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How Does Branding Affect Your Webpage Strategy?

Posted by | 1:44am on Thursday, December 4, 2008

When considering webpages related to pharma, there are a few regulated options: branded, unbranded/disease state, those paired with corporate information, and those based on a service program. 

ComputerWith the emergence of search engine marketing as a lead generator, your web presence has to be based on your strategic goals. It might include micros sites, purely branded sites, disease sites, banners, contextual advertising on other content rich sites… the list grows day by day. All of these sites form a “cloud” creating your online brand. So what is the best mix of branded and unbranded sites going forward?

The answer is, it depends.

There is no longer a perfect solution for how a company should utilize specific types of pages. Instead there needs to be a comprehensive and cohesive online strategy that meets specific strategic imperatives. It may include a combination of a product, disease-state, corporate and/or program sites. What might work for one therapy, may not work for others.

Some Basic Definitions

When considering webpages related to pharma, there are a few regulated options: branded, unbranded/disease state, those paired with corporate information, and those based on a service program. They contain different elements with different strategic imperatives:

  • Branded: Branded pharma pages give a myriad of information about a particular therapy. Byetta.com is a good example. The website prominently displays the therapy logo and there is information about the therapy, insurance coverage, and other product information.
  • Unbranded/disease state: An unbranded page focuses on the disease state rather than a particular therapy. These are commonly used for educational purposes and may be sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, but not directly branded. LillyDiabetes.com is an example of a disease state website with subtle branding, but focusing instead on patient and disease information.
  • Paired with corporate information: Sometimes pharma companies may just mention a particular therapy on their corporate site, rather than create a separate branded or disease state website. This allows for investors to know of a product without spending resources promoting it. Humulin for type 1 and type 2 diabetes is an example.
  • Program site: Sometimes brands create separate program sites to help bolster a therapy’s service offerings or to provide another benefit to their patient population. To explain and brand this experience, a separate website may be set up. InspiredByDiabetes.com is an example of one such site.

These four types of sites, used in tandem by the diabetes patient population, serve to form an overall user experience.

Strategic factors

It is important that the type of webpage matches your strategic imperative. Here are some aspects to consider:

Dr. Google is working 24/7. 95% of physicians report that they use a search engine to find medical information online and 81% of online patients start with a search engine like Google.


Consider exactly what type of audience you hope to attract. Doctors and patients are common, but consider whether certain pages on your site would be better served by attracting caregivers, nurses, parents or investors. Your content should use the same terms as your audience.

You should employ as many webpages as required to cover your topic without veering off-topic. For some therapies, 3-5 pages are enough; other therapies many require more. The amount of content is less important than the value your audience derives from it. The best way to determine this is by carefully monitoring your analytics. “Listening” to your visitors and making changes to content based on their actions.

A Cohesive Brand Experience

Since the web is so interconnected, the experience your visitor has on each of your sites will create a brand experience for them. Their brand impressions are based on more than a visual logo but on how useful the information is, how easy the site is to navigate and if there are different sites, how they relate to each other and create a cohesive story about the therapy.

Your Online Presence

Similar to email statistics, where it used to be a stated fact that Tuesdays at 9:00 am was the best time to send an email, they’re now saying you need to test and find the solution based on your audience, messaging and industry. In other words, “it depends”.

How have you used branded, unbranded, program or corporate webpages? Have you learned lessons about targeting the correct audience with particular webpages? Please share your comments and suggestions below.

(Image courtesy of killer_pat_007 via Flickr)

About Wendy White

Since founding Siren Interactive in 1999, Wendy has been recognized as a thought leader at the intersection of niche pharma brands, patient empowerment and online marketing. Her vision for how the internet can facilitate interactions and provide crucial information that patients, caregivers and their healthcare providers previously struggled to find has propelled Siren to the forefront of relationship marketing for rare disorder therapies.

View other posts from Wendy

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