Aligning SWOT-AP for a Brand Strategy


This blog is written for particularly those who are participating in the SWOT-AP contest on the occasion of the “WORLD PHARMA BRAND MANAGERS DAY – 2022”. The examples in this blog maybe be for a brand or for a corporate and are only illustrative examples for your easy comprehension. But in the contest, you have to do it for Bangladesh pharma or the Indian pharma depending on whether you are a resident of Bangladesh or India.

So what are you waiting for and go ahead?

My thoughts on SWOT-AP

SWOT-AP Analysis should not be misused as a stand-alone tool. You generally see the strengths and weaknesses associated with your brand. Often, the opportunities and threats associated with competing brands are also seen. You may also include the doctor’s views of your brand or the product / the generic. 

In your evolving market, patients are as important as doctors. Value and service are now as important as technical advancement and clinical efficacy. Do not fail to see the critical factors for success. SWOT-AP is a tool for simplifying the complexity of the market. This is very important in pharma.

While doing the SWOT-AP, validate the strengths and weaknesses. They shouldn’t be as you perceive it. Non-validated strengths and weaknesses could confuse you.

While doing your SWOT-AP, find the association between your brand/company/country and the external environment. Align the strengths to opportunities and weaknesses to threats. This shouldn’t be mechanical. This should be done through a careful thought process, involving analytical and critical thinking. This is an activity using your skills and thinking to do it effectively. Follow the four steps suggested.

Step 1What are our strengths and weaknesses? Organize the strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths are the internal factors that have positive implications and have been validated by you.

Weaknesses are the internal factors that have negative implications and of course, have been validated by you.



  1. Once-a-day posology improves patient compliance
  2. (Say for a company like Cipla) Our corporate branding and long-standing reputation in respiratory diseases gives us access and share of attention to KOLs


  1. Your culture, your infrastructure and your passion for US-FDA & UK-MHRA recognition, makes your brand significantly high-priced than competitors.
  2. Some of your FDC’s are perceived negatively by doctors who have done their post-graduation from PGI-Chandigarh, NIMHANS-Bangalore or SG-PGI-Lucknow.

Step 2 – What are our opportunists and threats aligned to the above strengths and weaknesses?

Gather all your opportunities and threats you have identified. Opportunities are the external factors that have a positive implication on your strengths and have been validated. Threats are external factors that have negative implications and have been validated.

Opportunities and threats are typically the implications of competitive activity or maybe the emerging properties like the Product Life Cycle.


  1. There is a big segment related to the circumstances where patient outcome is the principal motivation need.
  2. The major competitor (say for Cipla’s competitor) reduction in the size of the sales force and refocusing it elsewhere has left an influence vacuum amongst the cautious followers of the competitor.


  1. Political issues are creating a contextual segment in which preference is determined almost entirely on price, without consideration of the wider issues of value.
  2. The strategy of competitors is to strengthen their presence in institutes like PGI-Chandigarh, NIMHANS-Bangalore, SG-PGI-Lucknow or those who have post-graduated from these institutes.  

Step 3 – Now align the strengths and weaknesses gathered together in Step 1 with the opportunities and threats you have gathered in Step 2.

Now your strengths enable the exploitation of some market opportunities. Threats cause an exacerbation of some weaknesses.

Step 4 – What are the important factors of success that you can infer from these alignments?

Draw meaning from these alignments which you have identified. Now the alignment of SWOT is complete.

Based on this prepare your time-bound action plan. This is your SWOT-AP

So hurry up and submit before 24th December 2021. You have done a SWOT-Analysis earlier and understand it. But what do I generally do? I start on the premise: “I know nothing”, and start afresh once again.

Download the SWOT-AP Competition Document Here.

Written by:

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Vivek Hattangadi – Chief Mentor at
PharmaState & The Enablers

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