“But Wait, There’s More!”—Building Trust in Pharma Advertising

Dear House Rules,

A lot of the information from the market research our company is conducting with HCPs tells me they view anything coming from a drug company with suspicion. As a pharma marketer, how do I build trust with prescribers?


Take My Hand – I Don’t Bite

Dear Harmless,

Trust is a significant and growing problem for those marketing to physicians. Between patients frequenting their offices who’ve seen DTC advertisements and demand a specific drug (for a condition they may not even have) and insurers placing ever-greater restrictions on which medicines can and cannot be prescribed, HCPs feel more manipulated every day.

There are, however, some ways to circumvent that and establish your company and your product as credible and trustworthy. For one, you can build and maintain trust by presenting your content in familiar, established locations from which physicians already get much of their information:

  • Specialty Medical Societies: Let’s say you’re charged with marketing the hypothetical product Cardio-GR8, a mesh used in coronary angioplasty procedures. Place a journal ad in the publication of a professional society just for interventional cardiologists or sponsor a video on that organization’s website. Cardio-GR8 automatically benefits from the linkage.
  • Patient Advocacy Associations: Cardiologists undoubtedly send their patients to the websites of major patient-centered organizations for coronary angioplasty patients. Make sure Cardio-GR8 is there. The primary audience may be consumers, but HCPs will see the content as well, and register that Cardio-GR8 provided it.
  • Established Online Medical Platforms: HCPs use technology every day in the course of their jobs. There’s an app for automatically looking up medication dosages, a website that provides downloadable unbranded patient education for every imaginable condition. Make sure Cardio-GR8 is a presence whenever HCPs are thinking about angioplasty.

It’s also a great idea to partner with key opinion leaders to advocate for your brand. The value of KOLs as message deliverers cannot be overstated—they confer instant credibility on your brand. KOLs are voices of authority in their fields of discipline, and can be leveraged to summarize complex information into important takeaways. For example, coronary angioplasty is a complex procedure and not right for everyone—a KOL can discuss those risks, and mention that Cardio-GR8 has a lower complication rate as well. Try to film your KOLs—you can repurpose that content in many ways (emails, edetails, podcasts, website videos, etc.)

Building trust with physicians in this ad-saturated world isn’t easy, but it can be done. Make sure your message is in the right place, targeting the right people, and delivered in a way that enhances the credibility of your company. Your best bet is to partner with an experienced branding agency to craft a strategy and tactics designed to inspire and maintain customer trust.

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

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Sunny White
Founder & CEO of Xavier Creative House