Skip to main content

Su Allen, Brandfish

The world of medical communications changes regularly. We hear from Su Allen about what rebranding has meant to her business.

How have medical communications evolved over recent years?

Over the last few years, there has been a definite shift towards digital outputs. For some clients, maintaining a digital campaign is a mandatory part of budget planning. Digital is definitely a ‘broad brush’ term in our industry and is especially relevant when delivering meetings via WebEx/Webinar. However, the uptake of social media among pharmaceutical companies still remains slow compared with other sectors.

Digital delivery, be it portals, website, webinars, etc. hasn’t made, and indeed shouldn’t make, a huge impact on the content we deliver. Our content remains scientifically robust and as detailed as necessary. Yet it has made us look at the aesthetics and interactivity of how such materials are delivered.

Consequently, we are strengthening our digital offering to our clients, but most of our delivery of educational and communication materials to internal and external stakeholders remains primarily through traditional channels.

Why did you decide to rebrand and what response have you noticed?

The decision to rebrand started from a ‘throw-away’ comment from a young person of our acquaintance. They told us that, whilst they liked the Brandfish imagery because it was orange, they were now ‘grown up’ so orange was no longer their favourite colour and it looked a bit old fashioned. At the time, Brandfish’s imagery was indeed very orange and dynamic (it was an orange overlapping wheel image) and it had been in place for almost 10 years.

They say there is nothing like a child to say something surprising, but on analysis our young friend’s comments were very wise. From this small piece of feedback, a thought emerged and when we started to consider a new website, it made us think that we had also ‘grown up’ over ten years. Perhaps in the same way that children shrug off their childish selves we should also look to a new brand that was authoritative, reflective of us as a company, with a gentler, more forward-looking persona. And so the rebrand was born….and we are delighted with the results.

We wanted a new brand that was authoritative, reflective of us as a company, with a gentler, more forward-looking persona.

You’ve worked with the team at Detail for a number of years, what difference do they bring?

The difference for us with Detail is several-fold. In Detail we have an agency that understands us and our sector regulations, and yes provide us with imagery and creativity that is not constrained and continues to be interesting and exciting, even for multiple collaterals for the same products.

What challenges are there working within such a well regulated industry?

The challenges we are under due to our regulations can be constraining, liberating and exciting. Constraining? Yes, the rules are strict. For example there are many guidelines about how to write in such a way as to avoid implying comparison where none exists. However, this quickly becomes a way of life and a process that can be applied to other areas of less constrained communication. I think this level of constraint drives quality in many ways as it ensures all messaging is scientifically accurate and true.

Regulations can also be liberating; you know where the boundaries are and this can provide a useful framework within which to work. They can also be exciting because there is always room to push the boundary so it might stretch a bit, but never actually break. Finding this fine line can be very interesting.