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Driving Brand Awareness, Recall and Perception in a Digital-First World: A Brand Manager’s Perspective

This exclusively narrated inside story is based on a freewheeling conversation between Business Connect and a phenomenal Brand Manager of Hidoc Dr.- Varun Gadia. Hidoc Dr. is an integrated medical learning app for doctors that has been making strides in ameliorating the present scenario across the medical space.  It was an absolute delight hosting him at our virtual meet where he shared some intriguing insights into the industry and we got some ‘food for thought’ to ponder over. Hence, without any twists or turns, let’s dive into the pool of profoundness.

Business Connect- How are Brands driving awareness today on Digital Platforms towards Doctors?
Varun Gadia- If you believe that solely relying on digital solutions will guarantee you considerable success, then you need to be enlightened about the present scenario. Via this discussion, we will share some handy insights into this subject. We all know that since the fatal waves of the covid-19 crisis hit the country, the pharma companies were completely stranded, including the hospitals.

The major and sole business driver for such service providers was a doctor! But amid the strict nationwide lockdown, when meeting a doctor was almost impossible for commonalities, driving sales seemed like an infeasible task for the pharma players.

Hence, many pharmaceuticals or related service providers started approaching Hidoc Dr.- a credible doctor networking platform. Our platform has the highest doctor accessibility i.e. 8.1 lakh with more than 5.6 lakh active users in India.

Owing to the credibility of Hidoc Dr. with the association of NHA, many brands started showcasing their infographics related to their brands and medicinal molecules accompanied with their articles, case presentations, etc, to be in constant touch with the medical practitioners to drive better prospects to their sales pursuits.

Business Connect- Is the level of Digital adoption different for different specializations or the same across all specializations?
Varun Gadia- An intriguing question indeed! What does digital adoption mean? Today, we can see that doctors or medical practitioners are unfalteringly interacting with their respective patients over WhatsApp, isn’t it? No doubt, this “WhatsApp digital adoption” has been heavily successful, but we cannot say the same for digital adoption at the ground level. All the millennial doctors( ageing between 25- 40) consider digital adoption as an everyday function, ergo reach out to platforms like Hidoc Dr. with which the exclusive presentations allow them to get second opinions while handling special cases.

If they like a tool, they use it incessantly and accordingly. Notably, a significant behaviour change happens after the age of 40 only. Any specialist medical practitioner uses a platform like Hidoc Dr. occasionally as different age groups have different priorities. Hence, marketing your services to General Practitioners or Certified Practitioners, using digital is a ‘no-brainer’ at all.  However, to create an effective and complex campaign specially curated for specialist doctors, one should reach out to Hidoc Dr’s associates to be benefited from customized solutions.

Business Connect- What are the key parameters for success to understand whether awareness exists for a Brand?
Varun Gadia- A good question! If you look at brand awareness, then the most important parameter to recognize is whether a doctor knows about the brand or not? Even if he does, how do we evaluate the amount of knowledge he possesses that respective brand? Let’s say you have advertised your services to general practitioners in India via email campaigning, text messages, app advertisements at the PAN India level. Here, one can run a simple survey question asking whether one has heard of a particular brand or not.

To conduct a successful campaign as per the targeted market’s need, one should run a survey whether there is an increase or decrease in awareness. Yet another point is whether communication resonates with them or not. Even if you just ask them some integral questions related to the molecular formulation of the brand’s product, it would help you to acknowledge whether one has a deeper level of understanding of a brand or not, determining the success of a campaign.

Business Connect- What is a Brand Recall? Why is it important?
Varun Gadia- Hidoc Dr. advertises its customized ads to the doctors three days a week where it induces effective brand recall that would be able to increase the likelihood of the doctors prescribing that particular brand substantially. After all, ‘out of sight goes out of mind’ and equally brand recall is instrumental in keeping a brand on the top of your mind.

Business Connect- Does brand recall increase the likelihood of a prescription at the time of a doctor writing a prescription?
Varun Gadia- As previously asserted, brand recall is an imperative aspect of increasing the likelihood of the prescription. Just consider a situation, there are three different paracetamols in the market, out of which two brands stopped advertising their services to the doctors over the year. Needless to say, that the doctor who is in continuous touch with the third pharma brand via marketing techniques will preferably prescribe it to his patients.

The greater number of prescriptions are undeniably just a play of better brand recalling techniques. This could be accelerated by utilizing various content formats such as podcasts, quizzes, services, etc, to facilitate a better understanding of a brand.

Business Connect-  What is the optimal frequency of an advertisement to improve Brand Recall?
Varun Gadia- We call this a ‘two-part’ process. Two types of molecules in the pharma space are as follows-  Newmolecule (formulated within the past three years) and legacy molecule (formulated five years ago). If your brand is into a new molecule stage then you wouldn’t want a consistent or constant impression delivery, rather prefer a short burst of delivery with a high frequency at a short period.

On the other hand, the legacy market says that bombarding any doctor will irritate him as he already knows about it. So, for legacy molecules, rather than increasing awareness, the crisp content with less frequency will drive a better prescription rate.

Business Connect- What ad works best to have a maximum recall?
Varun Gadia- It varies from brand to brand as sometimes a doctor’s schedule has to be considered in this light. For multiple super-specialists, high-quality scenic videos with educational content from key opinion leaders will do the thing. Exhaustive journal published articles that you could do an abstract of or republish those articles on the platform is also quite persuasive.

Also, podcasts from influential industry leaders will be more effective or high-quality infographics will teach them about something out-of-the-box in their specific field, grabbing their eyeballs. For GPs, educational content won’t do anything. Hence, fun-filled content comprising quizzes, Qas or promotional content can do the job.

Business Connect- How to differentiate recall between a Branded Generic and Patented drug?
Varun Gadia- About 95% of India’s drug is generic, whereas 5 % of the drug is patented. We know that patented drugs  are known for self-marketing as they are considered the best-in-class offering. Self-sustaining and self-selling is how we can quote the patented drugs.

Contrarily, the generic drug is competitive and finds it hard to differentiate from its peers- asking for strenuous efforts to ensure an influential recall! Recall drives awareness and awareness drives the prescription by the doctor. Hence, the mass impression that is available to the doctors by constant notifications establishes a subtle and lucrative communication for both ends, scaling growth for generic drugs.

Business Connect- Perception change in an HCP – is it possible digitally?
Varun Gadia- Of course! I would say digital reliance is a credible way after medical conferences to stimulate any change in the perception. Though it is a slow process, one can easily evaluate it and one can have a defined group of doctors to drive it. The first step here is to ensure impressive brand visibility but to drive it, a persistent campaign in different content formats should be dispensed across the doctor community to let them know the exemplary impact of the brand. This can drive a major change in perception affirmatively.

Business Connect- Can you highlight a case study for a perception change in a Digital campaign?
Varun Gadia- I would like to quote an example of one of the most famous and efficacious campaigns. There was a molecule to treat ‘Urticaria’ and targeting it, there were two major competitive drug companies who were equally reputed in terms of their sales drive. We got the campaign of a market leader who was primarily striving to increase the number of prescribers for its particular brand.

After running an influential survey, we got to know that brand awareness was very good and after segmenting the responses, we got to know that between the age group of 26 to 40- the perception towards the molecule was quite amazing. Thereby, we created an exclusive campaign where we had a detailed microsite with testimonials in the form of CME videos along with researched and published articles and a few industry-specific podcasts.

Similar approaches have been able to create around 8% of the perception shift in this direction. Now with a significant increase in the number of young doctors, driving brand awareness among this age group can make a huge difference in terms of the growth of any company.

With Hidoc Dr., Varun Gadia aspires to make this Doctor Networking Platform (DNP) an absolute solution to ameliorate the present scenario of the medical systems. His insights mentioned above perfectly assert the significance of brand awareness, brand recall and brand perception in this digital-first world that will drive more clientele to consider the need of the relevant solutions- generating better business leads.

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