In Search of Positioning Equipoise

When it comes to re-positioning a pharmaceutical or biotech Brand, if you think you know the answer going in…odds are you won't have the optimal one coming out.

That's because to uncover the most promising positioning for your Brand, you need to have equipoise—an equality of distribution in the ideas or concepts being tested. If research you're conducting only looks to validate a predetermined destination, how can you ever be sure there wasn't a better direction to go?

Think of this idea in the context of drug studies. It's a central tenant of clinical research that you need to have equipoise when going into a clinical trial, or you should not initiate the trial at all. That's because equipoise is a situation in which there is no obviously superior or inferior choice among options based on all the currently available evidence. In other words, there are a number of possible outcomes, so it's worth the effort to determine the optimal one through a research study.

Same principle holds true it you're considering re-positioning (or even initially positioning) your Brand. You've got to have equipoise. You've got to challenge yourself and your team to think beyond the direction those involved 'believe' the Brand should go. You need to open up to fresh and different thinking, look at the Brand from different angles, and absorb the market shifts that have occurred since the initial arrival of your product.

All too often, we see pharmaceutical and biotech marketers approaching positioning from the antithesis of equipoise. Assumptions are made, beliefs are steadfast, and little room is left for innovative approaches and thinking. Positioning development becomes an 'exercise' to validate preconceived notions rather than all the potential options. At Brand Engineers, our most successful partnerships have been forged with Clients willing to put aside what they think they know and conduct the research with a diverse balance of focused positioning options.

Sure there are some positioning ideas that are stronger than others. But it's the breadth in options that's key…the equipoise. Without it, re-positioning efforts are confined to the preconceived notions of the current team and likely won't be poised for much more than moderate success at best.


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