If you’ve seen the award-winning sitcom Seinfeld, you’ll know that before each episode, Jerry Seinfeld delivers a 30-second standup comedy routine on a topic related to that show’s storyline.
There’s one routine in particular, where he talks about medication.
Referring specifically to over-the-counter medication that you can buy at chemists, Jerry makes the observation that different remedies offer different solutions.
You see, some are fast-acting, while others are long-lasting.
Which, as Seinfeld observes, prompts the amusing question: when do you want to feel better, now or later?
It’s funny, but it demonstrates how brands choose to position themselves [and their products] differently.
He also describes the gormless, mouth-open pose of the stereotypical human shadow commonly drawn on medicinal packaging to show whereabouts on the body the medicine will help.
Jerry ponders whether this is how pharmaceutical companies view their customers – are we simple, stupid and desperate for any help we can get?
Ignoring the humour for a moment, this shows that even in a serious industry, branding is vital.
To put it bluntly, your brand image and your chosen USP will drives sales.
Let’s look at painkillers, for instance.
Those with a scientific background [or a very honest local chemist] will know that there’s no difference between the active ingredient in a Nurofen tablet and that in an unbranded tablet that you can buy at any supermarket.
The only difference between them is the price.
A product like Nurofen can cost almost 10 times as much as its plainer counterpart, but that doesn’t put the majority of people off.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
People often pay more for brands they trust [regardless of whether that trust is misplaced].
With painkillers, extensive research studies have shown that people actually report less pain with the branded medicine because of the placebo effect.[The placebo effect is where someone can experience a measurable improvement in their health that can’t be attributed to a drug substance].
That’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?
Not only will the right brand image and style dictate profits; it can even have a physical effect on customers!
That’s real power.
It feels unimaginable, right?
So, how do brands like Nurofen achieve all this?
Well, along with the science of actually making the tablets, pharmaceutical companies consider and address plenty of other details too, such as:
- The colour and shape of the tablets
- The words on the packaging
- The demographic the medicine is aimed at
- Which marketing tactics to employ
Basically, they cover a multitude of different factors; factors that help to strengthen brand identity.