An agency of record for a specialty brand can work for several months and sometimes longer before any tangible “creative” sees the light of the marketing day. Some question when to bring the creative team into the fold and how they should work in what is assumed to be a purely strategic and data-driven phase. Those are the moments when the instinctive reply should be, “Creatives are always involved in the process and are a crucial part of it.” If you aren’t saying or thinking that, you may need to reconsider your position.
Ensuring that a creative lens is applied to all aspects of a brand is the primary objective, no matter where a brand is in its lifecycle. Particularly in the world of specialty marketing, where a tremendous amount of time is spent mining the data and understanding the ever-changing dynamics in fast-paced, high-science categories, it is crucial to have a creative team engaged from the start. In these early stages of the process, beginning for example with the inception of positioning, through even a prelaunch market-shaping campaign, those necessary steps must be infused with creativity to make certain that the proper tone, language, and colors or images are used to convey a brand’s essence. How such creativity is woven into those less tangible aspects of promotion and marketing is a craft that strategists and creative folks work on together to produce an emotion for a brand in its fledgling stages—an emotion that will advance with the brand as it journeys from a single-minded thought in our target’s mind, to specific differentiating messages, and finally, as it motivates a change in behavior through engaging and memorable creative in the form of language and visuals that come together in what we traditionally call a concept/campaign.
Any creative person will tell you that the campaigns they are most proud to have worked on and generated are those that they were involved with from the very start. Those are the instances where the work really shines—cuts through the clutter and makes a meaningful difference in the complicated and dynamic world of pharmaceutical advertising. And the moment doesn’t just start with the implementation of tactics. Tactics are the final output of a long and exhaustive process of creating the perception of a brand, which is inherently a creative exercise—the making of something out of nothing.
Pharmaceutical art directors and copywriters are creative by discipline but are also marketers and strategists by the very nature of where they’ve decided to apply that discipline. Tapping into their expertise and passion is and should be a natural part of the marketing dynamic. So, whether the output is tangible or not, the implementation of the creative process is a pivotal aspect to all brands, and the earlier it’s applied, the better.
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