3 pharma marketing strategies that stand out from the crowd in MENA

3 pharma marketing strategies that stand out from the crowd in MENA

During the past year, pharma marketing strategies around the world have become the focus of attention, especially as several drugmakers were racing to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Stakeholders, both online and offline, realized the messaging that pharma companies issue is critical, and have created a new dynamic in which companies are more transparent and approachable. 

MEA pharmaceutical companies approached their brand marketing strategies in a distinctive way that allows them to establish trust in their products, raise awareness of the importance of vaccines, and promote wellness among customers. I’m going to look at a few MENA pharma brand marketing strategies that not only drive revenue, but also utilize unique positioning and differentiation techniques.

See what MEA patients are saying about your company

One thing is definite, pharma companies, whether they focus on B2B or B2C audiences, are all adapting their brand marketing strategies to sound human and be more approachable. Because health and treatment are generally sensitive topics to navigate, pharma brands have become extra diligent in validating and diversifying their messaging tactics to address patients and non-patients alike. MENA pharmaceutical companies, like others around the world, have made an active effort to be as inclusive and empathetic as possible.

Julphar: 40 years of caring

Headquartered in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, Julphar has grown to be one of the most recognizable pharmaceutical brands in the MEA region, when it came to prominence in 2012 as the world’s largest producer of insulin. Julphar’s brand marketing strategy heavily relies on its legacy as an Emirati success story, pioneering biomedical manufacturing way before the digital revolution and the urban development of other emirates in the country.

In line with the country’s overarching narrative around prosperity and homegrown innovation, the hashtag #ThrivingTogether became the main driver of their customer engagement strategy. Not only that, but the hashtag received a combination of 57% positive sentiment, and no negative sentiment, which showcases the campaign’s successful outcome.

Conversation themes around #ThrivingTogether

Looking at Julphar’s website and social media accounts, it becomes apparent that the marketing communications strategy frames the brand as a socially and ethically responsible company that caters not only for the wellness of the family, but also to inform investors and promote health awareness.

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Hikma: Better Health. Within Reach. Every day.

Hikma is a British multinational pharmaceutical company with a very strong footing in the MENA region, especially as it was founded by Samih Darwazah in Amman, Jordan in 1978. ‘Hikma’ is the Arabic word for both ‘wisdom’ and ‘to be treated’.

The Hikma brand makes a clear and definitive effort to highlight its sustainability credentials revolving around the environment, society, and governance (ESGs). Specifically, they showcase how they improve the quality of life not only through access to medication, but also through equal work opportunities, good governance, and their commitment towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What’s interesting about Hikma’s brand marketing strategy is the fact that they don’t use their channels to directly promote their products. If you were to look at Hikma’s website, you would assume it’s for a health and wellness brand instead of a multinational corporation (which might also be attributed to the bold choice of ‘orange’).

Hikma website homepage

This diversified and holistic approach to brand marketing has enabled the Hikma team to truly humanize the brand through the strategic use of partnerships and sponsorships of webinars, hackathons, and environmental initiatives.

For example, the Hikma communications team uses #HikmaCares to engage with the broader community, which generally explains the net positive sentiment towards the hashtag shown below.

Sentiment around Hikma's brand over the past year

Hikma’s brand marketing strategy is the epitome of a proactive brand where it positions itself as an organization that takes a stance on issues and acts upon the community’s needs. For brands in 2021 it is crucial to reflect empathy towards their customers, as it can foster long-term positive sentiment and brand loyalty.

How 'healthy is your brand reputation? Find out here

Tabuk Pharmaceuticals: Generic medicines for a healthier community

Tabuk Pharmaceuticals is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest pharmaceutical companies, with more than 250 registered generic medicines, and over 2000 employees working across 4 manufacturing facilities.

The adoption of the Arabic language, combined with videos promoting preventive medicine, have enabled Tabuk to communicate with their audience in an organic manner. Specifically, Tabuk’s voice and narrative are largely shaped by a market development strategy: locally made generic medicines are just as safe and effective in fighting disease as the brand names.

Over the years, the Riyadh-based company created a distinguishable visual brand by adopting a camera iris as their company logo, something which does not directly correlate with a pharmaceutical company. Furthermore, the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) page clearly states the company’s commitment towards raising awareness to type 2 diabetes, which remains one of the leading public health issues facing the MENA region.

Geographic reach of #تبوك_الدوائية across the MENA region.

While Tabuk Pharmaceuticals’ brand communication strategy does not strictly revolve around the Saudi Arabian market, it appears that the audience are engaging from that part of the world, in addition to Jordan.

Pharmaceutical brand marketing strategies have definitely matured in recent years. We have seen all sides of the spectrum being implemented across different markets and across various sectors: from the light-hearted voice and tone, to the serious pharmaceutical that is largely driven by R&D and hard science. Nevertheless, marcomms teams at pharmaceutical companies are now aware of the importance of real-time brand data in order to remain relevant, in touch, and commercially competitive.

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