Pharma Brand Managers Brilliance: Assessing Through the Lens of KRAs

Written By: Vivek Hattangadi

Tomorrow when you lead your organization either as the CMO or CEO and you need to adjudge your brand managers’ brilliance, how will you do it? Have you given it a thought?

Can I help you with this?

First, think over the current confusion. What is that?  

Brand Manager or Product Manager?

In pharma Bangladesh and India, there are misperceptions in the nomenclature of ‘Product Manager’ and ‘Brand Manager’. Amazingly, both these terms are correct, and both are wrong. 

Am I crazy to say this? Now you be the judge. 

While, on the surface, they seem to share similar tasks, these are vastly different in the pharma industry. 

To start, without a product, there is nothing to brand! And if it is not branded, what is the value of that product? Right? 

Nevertheless, in brief, to distinguish between the two, branding is all about the image of a product (or a corporate). It is giving the brand a personality, and developing relations with doctors, patients, and often caregivers. Brand Management is mostly associated with elements such as the brand name, its STP, its packaging, communication, and messaging. 

And what about product management? Product managers have a focus on the product’s design and its features. He has to think about how will it fit in the marketplace. He has to stay on top of development. 

Now that you know these nuances, you will know how to adjudge a brand manager’s performance in Bangladesh and India. 

But before that, get clarity on their roles and responsibilities through their Key Result Areas (KRAs).

Ready to get started? 

KRAs are the critical areas of responsibility that a brand manager needs to focus on to achieve her goals and contribute to the success of the brand. Here are the 14 KRAs which can later be customized for your organization (and if you need help, I am always here). 

  1. Brand Marketing Strategy: Develop and execute comprehensive brand strategies for the company’s brands to ensure their successful launch, growth, and sustained market presence. This includes conducting market research, analyzing doctors’ insights, and positioning the products effectively.

An important point! Craft local strategies in collaboration with the first-line sales managers. 

  1. Brand Management: Oversee brand development and management of brands, ensuring consistent positioning, positioning messages, and visual identity across all promotional materials and channels. 
  2. Sales Support: Collaborate with the sales team, the first-line sales managers in particular, to provide them with the necessary marketing materials, technical information of the brand, and training to help them achieve their brand’s vision and goals. And of course, engage them in crafting brand strategies. 
  3. Brand Plan: To consistently follow the eight steps in the brand plan and review it regularly. The most important is developing a brand vision from the insights gathered. 
  4. Brand Document: Spend time creating a Brand Document. Document your thoughts for your successor, so that it is easy to understand and follow.  Do not be ambiguous or superficial.  
  5. Compressive Data Analysis: Marry data from sales audit (like IQVIA, AWACS), prescription audit (from CMarc, SMSRC, 4P), internal MIS, and RCPA to draw inferences to strategize. Use this information to craft marketing strategies and tactics to stay ahead in the competitive landscape. 
  6. Regulatory Compliance: Ensure all branding activities comply with your country’s relevant laws, regulations, and industry guidelines, particularly the impending UCPMP on India. 
  7. Budget Management: Develop and manage the brand budgets, using the principles of Zero Budgeting, effectively, ensuring that resources are allocated appropriately to achieve maximise ROI. 
  8. Key Opinion Leader (KOL) Management: Build and maintain relationships with key opinion leaders, doctors, and other stakeholders to gain support and endorsement for pharmaceutical products.
  9. Brand Launches: Plan and execute successful new product launches, coordinating with various departments like production, QA/QC, supply chain, finance, and HR to ensure a smooth and impactful introduction. 
  10. Marketing Performance Management: Define and track key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing initiatives and campaigns. Use data-driven insights to optimize future strategies. 
  11. Collaboration with Cross-Functional Teams: Work closely with other departments such as R&D, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, and sales to align branding activities with overall business goals.
  12. Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning (STP): Identify and segment target doctors based on their needs, their characteristics, tailoring branding efforts to address their specific requirements. 
  13. Leading Without a Title. She has to lead the sales team without a title, without authority, without power. Only then the implementation of strategies will be of a high level. 

Do these 14 KRAs look good? 

If yes, shall we look at the assessment parameters for a brand manager? If not, please write to me straightaway!

1)  Brand Growth: Measure the managers ability to drive prescription (Rx) growth for their brands, the Rx share, and the Rx ranking in the segment vs. the goals taken in the brand plan.

2)  Analytical Skills: Asses her ability to analyze data from prescription audit and translate these into strategies, tactics and while doing the STP. 

3)  Comprehensive Data Analysis: Can the brand manager effectively marry data from all the relevant data points like sales audit, prescription audit, MIS, and the RCPA to generate new ideas in building brands? 

4)  The Brand Plan: Has she been living up to her brand plan and reviewing it regularly? Is there a variation in that? What is the progress of the brand? 

5)  Marketing Strategy: Assess the brand managers strategic thinking and their ability to develop and implement effective brand plans. These can be visible both in the brand plan and the manner in which these plans are being executed. 

6)  Brand Awareness: Measure the brand manager’s efforts in increasing brand awareness and brand recognition among targeted doctors. This can be measured through comprehensive data analysis. 

7)  Customer Relationship Management: Examine her approach to building and supporting strong relationships with the Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), Key Business Leaders (KBLs), and Digital Influencers (DIs) in the doctor’s only social media fora. 

8)  Budget Management: Guage how effectively she manages the marketing budget and allocates resources for maximum impact. 

9)  Cross-Functional Collaboration: Appraise the brand managers ability to collaborate with other departments, such as sales, R&D, F&D, medical affairs, legal affairs, and regulatory affairs, to ensure successful new product launches and campaigns. 

10) Emotional Quotient (EQ): Determine the brand managers EQ for effective team leadership and cross-functional collaboration which is so important for driving teams. This can be done not only by observing behavior but also by using EQ Tests. 

11) Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning (STP): Evaluate the brand managers STP skills which are loudly visible in the marketing plan and during brainstorming meetings. 

12) Competitive Analysis: Assess the brand managers understanding of competitors’ strategies and how they position the company’s products against the competition. 

13) Brand Life Cycle Management: Analyze the brand managers effectiveness in managing the branding aspects of throughout the life cycle of the brand me measuring it against the life cycle of the generic product. Assess how she is managing those brands when they are tending to go into the decline stage when the category is still in the growth/maturity stage. 

14) Crisis Management: Judge the brand managers performance in handling marketing-related crises or challenges, how well she assesses the situation, and how well he coordinates with the PR if the crisis is public. 

That about wrapped up my thoughts on KRAs and brand managers assessment. 

Now it’s over to you. 

What do you feel about these 14 KRAs and the 14 parameters to assess a brand manager? If you don’t see eye-to-eye on any of these, please write to me now, instantly. I am still a learner and am keen to hear more from you. 

Or is there any ambiguity that you would like to clear? 

Or do you want to add more to these 14? You are welcome to send your suggestions! 

Write to me on my LinkedIn or Facebook messenger. 

Thank you!

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