How to Brand a Clinical Trial

So You Want to Learn About Clinical Trial Branding?

Clinical trials, like anything else, can be “branded.” But what we mean by clinical trial branding comes down to three basic elements:

1) Identifying a unique and memorable name for the trial, as opposed to “LMX-134”

2) Developing an appropriate look and feel for the trial

3) Building relevant perceptions of the trial among the target audience(s)

Successful branding of clinical trials requires all three components.

The Process of Branding a Clinical Trial

Developing a compelling and effective clinical trial brand is not just important for the immediate success of the trial itself. It also enables strategic preconditioning of the market for eventual commercial launch activities by providing early information and communication, rather than promotional messages.

In fact, savvy health care companies continue to look at clinical trial branding as an opportunity to build a bridge to their ultimate launch brand. See this post on “Why You Should Give Your Clinical Trial An Effective Identity” to lean more.

At Six Degrees, what sets our approach to clinical trial branding apart is the use of psycho-sensory brand-building techniques to create a more compelling trial identity and to instill the right perceptions in the target audience’s minds.

We tailor the following nominal approach to each client’s unique situation for a customized and optimized project.

PHASE I: Discovery

In the discovery phase, we schedule a kickoff meeting in which the client team briefs the Six Degrees project team on the trial objectives and provides all relevant prior research and strategy documents. After reviewing these materials, Six Degrees conducts a number of one-on-one phone interviews with key team members from the client team regarding trial aspirations, challenges, opportunities and so forth. If insufficient insights exist from patients, caregivers and health care providers, Six Degrees will initiate insight-mining research among those target audiences.

Our insight-mining research uses sensory stimuli and other projective techniques to gain a deeper emotional understanding of the condition, treatment and life impact.

PHASE II: Trial Brand Strategy

Once all of the insights for the trial brand have been assembled in the discovery phase, Six Degrees facilitates a trial strategy workshop with the client team. During this workshop, Six Degrees reviews the insights and presents a “strawman” trial brand platform, consisting of a positioning statement, a brand promise and brand pillars. The team then brainstorms improvements or alternatives to the “strawman” brand platform. The final trial platform is vetted against key criteria agreed to at the start of the workshop. On the foundation of the brand platform, Six Degrees then develops a naming brief for client approval. The brand platform and naming brief form the foundation for all subsequent creative development.

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PHASE III: Creative Development

In this phase, we parallel process: At the same time that we engage in multiple name-storming sessions to build a list of trial name candidates, our research group conducts interviews among the trial’s target audiences to understand which visual cues automatically and subconsciously trigger the trial brand’s pillars. This visual positioning guides the development of the visual identity system and all trial communications materials, and some of the resulting look-and-feel elements may even be carried forward into the commercial product branding for additional value-add. Following a naming review session, the final trial name is chosen and the visual identity is developed.

PHASE IV: Implementation

Once the trial brand identity has been developed, Six Degrees assists the client with the creation of communications materials for trial execution, often including a website, a PowerPoint presentation, a brochure, posters and more. A brand usage guidelines document is also provided to help ensure that any other communications materials are “on brand.” Finally, we apply search engine optimization techniques (SEO) and keyword search to help drive interested audiences to the website.

In summary, clinical trial branding makes recruiting and retention of trial and research study participants more effective and efficient while preparing the market and future product brand for commercialization.

Want to see more? Click here to see examples of our successful clinical trial branding projects.

Ready to discuss your project? Click here to contact us today!

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Frank Schab
An experienced marketing and branding strategist, Frank has been helping clients optimize the value of their brands through insightful analysis and effective strategy for more than three decades. Along with holding positions at General Motors and Pfizer, Frank served as a Managing Partner at Interbrand New York and VP of Global Brand Research at Opinion Research Corporation before co-founding Six Degrees. His brand-building work in various sectors including hospitality, medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive and technology has taken him to 17 countries on four continents. Frank holds a doctorate in psychology from Yale University and speaks fluent German.

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