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The Perfect Pill

Posted: July 18, 2020

What is fascinating about the book is that talks so deeply about branding and brand differentiation that no matter which industry you may be from, if you have a product or brand that you are looking to market more effectively, this is the book for you!

One quote that stood out to me while reading Gauri Chaudhari’s book “The Perfect Pill” was ‘The only place the brand needs to occupy lies in the minds of the consumers’. The name you give your brand matters a lot, as that can be the first step to brand recall.

Popular brands of edible oil did just that. Sundrop, as the name suggests, is made up of sunflower oil known for its cardiac health benefits. Saffola, the other similar cooking oil brand of safflower and rice bran, too had health benefits.

But Saffola ads focused on how men are reluctant health enthusiasts, and offered a solution to worried wives to bring the oil home rather than letting the husband’s procrastination to exercise effect their health.

So while Saffola used the fear appeal, Sundrop created its brand image for healthy people and appealed to their health conscious mind set. It also managed to keep the taste association intact. This led to Sundrop dominating the market and being a leader for years.

The Perfect Pill: 10 Steps to Build a Strong Healthcare Brand, published in February 2020, talks about the Indian pharma market as one of the most challenging markets to conquer. In a country like India where there may be more than 30 brands offering the same molecule, how big of a role can brand marketing play? Through her book, Gauri has managed to create a model for brand building having tested this out on both branded generics and patent-protected brands.

The author 

Gauri Chaudhari is a brand coach, brand strategist and co-founder of Brand Innerword, a health care brand consultancy.
In a career spanning 25+ years, she has handled assignments in health care brand building, marketing and advertising. In the past, Gauri has worked in marketing teams of Boehringer Mannheim and Knoll Pharmaceuticals and has handled brands from multiple portfolios.

What is fascinating about the book is that talks so deeply about branding and brand differentiation that no matter which industry you may be from, if you have a product or brand that you are looking to market more effectively, this is the book for you!

More so in times today when most people during the Covid-19 pandemic are looking for ways to rebrand and come up with new ideas and to reapply psychological principles in order to better impact perception and attitude towards their brands.

This book helps to understand and rethink brand strategy aimed at achieving higher levels of success. The book is intended as a practical guide with the 10 band building steps divided into 3 parts –

  • Steps 1 – 4: Know your brand, market, customer and competition
  • Steps 5 – 6: Arrive at the brand value proposition and brand articulation
  • Steps 7 – 10: Arrive at a strategy, media, metrics and evaluation

Building a brand

She starts by talking about how brands bring benefits, more so, how products become obsolete but brands are timeless. One example she uses here is that of a brand which we are all happily familiar with – Cadbury. John V. Cadbury launched his own brand of cocoa in 1831. Since then the product has been upgrading continuously – adapting to the changing tastes of the consumers. Till date it is one of the most celebrated brands.

The first step is simple yet important – Know your product and then the product formulation. What is interesting about each step detailed so well in the book – is that each chapter provides an FAQ section plus a worksheet for reflection.

Beliefs and insight act as a brand differentiating tool. While Surf Excel strengthened the beliefs of the customers, Dove on the other hand challenged social beliefs. Dove soon challenged popular notions of ‘beauty’ and created many TVC’s with an aim to change such perceptions that impact the self-esteem of young women. They also used real people in their ads and not celebrities / models, allowing the customers to forge a bond with the brand.

Re-inventing the message

There is immense research included in the book as well as psychological principles and theories which can be studied in order to build a strong health care brand. Gauri touches upon Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the SWOT analysis and how these can be modified and understood by brands to create a better standing for themselves in the competitive market.

The steps highlight the stories behind many popular brands which makes for an interesting read. Each step details a clear structure to follow and how to make connections between various brand marketing principles.

Furthermore, the book sheds light on how creating a strong brand message is not enough. Delivering that message is extremely crucial too. The three most commonly used terms in corridors of media agencies are – frequency, reach and engagement. These hold relevant for a pharma brand just as much as any consumer brand.

As the head of FCB Ulka Healthcare, Gauri has worked on varied genres of health care brands including ethical prescription brands, OTC medications, medical devices, surgical and hospital brands. She actively helped in switching some of the Indian pharma industry’s most celebrated prescription brands to OTC. She has worked on mass media campaigns including John Hopkins’ and USAID’s anti-AIDS campaigns in India.

Her experience and expertise in health care brands makes this book a fantastic guide not only for brand strategies aimed at business results but to help enhance the medical practice in the country as well.

Gauri Chaudhari states this, while highlighting the importance of branding, “Products can be ‘me-too’, Brands can’t. And you have to build them.”

 Image source: YouTube

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