Tips & Tricks

Pharma Study: How to Effectively Market Your Brand During COVID-19

Lee Ann Longinotti, VP Healthcare & PharmaApr 29, 2020

During the current pandemic, pharmaceutical and healthcare brands are being presented with a unique opportunity: to truly connect with consumers and develop brand loyalty that will last for years to come. According to a March ‘Trust Barometer Study’ by Edelman, 61% of consumers stated that a brand’s response to this crisis will have huge impact on the likelihood of buying that brand in the future. And brands have a significant opportunity to breakthrough: 29% of consumers have already begun using a new brand because of the innovative or compassionate way those brands have responded to the current pandemic.

These insights clearly point in one direction: continuing to play your message during this time and telling your story in a meaningful way matter more than ever before.

Keeping Your Brand Top of Mind During COVID

Making sure you are still engaging with consumers during this time is crucial. But what is the most effective way to reach consumers right now? Pandora and Edison Research collaborated on a study that tested the impact of audio ads on Pandora compared to TV ads for the same pharmaceutical brand. Participants were divided into two test groups: the first group listened to the audio ad in a Pandora environment and the second group watched the same brand’s video ad in a TV environment.

The Pandora audio ad outperformed TV ad in several areas, including:

  • Unaided product recall 2x higher than TV
  • Consumers were 3x more likely to identify the condition the drug treats than TV
  • Pandora listeners were 47% more likely to say that they would talk to someone they know with the condition about the drug they heard advertised.

These results suggest that consumers are significantly more receptive to audio ads on Pandora than TV ads, but why is this the case? Audio is a much more emotional and personal medium. We consume music because of what it does for us emotionally. In fact, from our audience insights surveys, we’ve found that 82% of our listeners are using music to lift their mood and 42% of our listeners are listening more now because of the current COVID crisis.

This is a game-changer, especially considering Pandora’s 1:1, curated experience for each listener. Whereas TV is a mass media platform, audio is a personal one. We can reach the right consumers in the right moment and even in the right mood. This type of personal relevancy is why Pandora is such an effective platform.

What Messaging is Most Effective During COVID?

Right now, consumers are looking for inspiration and sympathy from brands. It’s important for brands to show genuine concern for their customers’ well-being. Relevant creative that delivers this message through a lens of sensitivity around everyone’s new normal will earn your brand a halo that will last for a long time to come.

Most pharma brands are conducting great work right now and it’s important to let consumers know. We’ve seen anecdotal success with the following messages:

  • Expansion of patient support programs to help newly unemployed Americans keep access to their important medicines
  • Locking in pricing for important medicines so consumers don’t have to take on higher costs for meds they require
  • Educating consumers about Telemedicine as a safe and convenient way to get access to doctors for new prescriptions, refills, drug changes
  • Communicating to consumers how hard they’re working on finding medicines and vaccines for Covid 19

The reason that these particular examples performed so well goes back to the idea of contextualizing your message for today’s environment. Each of these focuses on the listener’s experience and provides valuable information that is directly relevant to their situation. Expressing genuine empathy and making sure what you’re saying is beneficial for your audience is key to navigating this difficult time and building brand equity for the future.

Furthermore, while these examples are a good starting point for ideas, it’s also important to leverage what works best for you and your audience. Pandora receives over 1B data points a day, giving us deep insights into behavior, music preferences, devices and so much more. We know what your audience expects in this pandemic and we’re here to help you create your own unique message with humanity, purpose and relevance.

Marketer Takeaways

  • Consumers want to hear from brands right now. During uncertain times, it’s important for brands to be sensitive to consumer preferences and circumstances. Building trust right now will have lasting impacts that can only benefit brands in the long term.
  • Relevancy means receptivity. Our study showed that consumers were much more likely to recall brand and product names on an audio platform than on a TV platform. These are proof points of Pandora’s efficacy as a highly receptive environment for pharma brands.
  • Just like every consumer is unique, every brand is unique. Your messaging should be authentic and unique to your brand. Leverage data and insights to understand exactly what your audience needs to hear from YOU right now.

Pandora is here to help you navigate through this new time. We recently launched SoundCheck, a place where you can find trends and insights about the impact of the current crisis, updates to HIPAA, and resources for optimizing your creative with Studio Resonate. Let us know how we can best help you.


Edelman, ‘2020 Trust Barometer Special Report’, March 26, 2020 Music Watch, Q2 2019 Report* Pandora Soundboard Study, COVID 19, March, 2020 Edison Research Study, January 2020 Centers for Disease Control, 2019 MediSafe Consumer Study, 2020

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