Case Study: Brand Personality Exploration for Anti-Psychotic in Europe


We conducted qualitative research with patients and physicians in Europe to better understand how a brand could alter its image (and better connect with prescribers).


Our client’s business issue centered on its key Central Nervous System (CNS) brand, an anti-psychotic treatment languishing in sales across Europe and with a seemingly low penetration level among physicians as a 3rd/4th line treatment.

The key research objective was to explore and identify the personality, or lack thereof, this brand possessed. The client also wanted to understand the degree to which physicians have an emotional connection to brands that they prescribe regularly.

The client planned to use the research findings to underpin a change in how they promote the brand and inject a ‘personality’ into the brand proposition (and thus move it from 3rd/4th line to 2nd line).


We conducted this qualitative study in five countries across Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain).

By conducting the patient research first, we used some output from patient interviews to gain reaction from physicians in the second stage:

  • In-person in-depth interviews with patients with bipolar disorder (sometimes together with their partners/caregivers) to understand the true nature of their condition and their relationship with medical treatments.
  • A mix of in-person in-depth interviews and focus groups with physicians (psychiatrists and primary care physicians) to gain a clear understanding of their preferred prescribing habits of anti-psychotic medications and the relationship they have with certain brands.

The patient research drew upon a variety of different projective techniques to help participants articulate their responses (e.g., using psychographics, patient diaries with strong emphasis on verbal descriptors).

The research with physicians allowed them to react to the imagery provided by patients as well as convey their own motivations for prescribing the treatments that they do, based upon personal experiences and affinity to certain brands.


We built our story on the premise that a brand operating in this market must possess a distinctive personality that allows it to occupy a unique place in the prescribing spectrum.

We recommended:

  • The brand’s positioning must convey a ‘human’ connection as well as delivery of the clinical attributes associated with anti-psychotic medication.
  • The client’s marketing materials (e.g., visual aids) could be altered to convey the aspects of emotional positioning in conjunction with the rational clinical attributes to offer the physician a more holistic patient solution.

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