Creating Persona’s in Pharma Branding: Part 1 – Brand persona

Shreeja is the senior brand manager in V & V Pharmaceuticals, one of the top 10 companies in India.  V & V intends to launch a new product, a PPI (Brand name Vivipraz and the generic component is stomaprazole – fictitious). Vivipraz is the 16th brand of stomaprazole, but Shreeja is very ambitious. She wants to make Vivipraz a top brand in the PPI category, not just in the stomaprazole category.

Shreeja thinks deeply, and finds that there is hardly anything which can separate Vivipraz from the thousand or more brands of all the PPI’s like omeprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole and many more variants of these.

“Very challenging,” she says to herself, “with so little differentiation, I think I need to a create a brand which is distinct. But how do I do that?”

She approaches her mentor Prof. Anilkumar. “Create a brand persona as they do in the FMCG industry, but that would require a lot of homework and even travel,” he said.  

Prof. Anilkumar smiled and said: “Let me repeat, you will have to travel for at least 28 days and meet doctors before you actually start preparing the brand persona for Vivipraz”.

“I am ready for that,” was the spontaneous response from Shreeja.

“So first let us understand what brand persona is,” said Prof. Anilkumar.

“A brand persona is a detailed avatar that stands in for an idea or abstract data.  It is a composite of personality traits, attitudes and values that your Brand Vivipraz needs to showcases consistently. A persona doesn’t have to be a person. A brand persona can be an object, an image, an animal, or a cartoonish version of your brand. It can even be a person, character, mascot or an idea.”

“A brand persona should give your segmented doctors a face to latch onto, and give a crystal-clear impression of your Brand Vivipraz.

“Here are some buckets into which Brand Vivipraz persona can fit and these are based on human behavior and traits.A caregiver persona

This nurturing brand persona is like a mother, empathetic, loving, and kind. This brand persona has patience and is compassionate. You may even name your brand in your promos as “Mother Vivipraz”.

  • A competent persona

Who could this competent persona be? Think of such a person and then create a persona like her. You can paint Vivipraz as one who is effective and delivers results on time. Is supportive and helpful when you are in trouble.  What kind of name would you like to give this competent person? How about “Sir Vivipraz, or Ma’am Vivipraz”, the prefix standing for some competent boss, teacher or may be someone who reports to you?

  • A spirited persona

Such a person is energetic, enthusiastic and gutsy. Always wanting to win! Doesn’t such a persona remind you of one of the greatest cricket captains we had, Saurav Ganguly? How about giving it a name “Capt. Vivipraz” in your promotions?

  • A rugged persona

A rugged person is one who is strong and determined. This person has the ability to cope with difficult situations. Such a person is also uncompromising, decisive, firm, and tough. Do you recall the MRF Muscleman logo? And why MRF Tyres are so popular and loved by truck fleet owners? MRF Tyres may not be popular for delicate vehicle owners like those owning a Maruti Alto K-10 or a Hyundai i10. But this is not the segment it wants to be. Thinking of a name if you develop such a persona? Do consider “Tough Vivipraz”.

  • A sophisticated persona

Think of a sophisticated lady. She is a fantastic conversationalist. She engages and listens intently to others. She is cultured, refined and also socially important. Two such ladies come to my mind instantly: Maharani Gayatri Devi and Princess Diana. Would “Princess Vivipraz” be a good name?

  • A sincere persona

Have you ever walked away from a webinar or a conversation with someone feeling like everything they said was rehearsed and insincere? Just as a human being cannot fake sincerity, so also a brand. And two such personalities from India who come to my mind immediately are Dr. Homi Bhabha and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. What will you christen this persona? “Earnest Vivipraz”?

  • A desirable persona

Just as the highly desirable persons are real and do not hide behind a façade, so does a ‘desirable brand’. It does not mask anything. A desirable person can charm, influence and attract those around her. She also exudes confidence and energy. Would “Charismatic Vivipraz” be a good name for such a brand persona?

Use your creativity and imagination. Freely adapt ideas from outside the pharma industry but make sure you aren’t plagiarizing.  What’s the difference between the two? Many aren’t clear on the nuances of plagiarism and adaptation. Plagiarism is the act of taking something that someone has made and taking credit for it. Adaptation is taking the original work as a major guideline and putting your own twists into it. And overall weave the story on your own,” concluded Prof. Anilkumar

“Wow,” Shreeja almost screamed, “I will create the right persona for Vivipraz after my research during fieldwork. Now I fully understand and appreciate what you said on 28-day fieldwork before I launch a new product.”

“Good Shreeja. But one last question for today. Out of the many possible personas that could belong to your Brand Vivipraz, how do you choose the right one?  When we meet next, we shall talk about ‘doctor or prescriber persona’ and see how a match between the two can help you to make Vivipraz an eternal brand”.

Written by:

Vivek Hattangadi – Chief Mentor at
PharmaState & The Enablers

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