passing the baton

Pietro Crovetto, VP Global Inhalation Strategy at Lupin Pharmaceuticals with vast experience from the international pharmaceutical industry at various prominent positions within commerce, marketing, strategy, and business development, for a variety of companies including Novartis, Chiesi, ALK Abelló and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Pietro has been a client to Opticom for over 10 years, both at previous positions and now, working for Lupin. He gives the background to his experiences with Opticom International Research, focusing on the latest Lupin project Opticom conducted, that he was personally involved in.

PietroLupin
Pietro Crovetto VP, Global Inhalation Strategy, Lupin Pharmaceuticals

The main objective was to map the unmet needs of healthcare professionals and patients within asthma and COPD in terms of currently available innovative products’ attributes, in order to develop Lupin’s product so that it would satisfy those unmet needs better than competitor products.

Another aim was to enable Lupin to differentiate its product, including the services and monitoring systems offered, from existing alternatives and competitor products.

In the end, the main goal was to create a product that improves patient quality of life through ease-of-use, thus leading to improved compliance and lower treatment cost, something which would also lead to obvious advantages for healthcare professionals as well as payers.

The targeted markets in this project were the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The information was gathered in two modules, starting with desk research identifying relevant respondents with whom in-depth telephone interviews were then conducted.

Describing this project, Pietro explains that his idea was to monitor the emerging changes in therapeutic approaches and especially the interest in new combination products within the treatments of asthma and COPD. Basically to get a European overview of the present situation and to identify whether their designed new combination product was going to be successful or not and whether there were any differences across the European markets in this respect.

Pietro continues: I wanted to benchmark, to interview “real” clinicians, not opinion leaders, because there is a critical difference here. Opinion leaders are up to speed with the latest research and treatment options, as they often have done this research themselves, while clinicians might very well have heard about new stuff, after all they are specialists, but they are not necessarily as enthusiastic to adopt something new as the opinion leaders.

Choosing Opticom to supply Lupin with the market research was based on a combination of different factors; first of all good experiences in the past, resulting in a strong sense of reliability. According to Pietro, a key asset of Opticom is the fact that they offer both a very knowledgeable staff who understand the complex medical issues as well as their multilingual skills: “It helps a lot when we do not have to explain so much to a supplier and more time can be spent on the actual research, on the specifics of the projects!”

Sometimes the challenge with international market research, Pietro explains, is that you end up with the “Chinese whisper”, meaning I brief you, you brief somebody else and then that person briefs somebody else in turn, and then at the end of the day, you are not sure what went missing and where. So based on that, the two main points on why to choose Opticom are definitely their knowledge of the field and its multilingual staff based in one office. A third reason, according to Pietro, actually equally important: every time he has worked with Opticom, the adopted strategy has been to do 20-30% of the interviews, then pause for evaluation of the questionnaire, the response and answers so far: simply put: is it working? The Project Managers at Opticom are very flexible here and that is greatly appreciated, to optimize the quality of the output.

Concerning what the market insights provided by Opticom have meant to Lupin and what has been most valuable, Pietro points to the decision to invest in particular combinations of treatments, emphasizing that this is the most critical stage in their R&D and business development without going into specifics.

The results have also influenced their business decision-making, being added into their forecasting, because even if the research was qualitative, it was still very helpful to better understand what direction the market was taking. All in all, the insights have been used on several levels and according to Pietro, further investment decisions within asthma and COPD are definitely going to be based on the results from this research as well.

Asked about the return of investment, Pietro confesses: “To be honest, we didn’t count on ROI, but it was not at all expensive considering the huge amounts that have been spent on this treatment area, so the money we spent with Opticom was definitely worth it, more than worth it!”

According to Pietro, the main benefits of this specific project were that his team at Lupin got an additional level of insights on a practical level: there is a crucial difference between the people who work on the front line with patients and the opinion leaders, the high science: “We need to have a balance of both because we cannot ignore high science but at the end of the day we need to understand nurses on the floor, having issues reconstituting the product, for example. That is really a very valuable difference to us and something that Opticom understands. So I am very satisfied, more than satisfied and very happy with the co-operation with Opticom!”

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Niko Kujala has been working within the product segment of breakers and switches at ABB Protection and Connection in Vaasa, Finland since 2011 and he has held different international positions within both sales and production. He gives the background to his first experience with Opticom International Research: We knew that we wanted to conduct customer satisfaction research on a global level in order to better understand our customers’ needs, basically asking them: What were the needs in different fields and what do we as a supplier need to do better?

Niko ABB
Niko Kujala, Global Sales support Specialist, ABB Protection and Connection

In the process of selecting a market research agency, the ABB team had five competing potential suppliers providing quotes to look into. Niko continues: After evaluating the different options, we found that Opticom’s offer was by far the clearest, it was obvious that Opticom had made an effort to get to know our business and therefore understood our needs. In addition to that, the price level was also good.

Niko says that the quick initial response to any question that ABB had concerning the designed project as well as the smooth communication with the Opticom project team overall were further factors that tilted ABB to choose Opticom in the end.

The customer satisfaction survey covered more than 20 countries worldwide, with strong involvement from the local offices to make sure the most important customers per market were interviewed.

We got very valuable insights concerning client needs in in an ever more competitive market: what our clients appreciate about our products and services, how we can help them improve their own business, and also indications on where there is still need for improvement.

Niko explains that a lot of actions have been taken by them at ABB after the results in the final report were presented and statistical files and individual interview transcripts were delivered. Most decisions concern increasing and improving their direct communication with clients. He reveals that their business has grown since the research was completed and that the insights definitely have further supported this growth.

When asked what he would regard as the main benefits with this specific project, Niko points out that it was easy doing business with Opticom, that the communication was always smooth, the offer was prepared really well and that Opticom understood our needs in this kind of research right away. Therefore, wrapping up, he would definitely recommend that ABB would go with Opticom again, whenever the need for market insights arises.

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Francesco De Rosa, with vast experience from the international pharma industry at various prominent positions within sales, brand and business managing, gives the background to one of his first experiences with Opticom International Research: “At the time, I had taken over a very important Pfizer brand with a five-year legacy of declining market shares and I needed to get a 360 degree understanding of the decision-making process within the growth hormone therapy area” he explains and continues: “My scope was clear: bend the trend!”.

To gain this crucial understanding, Francesco turned to Opticom, a company which had previously delivered very good and useful results in projects for another pharmaceutical brand he had worked with. In the project of close co-operation that followed, Opticom conducted about 100 qualitative interviews with parents, paediatricians, and nurses to understand their different needs and reasoning within this therapy area.

The research discovered many “leaks” that delayed children’s access to treatment as well as large regional differences. Based on Opticom’s comprehensive analysis of the patient journey and treatment rationales, Francesco was able to change his company’s strategy, including a relocation of resources, better aligned to the customer landscape, as well as to improve communication around the value of treatment. In addition, the team could optimize its different support tools to physicians, nurses and parents, in order to facilitate earlier diagnose and better compliance.

Furthermore, Francesco and his colleagues came up with an improved treatment device to deal with an issue rated very important among respondents in the survey: Ease-of-use.

He describes the direct impact of this new, very valuable market knowledge: “Thanks to the new insights we designed a new device for the treatment of growth hormones deficiencies among children in order to meet the single most important factor in the choice of treatment: Easy-of-use of the device. This resulted in a patent available in more than 100 countries worldwide”.

As a result of the new strategy, the brand soon turned decline into growth and has been continuing this positive development ever since.

According to Francesco, the generation of updated customer insights is key to their business. Understanding both traditional and non-traditional stakeholders, their needs, as well as the patient journey and the decision-making process is fundamental in forming a successful business strategy.

In these situations you need a consulting company with a strong focus on quality, and with a thorough process for both research as well as analysis that delivers real and actionable results. That is where Opticom comes in as a very valuable partner with the staff’s vast knowledge and experience of the pharma industry:  “They are methodical in their understanding of customer needs and in making sure that the setup of the project, from the very start to result implementation, is consistent and with a great focus on details and delivery” says Francesco, who would definitely engage Opticom again to gain strategic insights and/or to facilitate optimized communication.

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There are many people who have been part of Opticom’s history and have been valuable in contributing to our success. Our roots stem from research and analysis, which has provided our clients with true customer knowledge. This knowledge has served as the foundation for decisions that aim at creating bottom line value for our customers across the industry. Numerous client testimonials has shown that research pays off. Over the years, we have added consulting to our offering, helping our clients to reach insights that allow even better decision making. These are the two disciplines that we have built our success upon, and it has allowed us to work with an incredible list of globally leading companies. It has been our privilege to serve all these companies on a long-term basis.

We added communication as the third leg in our business in 2014, and thus today the Opticom Group offers global research, consulting and communication to all of our clients.

Our mission is to help our customers create value by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication. We are a truly global company, covering over 30 nationalities active on 6 continents in more than 100 countries. Since our foundation in 1987 we have undertaken hundreds of international assignments across the world.

We thank all our clients for trusting Opticom with your important projects, and we also thank all of our co-workers and business partners for their hard work and commitment to Opticom.

Finally, we are very much looking forward to the next 30 years and beyond. We can also assure you that we will continue to be passionate about understanding your key challenges and in finding solutions that deliver true value and ROI.

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Stockholm, Sweden, November 3rd, 2016 – Opticom International Research now presents the results of the 12th edition of the “Brand Equity Tracking Survey – Office Paper”. This industry standard benchmark survey for office paper brands has been conducted among
1500 professional end-users across 5 countries in Europe. The countries covered are Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.

The top European office paper brands according to the Opticom Brand Equity Index are:

Ranking 2016 (2013*) Brand Owner of the brand
1 (2) Navigator The Navigator Company
2 (1) Xerox Antalis
3 (4) Lyreco Lyreco
4 (3) HP HP (manufactured and distributed exclusively by International Paper)
5 (7) Staples Staples

* Compared with the ranking for the five same countries in 2013.

Among the brands qualifying this year, Navigator, Xerox and HP have been evaluated by more respondents in 2016 than in 2013 and only Lyreco has qualified in all markets in 2016. When comparing the ranking for the five countries sampled in 2016 versus 2013, two brands are no longer qualifying: Discovery and Office Depot.

Navigator has doubled its Spontaneous Awareness Index since 2013, while showing steady levels in the other indices (Quality & Association index as well as Loyalty index) reaching the first position in all criteria and taking the overall leadership. Xerox, 2013’s leading brand, dropped to second place due to a lower score in the Spontaneous Awareness Index.

Lyreco and HP swapped places mainly due to higher Quality & Association and Loyalty indices for Lyreco. Staples qualified again but shows a strong decrease in its Top-of-Mind index and a loss of few points in all the other indices although the brand did improve its recommendation index.

When looking at the ranking in each individual country, we can see that more brands are qualifying on an individual country level such as Canon and Viking in the United Kingdom, Office Depot in France or Plano in Germany.

While most of the rebranded reseller brands have maintained their position or dropped in the ranking, it is still clear that the majority of the brands in this top list are corporate brands. Only one pure product brand has qualified on the overall European level: The Navigator Company’s Navigator.

“Beside ranking the most valuable brands of Office Paper in Europe, we explore where and how the brands are bought, how the brands and suppliers are selected but also the environmental issues around the office paper brands, giving a deeper dimension to the information provided in this research” comments Cécilia Vassal Nyholm, Project Manager. “And knowing how actively our clients are using the results in their communication with their customers is very rewarding to us.”

About Opticom’s Brand Equity Index and the Office Paper Tracking Survey

Opticom’s Brand Equity Index model assesses the impact of individual office paper brands, benchmarks the leading brands against each other and evaluates the success of individual brand strategies over time through four indexed key drivers of brand equity: spontaneous awareness, top-of-mind, qualities & associations and loyalty.

In order to improve the brand equity of their brands, brand owners should analyse the individual results for the different sub-indexes – both in comparison to the last survey as well as in relation to other brands – and determine where improvements can and need to be made. Is the channel strategy appropriate? Do the brands get enough support in their marketing efforts? Do the office paper buyers understand that the things our brands are good at are important? Is the perception of the brand’s performance fair? Why have other brands with a similar positioning as ours been able to achieve more than our brand?

You can learn more by ordering the “Brand Equity Tracking Survey – Office Paper 2016”. The survey is based on 1500 interviews with professional end-users of office paper (in SOHO, SMEs and corporations) in 5 European countries (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain). The survey has an overall purpose to identify and track: Brand Awareness, Brand Performance, Brand Loyalty and Brand Equity measured through Opticom’s Brand Equity Index (BEI).

In addition to issues directly related to brand equity, the 2016 edition of the survey also studies buying behaviour by looking at buying determinants and drivers for brand choice, relevant communication and purchasing channels, as well as how professional purchasers of office paper view environmental friendliness and which brands that are leading in that respect.

By looking into who the main suppliers are of the main brands bought, the study also for the first time ever clearly maps the channels through which brands are bought as well as which are the main brands sold by the leading suppliers.

For more information, or ordering of the study, please contact Cecilia Vassal Nyholm at:

Phone: +46 (0)8 50 30 90 04 • Mobile: +46 (0)708 39 90 04 • E-mail: cecilia@opticom.se

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