Branding in the animal health marketplace presents its own very unique challenges and differs from human health product marketing in some quite distinct and particular ways. There are of course many overlapping features between the animal and human health worlds – safety issues, clarity of labelling and prescribing protocols, ease of recognition and need for product/brand differentiation are some of the components which are common to both environments – but the wide scope of animal drug target audiences and the variability of target animal “patient” groups often require accordingly diverse branding strategies and marketing approaches.
Unlike some human health product names, animal health brands tend to be straightforwardly identified, meaningful or associative in some way and are often descriptive of functionality, benefit, species or condition. There is apparently little room in the veterinary or pet-owner world for freestanding names, or empty vessel (intentionally meaning-free) inventions. Along with many other reasons, this may be because there is naturally no possibility that the eventual, “end-user” recipients of animal drugs can make emotional or lifestyle-related associations to the product names, so the products need to speak to human audiences (companion animal owners, farmers and vets) in more categorical ways. Here we see broad differences in naming “style” that are delineated along lines dictated by either prescriber, animal type and/or condition.
Basically stated, animal health products for ‘production’, or farm, animals – aimed at farmers, vets and other industry professionals – generally have descriptive, functional and, at times, clinical-sounding trademarks. Whereas, products for domestic, or ‘companion’, animals are likely to feature names that have a more consumer-like appeal, are less scientific and, sometimes, more reassuring in feel whilst still needing to have credibility within a veterinary or animal clinic setting.
Pharmaceuticals in the livestock industry will often take tradenames that convey either therapeutic effect or suggest medical functionality or chemical ingredient. Recently approved examples of such brands include: SparMectin E (ivermectin, de-wormer for horses), Ampromed (amprolium, bovine coccidiosis treatment), Zuprevo (tildipirosin, for bovine respiratory disease), Rumensin (monensin, for improved feed efficacy in ruminants). Compare such brand names to those applied to medicine brands for companion animals, such as Comfortis (spinosad, oral canine ectoparasiticide), Bravecto (fluralaner, oral canine ectoparasiticide), Activyl (indoxacarb, topical canine/feline ectoparasiticide) and Cardalis (benazepril hydrochloride/spironolactone, oral treatment for canine heart failure).
There are clear differences between not only the two use environments (farm/home) for production and domestic animals cited above but the key target audiences (farmers/pet-owners) involved with each of the animal sets (despite the commonality of vets to both areas) are also very distinct and thereby demand appropriately different marketing communication messages. Such messages can both be transmitted not only by meaning and word-part association but also by tonality as well as overall look and feel.
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