Clinical research is a crucial step in pharmaceutical development as it lays the foundation for the future success or failure of the compound. This process is defined by the effort and dedication of the scientists and researchers working to improve the lives people around the world. However, branding is beginning to play an increasingly important role in the clinical trial stage. A well branded trial serves to develop name recognition and help the trial to stand out in a crowd. This kind of positive attention is necessary to attract participants and drive interest in both the medical world and consumer markets.
Companies have been finding it difficult to attract a target audience outside of the medical research community for their clinical trials. This is due, in part, to the complexity of the new molecules or compounds being tested, which have simply become too technical for the average consumer to understand and remember. Whether they are appealing directly to potential trial participants or to doctors who help in the recommendation and recruiting process, they will only be able to effectively speak to these audiences if the trial can be remembered and understood.
Typically, descriptive yet lengthy titles are used to refer to the trial. While these titles describe the exact purpose or subject of a trial perfectly to the medical-research community, they may not resonate with a more layman audiences or even with everyday medical professionals, two groups that play a significant role in the success of the trial. A strategy that companies have started gravitating towards to is developing branded names or acronyms for trials. This makes sense, after all it’s much easier to say to a friend, “have you read about that CHARISMA trial?” instead of “have you heard of the Clopidogrel for High Atherothrombotic Risk, Ischemic Stabilization, Management, and Avoidance trial?” In fact, this was backed up by an NEJM study that reported trials with acronyms can attract five times as many participants as trials without.
There have even been a few companies daring enough to create very bold, sometimes misleading or even overpromising acronyms, such as ALIVE, CURE, and SAVED. This creative direction would never work under the strict regulatory eye of the FDA, but because they are completely hands off when it comes to clinical trial naming, companies are allowed to take a much more direct creative approach, something exceedingly rare in today’s pharmaceutical environment.
While the ability to be creative with clinical trial naming may be exciting to pharmaceutical companies, it is important to bear in mind that the branding should be focused on creating a trial name that is memorable and meaningful to the target audience(s). By using words that are recognizable to create an identity that shares a connection with the purpose of the trial, you can resonate in the minds of that audience and begin to lay the groundwork for the future branding of the product in a way that will help the Brand resonate for years to come.