Differentiating household and consumer pharmaceutical brands


After much research and development work you have the best moisturiser, baby product, mouthwash out there. You know that it has the ideal fragrance, texture, ingredients of any in your category.

The problem is the consumers – or maybe the retail buyers – just don’t seem to get why it is better than the products that they already have.

You can bang on about how great your product is as much as you like. You can shout about the superior ingredients, the great formulation, how effective or sustainable it is, you can even give away loads of samples, but consumers, and retail buyers alike, can be very obstinate. They like what they have already got. It has worked for them up until now, why should they change?

No one is going your buy your product just because it is the best in the category. They will buy it because they believe that it is the best.

This belief is an emotional response to their experience of the brand, it is not a rational response to its ingredients list or to the wonderful presentation or advertising that you have put together.

Your product is not differentiated by its ingredients, formulation or fragrance. It is differentiated by the way that it makes the consumer feel.

This is not about mouthwash delivering freshness, baby shampoo offering gentle cleaning or painkillers eradicating pain. These are the final destinations and are common across the category.

This is about the emotional journey that your product takes your consumer on from communications, the pack, the opening of the pack, through the experience journey from first encounter to the end. There will be some obvious differences between your brand and the competitors and some much more subtle ones.

 Each element of this experience prompts an emotional reaction in the consumer. Thus your brand will take the consumer on a unique emotional journey. It is this journey that is the essence of your brand.

It is this emotional journey that differentiates your brand from its competitors.

When you can articulate this emotional journey and how and why it is different from their current products. When you can identify the elements of your emotional journey that differentiate your product from their current favourite. When you can lead the consumer to finding out for themselves how your product delivers differently and better from the others. This is when you can capture their interest.

This is not just another mouth wash or baby shampoo. These are different, and when they try them for themselves they will find that they are different. They will deliver a different emotional journey, they will make the consumer feel different from what they currently use.

It is not your great taste, fragrance or ingredients that differentiate your product. All your competitors have great taste, fragrance and ingredients. It is the emotional journey that it takes your consumer on that makes the difference.

When you understand that journey, each moment of that journey not just the end point, then you can differentiate your product.

Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic:

Providing Clarity on the Psychological relationships between consumers and brands