However big or small it is, positioning a product, diagnostic, or device early in its development process is smart marketing. A “begin with the end in mind” approach makes all the difference in the world in terms of a brand’s eventual success—or its failure. In the biopharma world, the best time to start positioning is after Phase II data clearly show the strongest product attributes but early enough to influence the design of Phase III trials. Early brand positioning is the foundation of the brand because it influences the entire development process as well as the impression or perception you eventually create for customers.

To determine the essence of positioning, think about what you want the brand to stand for in the minds of your target audience. A common definition of positioning appeared in an article in 2005 by Bill Robertson: “Positioning is the action by which we create in the minds of our target audience a perception regarding our product that positively differentiates it from its competition.” Once you know what you want the brand to stand for and you know the story you want to tell to establish that positioning, you should pursue the data package to support it. This early positioning becomes the vision that drives the clinical data package and eventually the brand’s approved label, which defines the boundaries for all promotional communications moving forward.