Pharma - to brand or not to brand? Implications of corporate branding in the Danish pharmaceutical industry

Lise Præstegaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


The overall objective in the thesis was to examine branding in the pharmaceutical industry in Denmark. This included analysing the effects that branding initiatives have on the prescribing behaviour of the general practitioner, and on the basis of these findings develop a strategic framework for optimization of branding in the pharmaceutical industry. The research and analyses were based on a limited segment of the market, namely the diabetes manufacturers. Furthermore the thesis focused on prescription drugs for which the decision making and buying process are unique, since the final decision to buy does not belong to the end-user, i. e. the patient. A thorough review of the branding theory was performed in order to identify relevant brand building strategies. This showed that corporate identity was an important part of a corporate brand. Alignment of vision, image and culture were key factors in this identity. The industry analysis was based on an external analysis using the PESTEL and Porter's Five Forces including a sixth factor – complementors. The stakeholders were identified and special characteristics for the industry was described. Among the most important ones were legal factors regarding the product development process, the advertising possibilities and the inflexibility of marketing a drug. Primary research was carried out among general practitioners to gain valuable insight in to the prescribing behaviour of the doctors. For this purpose a questionnaire was constructed based on the theoretical and industry-specific knowledge gained in the analyses. This survey showed that functionality and rationality are the most important factors that influence the prescribing behaviour of the practitioners. Branding wise, the corporate values, reputation & ethics were found to be somewhat influential as well. An in-depth interview with a general practitioner gave a deeper understanding of the considerations that are behind prescribing medication. Based equally on the theory, the analyses and the findings in the primary research, a strategic model was developed. This novel model, illustration the optimal way to influence the stakeholders with a corporate branding strategy, was constructed as a generic branch model applicable for the pharmaceutical industry in general.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages86