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  • Breakfast moment insights deliver business benefits
    • 08/26/15
    • Health
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Global
    • English

    Breakfast moment insights deliver business benefits

    GfK's qualitative and quantitative research gives Belgian retailers and manufacturers compelling insights into what happens at the breakfast table each morning.

  • Breakfast moment insights deliver business benefits
    • 08/26/15
    • Health
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Singapore
    • English

    Breakfast moment insights deliver business benefits

    The company wished to maximize the potential of its new and legacy dermatology brands.
    The goal: To take ownership of the first-line treatment market.

  • Breakfast moment insights deliver business benefits
    • 08/26/15
    • Health
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Breakfast moment insights deliver business benefits

    The company wished to maximize the potential of its new and legacy dermatology brands.
    The goal: To take ownership of the first-line treatment market.

    • 08/23/15
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Five steps for optimizing your marketing investments in an increasingly digitalized multi-channel health market

    The number of touchpoints your stakeholders have with brands is ever-expanding, from traditional to digital and beyond. Successful brands use positive and memorable experiences to connect and build long-term relationships with customers like healthcare professionals (HCPs) that are foundational for future market success. So how do you ensure success for your brand?

         

      1. 1. Understand in which context the brand communication is happening

      2.  

    Besides measuring brand awareness and prescription behavior and preferences, it’s important to examine where the activity surrounding your brand communication is occurring. Whether it’s sales representatives’ visits, medical ads in physician journals or patient feedback on social media, coverage of the entire breadth of the multi-channel environment is essential.

       

    1. 2. Identify those touchpoints that have the strongest influence on the professionals’ prescribing behavior or recommendations

    2.  

    Across the paid, owned and earned activities mix, which ones are most impactful and have the strongest emotional imprint that drive a higher ROI? Which ones are underperforming? Besides distinguishing touchpoints that are more or less in control (paid, owned, earned), it’s important to also think of digital versus non-digital touchpoints or activities related to patients versus HCP target audience and so forth.

       

    1. 3. Understand the impact of each brand experience point and its implications – memorability can be good and bad

    2.  

    Measuring touchpoint reach is not enough to understand impact. As any experience (sales rep visit, patient feedback, congress, and other points of contact) leaves an emotional trace, there is a need for innovative measures. That is why in most health brand tracking studies GfK calculates a ConX score for each touchpoint. From a marketing perspective, it is of interest which HCPs had a memorable and positive experience and which had a memorable but negative experience. This score enables you to compare the experience of your touchpoints relative to your competition. Recent studies in health show better differentiation between touchpoints and brands with the ConX score than standard analysis.

       

    1. 4. Don’t underestimate the importance of measuring the changing customer experience over time

    2.  

    GfK has a similar approach to the ConX score with the more recently introduced RBX metric, which stands for the “recent brand experience.” It measures the dynamic reality of changing customer experiences over time. Any significant evolution on this indicator invites an in-depth analysis of each touchpoint experience.

       

    1. 5. Ensure your metrics capture a 360-degree perspective of your patient’s or the physician’s experiences with your brand

    2.  

    Recent health studies where both ConX and RBX metrics were captured, especially in more complicated therapeutic areas like oncology where you might have several therapy lines including branded, generic and drug combination therapies, show a clear and better differentiation between brands compared to traditional metrics only. Both metrics combined will help you achieve a comprehensive picture of the physician’s (or patient’s) experiences with your brand.

    With this knowledge you can determine whether you have created a positive emotional imprint with the HCPs and to what extent this is effectively driving your targeted business outcomes.

    For further information, contact Jan Guse.

    • 08/21/15
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Uncovering the emotional components of brand equity in health research

    It’s really no surprise that physicians’ decisions on drug choices are not reached through rational thinking exclusively. Although healthcare professionals (HCPs) will tell you that facts determine their decisions, we all know that emotional and social effects play a crucial role as well. That’s why you might want your ATU tracker to move beyond measuring only awareness, trial and usage to offering insights for a better understanding of brand equity. The problem is that most ATUs track brand health by measuring intended behavior or using an index that combines both measures. These more traditional brand KPIs often fail to differentiate between brands, do not provide valid information on the emotional and social bonds HCPs form with brands and provide only limited information on a brand’s future potential. Thus there is a need for more sophisticated and holistic brand health metrics. What is essential is a valid equity evaluation. Further on in this article, we’ll discuss the importance of distinguishing latent and active brand equity.

    Recently, we instituted what we call customer brand relationships (CBR). Based on a well-proven qualitative research technique that uses metaphors, CBR unveils how consumers form relationships with brands. This new metric focuses on nine relationship types that can be clustered in three classes: strong relationship types, weak ones and those at risk.

     

    We assumed that physicians also develop relationships with specific prescription drugs. Obviously, emotions and social elements play an important role in their choices. Therefore, our metaphorical approach might also be used to measure the future potential of branded prescription drugs. To prove the concept in the health Rx world, we initiated a global validation study among physicians in a competitive category with newly launched “me-too” brands. Despite clinical similarities, strong preferences existed for different brands. The objective was to understand the underlying equities of the brands by exploring the preferences and relationship strengths physicians have with brands. The clear outcome was that strong relationship types are associated with higher prescription levels and market shares across countries and categories. Because of these findings, we applied the approach both in the Rx and OTC markets.

    In more complicated scenarios, where different types of treatment options are available (e.g., oncology where you might have branded therapies, generic and combination treatment options), the evidence is clear: There is a strong correlation between intensity of relationships with treatments and prescription behavior across different therapeutic areas and the applied technique helps uncover differences in brand bonding based on emotional elements.

    Our global R&D process is utilized among physicians only to “translate” the current set of relationship types into those that resonate better with the healthcare market. Based on a survey with 600 US and UK healthcare professionals and brands from six different prescription drug categories, we identified nine healthcare-specific relationship types.

    The importance of distinguishing latent and active brand equity

    By combining CBR with traditional and well-proven brand KPIs like brand preference, new brand KPIs can be built with a proven link to future business outcomes. Active brand equity, in this context measuring the number of HCPs with strong relationships and preferences for a specific brand, signals to what degree the brand has a potential to increase loyalty. Latent brand equity, measuring the number of HCPs with strong relationships but preference for other brands, illustrates the brand’s potential to be used more often in the future. Both KPIs together measure the brands potential to grow further in the future and generate a greater number of prescriptions.

     

    This approach is based on emotional connections consumers, or in the health context for example, HCPs or patients form with brands. It’s a crucial stepping stone to creating new strategies and prioritizing marketing activities that help improve the strength of relationships, thereby resulting in long-term brand equity.

    This article was co-authored by Jan Guse in Health.

    For more information, contact Oliver Hupp.

    • 08/16/15
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Why relevance drives benchmarking in health and not only database size

    When tracking your brand health, you want to ensure that your long-term brand performance will be ahead of the competition’s. This requires a comparison to competitor products and a sound understanding and interpretation in the context of a new, more relationship-oriented economy.

    Benchmarking the traditional KPIs on product uptake, such as awareness, trial and usage, seems like common sense, whether based on a small or huge database. However, to make it more relevant in a changing market with an increasing number of touchpoints, it’s important to capture new relevant measures of the brand experience and relationship economy in these benchmarking exercises as well.

    In 2014 we started a big initiative to build a knowledge base integrating traditional measures of brand and customer research with new and more relevant measures of the brand experience and relationship economy, like XP ConX, to assess touchpoint performance and CBR measuring brand value.

    The CBR approach reflects the strengths of relationships HCPs or consumers have with brands (the emotional link). Furthermore it integrates intentions like preference via the latent and active equity measures (the behavioral link). When these two perspectives are combined, it becomes highly diagnostic.

    Today the knowledge base includes the data of more than half a million respondents across all regions – Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific – as well as across many industries, such as automotive, consumer goods, technology and of course health. This includes both consumer healthcare and RX brands. And besides the benchmarking opportunities, the database allows for cross-market analysis; i.e., an assessment of what channels or combination of channels works best in a specific market.

    Analysis on the knowledge base data has shown that positive memorable brand experiences strongly drive the building of brand relationships. And with the integration of traditional KPIs (such as awareness, usage, consideration and preference) with brand experience and brand relationship measures, like ConX and CBR, we are able to explain 74% of the variance in market share data of brands.

    In the RX part of the health market, brand relationships are slightly different when compared to other industries. This is due to the higher rational product involvement of all stakeholders involved in a decision (either a physician writing a prescription or a patient taking medication), while the brand relationship profiles in consumer healthcare look much more similar to the profiles for consumer goods brands. Therefore, we are currently in the process of “translating” the current set of relationship types into those that resonate even to a greater degree with the healthcare market.

    Although the database is expanding rapidly, within the consumer healthcare space already over 10 different need states are covered, while in Rx over 10 different indication areas are captured. This allows for more indication- or discipline-specific benchmarking as well.

    When combining data on brand preferences and brand relationships based on CBR, the brand equity can be further unraveled into latent and active brand equity. Also for the health market, this metric is captured in the knowledge base for benchmarking purposes. It will signal the direction that your health brand is going. Further driver analyses might then help you identify opportunities for driving latent into active brand equity.

    This article was co-authored by Kathrin Kissel, Susanna Meyer and Oliver Hupp in Health.

    For further information, please contact Jan Guse.

    • 08/14/15
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Health economic assessment of ultra-orphan medicine Soliris finally published

    Earlier this year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published its recommendation on Soliris¹ (eculizumab, from Alexion), an ultra-orphan drug, that is the first medicine to be assessed under their new Highly Specialised Technologies (HST) program. The focus was on Soliris’ treatment for aHUS, a very rare, life-threatening condition. And the recommendation was a culmination of 7.5 years and complicated history.

    Background

    Atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) causes blood clots to form in small blood vessels throughout the body. This can damage vital organs, such as the kidneys, brain and heart. Without Soliris, patients typically have plasma therapy and/or dialysis and/or kidney or kidney/liver transplants. Prognosis is poor. Most patients are identified during childhood, and many do not live to adulthood. Currently, there are an estimated 140 to 200 aHUS patients in the UK.

    Soliris typically costs around £340,000 for the first year of treatment of aHUS and £327,000 per year thereafter. According to the Summary of Product Characteristics, treatment is for life. Evidence to date suggests that with Soliris patients may live a near-normal lifespan.

    Soliris for aHUS treatment

    Historically, NICE did not assess ultra-orphan diseases, which were commissioned centrally by the NHS. In the mid-2000s the Advisory Group on National Specialised Services (AGNSS) was established to assess and make recommendations on these drugs. AGNSS used different assessment criteria, and placed much less weight on cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) than NICE. After some delay Soliris was referred to AGNSS for assessment. In 2012 AGNSS recommended that Soliris be funded by the NHS in England, but ministers were worried about the budgetary impact. Rather than accept the recommendation, they referred Soliris to NICE for further assessment. At the same time, AGNSS was folded into NICE to become the HST program.

    In the meantime, in 2013 NHS England established an interim specialized commissioning program for Soliris for some patients. This was in response to pressure (not least from the House of Commons) that patients were dying for lack of access to treatment. It is believed that about 70 patients are currently being treated.

    The Soliris guidance is the first to emerge from their HST program – a mere seven and a half years after it was first licensed. Such is the power of bureaucratic delay!

    Committee’s key points of guidance

    Eculizumab, within its marketing authorization, is recommended for funding for aHUS only if all the following arrangements are in place:

       

    • coordination of eculizumab use through an expert centre
    • monitoring systems to record the number of people with a diagnosis of aHUS, and the number who have eculizumab, and the dose and duration of treatment
    • a national protocol for starting and stopping eculizumab for clinical reasons
    • a research program with robust methods to evaluate when stopping treatment or dose adjustment might occur.
    •  

    This is not as onerous as it might sound, since all the elements except the research program are already in place. NHS England was actively involved in the process and has said that “it is able to meet all the conditions for reimbursement except for the research program, which will require longer to establish.”

    The Assessment Committee accepted that “eculizumab represents a step change in the treatment of patients with aHUS and could be considered a significant innovation for a disease with a high unmet clinical need.” They took this view despite the “limitations in the evidence base, particularly because of the lack of randomized trial evidence.” Evidence came from Phase 2 trials – the largest including 41 patients, and in total 100 patients – and a retrospective observational study of 30 patients.

    What clearly swayed their decision was the evidence from clinical experts and patients and their representatives, who were strongly in favor and stressed the lack of alternative therapies - hence the “step-change” conclusion. The contribution of a well-organized patient interest group and strong clinical support is clear.

    While the company and the Evidence Review Group both calculated cost-effectiveness, this information has not been published, since the company deems it to be confidential. Substantial QALY gains are recognized, but there are no cost-per-QALY figures, and any figures would clearly be beyond anything NICE would normally accept.

    Budget impact clearly was a key factor in the decision

    While estimates varied, the expectation was that the cost to the NHS in England would be in the range of £68m (patient organization’s estimate) to £82m (Evidence Review Group’s estimate) in year five. The company also produced a (presumably lower) estimate but would not allow its publication. To put this into context, NHS England spent £156m on high-cost drugs under the specialized commissioning program in 2013/4, and highlighted that a potential 50% increase in this figure could only mean withdrawing funds elsewhere, in the context of flat-funding plans for the NHS overall. Finding ways to minimize budget impact is clearly behind the recommendations on starting and stopping rules and research on the potential to adjust (i.e. reduce) doses.

    Assessing the cost

    It is clear that the committee reached this recommendation despite its exasperation with Alexion. Comments appear throughout the document about information redacted as commercially confidential. Though Alexion clearly challenged the committee’s decision to assess affordability, the committee robustly defends its position.

    Wales and Scotland are not included in the HST recommendation which apply to England only

    It should be noted that this recommendation applies only to England. Alexion declined to submit to both the Scottish Medicines Consortium and the All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group, and in both territories Soliris is “not recommended”. According to the patient group, two patients in Scotland are being treated under Individual Patient Treatment Requests, but this is a bureaucratic and uncertain procedure.

    For further information or advice, please contact Tim Fitzgerald or Jim Furniss.

    References

    [1] www.nice.org.uk/guidance/hst1/resources/eculizumab-for-treating-atypical-haemolytic-uraemic-syndrome-1394895848389

  • Building better relationships with young pharmacists
    • 07/31/15
    • Health
    • Digital Market Intelligence
    • Belgium
    • English

    Building better relationships with young pharmacists

    We recruited more than 100 working pharmacists in the target age group to participate in a longitudinal integrated study.

  • Building better relationships with young pharmacists
    • 07/31/15
    • Health
    • Digital Market Intelligence
    • Singapore
    • English

    Building better relationships with young pharmacists

    We recruited more than 100 working pharmacists in the target age group to participate in a longitudinal integrated study.

  • Building better relationships with young pharmacists
    • 07/31/15
    • Health
    • Digital Market Intelligence
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Building better relationships with young pharmacists

    We recruited more than 100 working pharmacists in the target age group to participate in a longitudinal integrated study.

    • 07/28/15
    • Health
    • Technology
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Global
    • English

    Four things you need to know about human factors validation for your mobile app

    Whether it’s breathing new life into aging patents or capitalizing on the quantified self craze, pharmaceutical companies are finding ways to expand the reach and utility of their drug brands by developing digital companion applications that track, monitor, log, and calculate therapeutic data. If you are a product manager considering developing an app for that, you know that the app may be subject to some of the same human factors regulatory requirements that drug delivery systems must meet.

    Given the simplicity of the tasks and the supporting visual design in many of these apps, it can be shocking to realize just how much effort and coordination goes into planning and preparation for a human factors validation test, especially where the perceived risk of harm is slim to none. After all, it’s software, not a device, right? Wrong. If the software provides information or data used to make decisions about administration of care, there is a good chance human factors and risk will be assessed similarly to a medical device. It’s true that rigorous attention to detail is required to create and adhere to a robust and effective human factors validation protocol. But it’s not impossible! Here are four common stumbling blocks, and how to avoid making mountains out of molehills.

    Before you start:

       

    1. Know how it’s done IRL (in real life): Consider instances where the official prescribing information may differ from the rules of thumb employed by real people. We’ve seen cases where the app design was bound by specifications in the prescribing information related to upper and lower limits and injection rotation specifications. However, in testing we discovered that real doctors, nurses, and patients tended to bend these rules according to their own personal circumstances and clinical opinions. If the app is rigid and won’t accommodate/ doesn’t reflect real use scenarios, not only will it be confusing and frustrating, it may be entirely unusable.
    2.  

     

       

    1. Don’t just automate—provide a service. Make sure there is clear value in the utility of the app that is greater than the effort required to seek out, download, and learn to use it. If a dosing app designed for nurses is just multiplying some number by two, an operation that can almost always be done in the head, why would they use an app for it? If the interface visualizes data in irrelevant ways, how will it support decision making? No one wants to see participants asking “why should I care about this?” in their validation study.
    2. Understand the risk of harm. The FDA is primarily concerned with patient safety. Think through and analyze the potential risks to the user associated with unintentional misuse of the app. The potential harm that could befall someone who miscalculates or misinterprets a recommended insulin dose is far more obvious than the potential harm that could befall someone who misreads an injection rotation diagram, but it’s still the manufacturer’s responsibility to conduct due diligence and determine the level of criticality associated with foreseeable user errors. With criticality defined and mapped onto a task analysis, the next step is to carefully define essential and critical tasks in your study protocol and spell out in detail the conditions of success and failure. You’d be surprised at how many different circumstances can lead to a participant doing or not doing something that is part of the expected task work flow. Know in advance which deviations are OK, which are artifacts, and which actually represent a true use error that needs to be analyzed for root cause and residual risk. A challenging proposition for device validation, this gets even trickier when testing perception and interpretation of screens or data in an app. Decide ahead of time what success needs to look like: Does each participant need to understand the concept behind the app inputs and outputs? Do they need to interpret trends? If so, then decide what needs to be interpreted and how, and know how the researcher will know if and when it has been interpreted correctly.
    3.  

     

       

    1. Engineer your data: When designing your test protocol, think about whether you will test with fake (pre-defined) data or if you will let participants use personal reference points when performing tasks with the app. This isn’t limited just to name, email address, and DOB. It could include other key assumptions about the users’ identity and training such as multipliers and dosing protocols as well as familiar volume increments and conversion methods. If you are building an app that calculates something a certain way, make sure you recruit participants who do it that way too, or at least establish important facts about the participants’ frame of reference in advance of administering tasks. If you are asking participants to draw meaning from trend data, make sure the trends displayed would make sense for a real person, and haven’t been randomly generated. In other words, think about the variability that could be introduced if you allow participants to use their own points of reference, but balance it against the test artifacts that could result if you don’t.
    2.  

     

    For more information, contact Kirsten Bruckbauer at kirsten.bruckbauer@gfk.com.

    • 07/24/15
    • Health
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    The UK cook: A changing breed

    Whether you produce or sell food and drink, make the tables consumers eat at, the kitchens they cook in or the appliances and utensils that help them, it’s vital that you know about trends in cooking. We are able to bring together a unique set of data sources to provide an insight into people’s attitudes, behavior and aspirations around eating at home. We draw on multiple sources including sales data, consumer trends and forward-focused research exploring homes of the future to highlight opportunities for innovation and growth across multiple food-connected categories.

    The Global Overview – Who Are The Experts?

    The UK is neither famous for its culinary skills nor deep interest in the subject. It’s therefore not surprising we fall behind many countries in key measures such as time spent cooking, level of behavior and aspirations around eating at home. We draw on multiple sources including sales data, consumer trends and forward-focused research exploring homes of the future to highlight opportunities for innovation and growth across multiple food-connected categories, knowledge and degree of passion for cookery. But behind that headline lies a matrix of change in our attitudes and behaviors in the kitchen.

    Time spent cooking We might reasonably consider the greatest time spent cooking to be during the family years with children at home. But our data confirms otherwise.

    This may be explained by the greater availability of time to spend in the kitchen for the over 60s, or a mistrust/dislike of ready meals and the desire to create meals from scratch. In contrast, a busy household with small children may rely more upon convenience food and quick cooking.

    The picture that emerges in the UK is that of a mix of creative cooks who use the latest gadgets, to time-pressed or unenthusiastic cooks who prefer the easiness of a ready meal. This presents an interesting proposition for manufacturers offering the range of culinary aids, devices and eating experiences and makes the need to identify your target market correctly a key challenge.

    Expanding our knowledge and interest Television brings us a huge 220+ hours of cookery programs each week. This attracts a total audience figure of around 30 million, nearly half the UK population. Sales of cookery books have also increased dramatically as our interest and desire for cooking expertise has grown.

    What does this mean…

    For food retailers? It is likely that two poles of behavior will continue. Ingredients necessary for cooking from scratch will still be in demand, but perhaps with a more variable focus as certain food types come in and out of fashion.

    For food producers? Ready meals are here to stay and time spent cooking is lower among the younger generation. For this age group, cooking for fun tends to be centred around particular items or occasions rather than everyday meals. However, the need to deliver healthy, fresh, balanced meals will continue to grow.

    For cooking utensil manufacturers? Interest in cooking is strong, but the opportunity appears to focus on the premium end of the market – utensils that speed up the cooking process, look good in the kitchen when entertaining at home and offer a healthy cooking method.

    For kitchen and dining furniture manufacturers and retailers? Kitchens clearly still need to be functional in design to enable time-efficient food preparation and cooking, but they also need to be inviting, enjoyable places to be when cooking for fun. The kitchen must also deliver a pleasant environment to eat, whether for family or for entertaining guests.

    For domestic appliance manufacturers? We’ve seen how the emergence of the smart home could revolutionize our interaction with our kitchens. The success of connected appliances depend on a few steps for manufacturers and retailers to consider:

    1. Convert the idea of the smart home from ‘nice to have’ to ‘essential to have’.

    2. Create real consumer need by offering appliances at affordable prices.

    3. Ensure appliances are easy to use and address privacy concerns.

    4. Raise awareness and drive demand by promotional activity and partnerships that sell appliances as packages.

    5. Train sales staff to understand and communicate the features and benefits of smart appliances.

    With these conditions addressed, smart appliances are a perfect way to drive consumer interest, demonstrating innovation and technological leadership.

    Despite the fact that the UK has lagged behind other countries in terms of interest in and passion for cooking, the trend for healthy eating and awareness of how technology can transform our experience of cooking, means that the market is in an interesting period of change. The fortunes of the ready meal market have altered over time, as have the occasions in which convenience foods are used compared to cooking from scratch. These shifts present opportunities for the manufacturers and retailers who are most aware of their consumers’ changing needs.

General