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How to create a global retail brand on a shoe string!

From Fanfare to Flop can be a very short time in Brand and Product launches. History shows that as many as 9 out of every 10 product launches end up as financial failures.

Major corporations such as Proctor & Gamble had 12 of its’ 250 products on the market in 2002 generating more than half their revenue and a greater share of profits. Big pharmaceutical companies live or die on a single blockbuster drugs that contribute disproportionate amounts of revenue and profits.

With an average of 700 brands being launched every year into more than 2.3 million existing brands around the world currently being tracked, the chances of creating an international impact with a single brand are exceptional.


$500 million to build a global brand

To have all three brands from one small company achieve that goal within three years, not limited by the amount of financial and personnel resources available, when the estimated cost of creating a global brand is over $500 million, Alltracel Pharmaceuticals PLC had used less than $10 million inclusive to build all three with a marketing team of four.

Getting your brand or message across in an ever increasing media buzz even in your local vicinity can be expensive, so how much do you need to put your stamp on the world?

Gazillions!!!!!!! right? Wrong

It is possible to engage psychological tactics to get access to the expensive real estate of your customers’ brain. The easiest way to explain this is through an example and one where I played a significant role. Although the technology describes the benefits in wound care, the process represents a breakthrough in areas like cardiovascular health and Cosmeceuticals.

Alltracel has a patented platform technology called PolyAnhydroGlucuronicAcid or “PAGA. The benefit in wound care is that it stops bleeding.

Creation of the Brand

The first part of the exercise involved the creation of a Brand that would name and describe what it actually is. Micron sized Dispersed Oxidized Cellulose. By use of the acronym MDOC it was possible to achieve the first brand and clever association with health. To further this process it was a logical step to break it up to achieve M-DOC!

Add in the “Stops Bleeding” benefit and you have a problem/solution and target audience. Introduce innovative delivery mechanisms such as Spray on Bandages – with M-DOC, Blotting technology – with M-DOC which is similar thin film technology like Pfizers’ PocketPaks breath and another brand “Blotter” and you now have a reason why retailers got excited and took the product.

Next throw in an impregnated “Band-Aid” like adhesive dressing with M-DOC inside and you have a 5 SKU range of products and a completely new “Stops Bleeding Category”. This not only enhanced the range of products available in the First Aid section of retail and drug-stores, but also increased revenues with new value added products in what was for many years a dormant category.

Co-Branding is better than no branding

Faced with the financial resources of competition that could easily wipe the floor with the Alltracel products, the way forward was to work with the industry rather than against each company. This was done by co-branding with existing brands and retailer brands. Alltracel licensed the technology on a non-exclusive basis and delivered added value to all new users of the M-DOC technology.

This could be seen by walking into any Boots Plc retail outlet in the UK and in the First Aid section there are Boots own Brand “Stops Bleeding” range with MDOC technology being promoted along side. This spread to the US where CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens and a multitude of other drug-stores in 2005 had products with M-DOC. This spread further to have products in more than 300,000 outlets around the world in Europe, Asia and the US markets.

Building a brand is a long term project

Now having said this, building a brand is still a long term exercise and wound care is a big market with small margins. Creating a Brand requires the ability to deliver a promise.

M-DOC delivers the benefit of the science and not just the science.

People buy benefits. They want value and need to see results. Retailers need increased revenue from existing dormant product ranges. M-DOC delivers all of the above. Alltracel staked its’ claim on a very intensive, highly competitive and potentially hazardous product launch platform and delivered on its’ promise to deliver.

Finally Alltracel was acquired by a US corporation in 2008 and we did it from Sallynoggin, Co. Dublin, not Silicon Valley. At the end of the day innovation is not just about product development, it requires creative marketing and not as much money as you think!

PocketPaks is a registered trademark of Pfizer Inc. Band-Aid is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson. M-DOC and Blotter are registered trademarks of Alltracel Pharmaceuticals PLC