Patients are up to 50% more likely to stop taking a medication if its color changes, which often happens when a script is refilled with a generic. Pharma brand managers and market researchers need to pay
careful attention to color of product and marketing materials. Why? Color can create emotional associations, maintain brand consistency, differentiate from competitors and reduce medical errors.

Studies have shown color affects a person’s feelings when swallowing a pill or liquid, or applying an ointment. For example, people feel that pink medications are sweeter in taste compared to the same meds with the same ingredients in a different color. However, this of course does not mean everyone should use pink; it depends on what your medication or medical device is treating. For example, patients would not want a red ointment to treat a painful skin rash.

 

What Should Pharma Marketers Do?
Pharma marketers can use color to their advantage because drugs and their marketing materials usually work better when their color matches the intended outcome rather than the symptoms of the condition. For example, cheery yellows make the most effective antidepressants while maroon is often a poor choice for drugs and marketing materials related to antidepressants. Market research is a good way to test colors and/or wording on marketing materials before a large campaign is initiated. Marketing companies who routinely reach HCPs and patients are also a good resource to advise or create sample tests for these important decisions.

Lastly, pharma marketers need to make HCPs aware that any changes in medication appearance may increase their patients' non-adherence.

Are you communicating messages to patients and HCPs in the right colors?

 

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