Umbrella Branding in the Pharmaceutical Industry Customers trust results from a reliable identity, a brand that resonates with them. How can pharmace

3xBL Communications 110518 PPP newsletter banner 1

Umbrella Branding in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Customers trust results from a reliable identity, a brand that resonates with them. How can pharmaceutical companies build such an identity?

Representatives of both the private and public sectors have routinely abused low income populations around the world. As a result these populations have grown increasingly reluctant to grant their trust, especially to unknown organizations making hard to believe promises of better health at an affordable cost.

Looking at shelves 2

This is why a pharmaceutical company needs to establish itself in the community first, by building an identity, making it uniquely recognizable through branding, and patiently building its reputation over time with consistent, positively perceived actions and results. Consumer goods companies have known and applied this solution for decades, building strong product brands, such as Nescafé or Pepsi Cola, or even mega brands (umbrella brands) such as Haier, Samsung, Colgate or Hindustan Unilever.

"What if our prescription drugs cannot be advertised in this country..."

Restrictions on the direct advertisement of prescription drugs are not really an issue, as most pharmaceutical companies will want to sell a portfolio of products, not a single medicine. In this case, branding each drug individually would only dilute communication and confuse patients who can barely read and have no interest in memorizing abstract drug names or the whole set of instructions ("label") associated with them.


Through “umbrella branding” (as opposed to the branding of individual products), the organization will offer a set of health solutions alleviating important but unmet medical needs.

Obviously, such an approach should not be adopted as a way of quickly bypassing regulation, but rather as a genuine effort to build a sustainable social business for the long term, in accordance with "CSR 2.0" principles. Of course, this new business needs to be financially sustainable. However, the primary driver should be to create and implement real, holistic health solutions that solve public health problems. This clearly will involve more than merely selling medicines, and will require the creation of an ecosystem around the disease – facilitating screening and diagnosis of the condition, creating the logistics for the medicines and other products to be used, monitoring patient progress until the conclusion of the treatment (see previous newsletter).

"How do these programs relate to using a given medicine?"

Promoting good health cannot translate into the sale of prescription medicines, for ethical reasons and for compliance reasons. The umbrella brand must stand for activities related to awareness, education and screening, all stand-alone and benevolent. In this context, few restrictions (to be checked country by country, though) apply beyond ethics and common sense, to the use of the umbrella brand: the mega-branding process may involve adding a logo to the uniform of the health educators, to banners used at public presentations, to awareness flyers and educational posters. Such informational materials may also be used by healthcare professionals to support explanations to their patients.

Individual prescription brands should only be mentioned through medical detailing to healthcare professionals (physicians, pharmacists or others), conducted separately from the activities described above. In most cases, the medical representative will be allowed to point out that his or her company is also proud to promote good health in the region under its umbrella brand… and this is the only connection made!

Several reputed multinational pharmaceutical companies have started to use this approach in multiple countries. As always, 3xBL strongly recommends that companies closely involve their medical, legal, regulatory and compliance departments, starting at the very first steps of the design of such campaigns.

Listening inside

In future issues of the newsletter, we will look at other social benefits of deploying health awareness programs. Feel free to forward this issue of the People-Planet-Profit newsletter, but please include the source of your quote and the following email address:


Lucile Jarry


People-Planet-Profit is a publication of Imagiance LLC, a Limited Liability Company organized in 2005 in the state of New York, USA, and doing business as 3xBL. Views expressed here are intended solely for information purposes. Statements made by various authors, advertisers, sponsors and other contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Imagiance LLC and should not be construed as an endorsement by Imagiance LLC, either expressed or implied.. Ideas expressed or implied should not be construed in any way as an offer, an endorsement, or inducement to invest in any company or other entity mentioned, and reflect only the opinion of the authors. We believe the information contained herein to be accurate and reliable. However, errors may occasionally occur. Therefore, all information and materials are provided "AS IS" without any warranty of any kind. Suggestions, comments or requests for corrections should be sent to
Reproductions. If you would like to reproduce any of People-Planet-Profit newsletter, you must include the source of your quote and the following email address: Please write to and inform us of any reproductions, including where and when the copy will be reproduced. We encourage readers to review our complete legal and privacy statements on our website
© 2011 3xBL, a division of Imagiance LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


blogger facebook linkedin twitter