TR Design’s eNewsletter covering the topics related to the branding and marketing
of technology products and medical devices.
Don’t wait to brand your new device.
By Carroll Ray for Designochology®
Bringing a new medical device to market is an enormous task. While you’re developing the product, you’re looking for financing. At the same time, you’re recruiting KOLs, identifyng partners and building an infrastructure. There are regulatory approvals to secure, reimbursement codes to decipiher, intellectual property applications to complete, clinical trials to conduct, and conferences to attend. It requires a team of engineers, industrial designers, regulatory advisors, reimbursement consultants, researchers, PR specialists, salespeople, doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs. But one important person is often left out of these early stages. The creative strategist.
Medical device companies are understandably focused on product development. After all, if you don’t have a working product, financial backing, regulatory approvals, and an organization to bring it to market; then there’s no sense wasting time or money on branding. Right? Well, not so fast. Here are 5 reasons why you should NOT wait to develop your medical device brand.
- You only get one first impression. You begin building brand awareness with the very first introduction of your product to investors, advisors and KOLs. You need to sell THEM on the product before you ever get a chance to sell it to a customer. A good product name, a well-thought-out positioning statement, a compelling logo and a professionaly designed Website communicate that you understand how to market your product, an important consideration for these early stakeholders.
- Bad names die hard. It happens all the time. During early stages of development, the lead engineer gives the product a code name and whips up a logo. Before you know it, the “temporary” name and logo have been applied to business plans, business cards and a “temporary” Website. The brand elements may be incongruous, too descriptive or not distinctive, and there has been no research done on availability. Very likely, they’re not even trademarkeable. And now, this “temporary” brand is being seen by the very people you need to impress most. You find yourself spending too much time apologizing for the name or explaining the logo. Get it right from the start and your brand will be an asset that adds real value to your product.
- Doctors are people too. Yes, doctors are skeptical of marketing. They may make evidence-based decisions, but they’re not immune to subjective elements that are present in a strong brand. A strong product name, a well-designed logo, a compelling tagline, an articulate position statement and a professional Website make it easier for doctors to believe that you know what you’re doing, and that your product will be as good as you say.
- Creatives see things. Creatives see relationships, make connections and identify opportunities that others often miss. Smart creatives with experience in life sciences can provide strategic recommendations that may not have been considered by others. Opportunities can been identified to brand a term, or define a market, or to reconsider the true value of the new product within the marketplace. Good creatives understand the value of a strong trademark and work to ensure that you begin building that value from the outset.
- Make the complicated simple. Medical devices, by nature, are complex. However, the benefits of medical devices are often simpler than they seem when descibed by those who are closely tied to product development. It’s the creative’s job to understand the clinical applications of the device; to understand how it works and who it will benefit; and then to make this complicated story easy to understand.
Branding is a strategic exercise that helps to clarify where a product fits within the marketplace, and how best to position it for success. And that’s something that device companies need to start sooner rather than later.