval of the corporate identity was achieved up to Board level, permitting progression to the implementation phase. Agreement was achieved to evolve the name and logo, with a transition plan agreed for countries that had historically followed a different strategy.