Differentiate, Differentiate, Differentiate!
Branded generics market in India is the most me-too of all markets with over 70,000 brands jostling for their share in the minds of and for the space on the scrips that the physicians write. The only way to stand out in that milling crowd is to differentiate, differentiate and differentiate. Consider the two cases – Gris OD in India in the 1990’s and Mucinex in the US OTC market in 2006 – and how they achieved success through differentiation.
The Case of Gris OD
Griseofulvin was the most widely prescribed systemic anti-fungal in the 1990’s with a market share of close to 80 per cent. Glaxo (GSK now) had a dominant market share with its Grisovin FP. The product had gastric side effects and patient compliance was an issue. American Remedies, then a young, dynamic, rapidly growing company looked at this market opportunity. The company knew that it was not possible to compete with the giant head-on and decided to create a product to meet the unmet need – convenient dosage and reduced side effects. It created the first-ever once-a-day dosage formulation of griseofulvin which was originally a QID (Quarter in die, which means four times a day) dosage. It was an instant success and displaced the earlier brand leader to the second position by a significant margin. DR. Reddy’s Labs acquired American Remedies a few years later.
The Case of Mucinex
The US OTC cough / cold category was very crowded and confusing as all the products had similar ingredients. Even their strategies were me-too centering around symptom-related promotion. Mucinex strategy had been distinctly different as it focused on the cause of the symptoms and not on the symptom relief like the rest of the brands. Mucinex team created an innovative brand icon – Mr. Mucus, a personification of Mucus. The brand promise was not only different, but also very memorable – Mucinex in, Mucus Out. This focus of eliminating the underlying cause of symptoms differentiated the product instantaneously. The strength of characterization of Mr. Mucus catapulted the brand into consumers’ minds.
Position or Perish!
The message or the lessons are simple. Position your product differently or you don’t have a chance of surviving in the unforgiving market place. What is needed is a thorough analysis of the market opportunity in the therapeutic segments of your choice; a thorough understanding of all competing brands and their offerings, perceptual strengths, weaknesses; developing insights into unmet needs. Once you are armed with these insights, you can formulate a winning strategy that is distinctly different from the rest of the competition. The differentiation, however should be relevant. Relevant to the patients’ needs. Remember the essence of your strategy is to differentiate, differentiate, and differentiate!