Reimagining Pharmaceutical Brand Strategy

Albert Einstein's quote“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
Albert Einstein

I’m sure all the white coats in the lab peered at Albert Einstein with trepidation after he let this idea fly. It is so alluring to believe we can analyze our way to greatness— that there is some mathematical algorithm that spits out and validates brilliantly innovative strategy. But there’s not.

“The people who gravitate to strategic planning functions and strategy consulting firms tend to be highly analytical. That, I believe, is a problem. To be sure, analysis is important but in the end, strategy is and will always be a creative process.” – Roger Martin, Harvard Business Review

This article by Roger Martin at the Harvard Business Review illuminates a shadow across the pharmaceutical brand planning process— a dark spot that has always vaguely troubled me. He neatly bundles my untethered thoughts into a cohesive opinion.
It’s mind-numbing to consider how many hours it must have taken to pull together some of the SWOTs and meticulously worded aspirational value statements I’ve seen or worked on parts of. I’ve often wondered what the opportunity cost is of that time, and if great opportunities are missed because the brand planning process doesn’t tease them out.
Roger Martin throws out 3 Quick Ways to Improve Your Strategy Making. I like them.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” -Steve Jobs

I also like this quote from Steve Jobs. In my experience, it’s the way most effective business leaders find their strategies and make decisions. The managers who rely solely on 400-page spreadsheets are the ones who never seem to make any strategic decisions at all.

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