While the public’s awareness of clinical studies as avenues to receive the latest potential treatments, contribute to medical science, and benefit from added care and attention grows, the need to ensure that patients are aware of study opportunities is crucial. Clinical teams are no longer simply referring to their study based on its protocol title or number, but instead selecting a consumer-facing name accompanied by a logo or icon to identify it within the marketplace.
But a brand is more than just a logo – it’s a means to create a first impression with a desired audience. Gone are the days when brands were reserved for consumer products. The earlier you are able to establish a brand for your study, the greater the chance you will achieve positive recognition throughout all phases - and perhaps even set the stage for post-approval marketing.
Many clinical studies experience costly delays in the enrollment period, narrowing the window of patent profitability for pharmaceutical companies and prolonging the time it takes to provide access to potentially life-saving therapies. Because protocol titles are often lengthy and written from a medical perspective, they can give a first impression that study participation will also be complex. Creating a brand that reflects the values and aspirations of the study community - and that the study population identifies with - is a far more strategic and effective approach for engaging audiences. And as a secondary benefit, a study brand provides study staff and referring physicians with a clear, cohesive identity to rally behind.
We think of a brand identity as something more holistic than simply a name or logo. Because it will ultimately span promotional outreach, the Informed Consent Form, and the informational materials the participant receives during site interactions and throughout the study duration, a brand must also include well-considered messaging, graphics, and a consistent tone that come together to create a lasting first impression. Consistency of that brand will go far to impact the level of confidence and professionalism evoked within the entire study community.
If you are a sponsor or principal investigator considering whether or not to brand your clinical research study, consider the following:
Is my study looking to enroll healthy individuals or individuals with a specific condition?
If your protocol is specific to a particular condition - or even healthy volunteers - you will want to brand your study to enhance interest and engagement. Consider whether there are existing awareness colors or symbols to leverage within your brand to ensure that anyone searching for options is more likely to notice your outreach materials.
Is my study enrolling from an existing patient panel or will it rely on advertising?
Let’s face it – you only have a split-second to capture audience interest, and with highly specific protocol inclusion / exclusion criteria, you want to make sure your outreach is developed with a brand built for those you’re looking to enroll.
Even if you are approaching patients from your panel, consistently branded materials will instill a sense of confidence and professionalism in the study, and branded materials often aid site staff in introducing trial opportunities to potential participants.
“I’d like to brand the study myself.”
Great, get creative! One of the ways we commonly approach a brand is to highlight the novel approach of the investigational drug or its MOA within the study name. This can be done through the use of an acronym – using the first letters or words within the larger protocol title to create a name. Names that reflect the sentiments of patient or caregiver experiences are also appropriate and show that you understand and empathize with your patients, not just the data.
Concepting study brands is in our DNA, but we develop materials based off an existing brand. We also often help develop brands from existing study names.
There is a high level of advocacy for the study condition.
A great benefit of branding is that it can rally a community. If there is a high level of advocacy or a coalesced patient community, a brand can help promote the study opportunity and motivate audiences to engage and embrace the research. A brand can also be a strong catalyst for the study coordinator and study staff in generating enthusiasm for a study.
My study may be hard to enroll.
If study inclusion requirements or the nature of the condition (perhaps it's a rare disease) significantly limit the number of people you can reach out to, you want a brand that will immediately grab the attention of those individuals and their loved ones. If the novelty of the MOA, such as gene therapies, requires a higher level of explanation, you may want a brand that will help make the information more approachable and digestible to your potential participants.
For examples of some of our branded clinical research studies, please see our case studies for inspiration.