Thursday, October 02, 2008

What are the C.O.R.E. things to strengthen our working relationship with brand managers?

I recently replied to a question from Natalie Bourre who asked, “What top 3 things would strengthen your working relationship with medical product managers?”

Natalie is a consultant and trainer at Marketing 4 Health Inc. in Toronto, Canada. Her company provides strategic and tactical marketing expertise and training to pharmaceutical/medical clients.

She said, “I am building a website to help train new pharma / medical product managers. With your input, I will include information about working with marketing agencies. What do product managers need to know to have a strong working relationship with a marketing agency?”

Here is my answer to her:

I have benefited from a great working experience with some terrific brand managers in my career. And a few things really set these folks apart as examples of what other product managers could learn from. We also have a great client now who has formalized a review process to help guide and document the strength of our relationship.

I would apply an tool to answer your question – these are the C.O.R.E. things a brand manager should know and do:

C = Concentrated Focus
Agree on how to build Brand Value
Align on short vs. long term objectives
Set clear and consistent priorities

O = Openness
Be receptive to our point of view
Exhibit a good attitude to risk
Support creative ideas up the line
Keep the power of “no” at the right level
Establish a clear decision-making agent for the brand
Provide clear feedback on ideas turned down
Maintain transparency in the approval process
Ensure that senior management is accessible

R = Respect
Treat us like partners
Use our time and resources well
Share relevant business information regularly
Set reasonable expectation for the budget
Keep “need it yesterday” to a minimum with reasonable lead-times
Acknowledge our good work
Pay us on time

This will result in:
E = Energy
Speed the turnaround on decisions
Encourage and inspire original ideas
Visit the agency often to know the full team
Maintain a positive attitude even when things go wrong
Celebrate together when we win

We know these attributes are being achieved when our top talent asks to work with a certain brand team – and when a brand team asks to specifically works with us.

I’ve just published a new business book entitled FORWARD.FAST.: THE 6-STEP MODEL TO ACCELERATE YOUR HEALTH SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BRAND. You can read about it, and even download a free preview chapter, at

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