The Secret to Growth? Adapt Your Brand

One of our missions at HS&M is to bring to the forefront tools and techniques to bring our readers best practices in the industry. While we usually share lessons learned through direct success stories, we have heard so much about Klick Health’s new Adaptive Brand Playbook that we reached out to see if we could find a way to bring it to our readers.

Klick was gracious enough to allow us to give you an overview of the playbook, its origins and offer it to our readers. With over $30 billion spent on medical marketing in the United States alone, this seemed like a useful service to help make your marketing more efficient.


We all want to know what’s coming next, what HCPs and patients want, and how to communicate our differentiation to them better than any of our competitors.

Leerom Segal, co-founder and CEO of Klick Health, set his agency on the path of helping clients discover those things. “For decades, there’s been a gap between what sales and marketing have wanted to achieve – a highly effective personalized message delivered at just the right time – and the ability to deliver and measure it,” he said. “Over the last few years, technology has helped close that gap, and we wanted to understand marketers’ understanding of current technology, and barriers to using it.”

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In their exploration, they discovered that life sciences marketers may know the current state of the art but fall short in building infrastructures and policies that are adaptive based on a single view of each customer. It’s that adaptivity that Klick set out to quantify.

The result was what Klick calls the Adaptive Brand Playbook. What makes an Adaptive Brand? We spent some time with Peter Flaschner, Klick’s Managing Director of Brand Experience, who notes, “an Adaptive Brand is able to rapidly take advantage of the changes in the market, new targeting methods, new channels, new messaging opportunities. One that gets much closer to the needs of the patient and the needs of the physician. It is the opposite of setting a message once and never changing it. It goes in the face of the traditional methods and focuses on building a brand that everything can sit on top of and change without losing its footing.”

The Adaptive Brand Playbook addresses this monumental shift from old approach of one-to-many sales and marketing to the new model of one-to-one. “The Adaptive Brand Playbook outlines the approach we’ve honed over the last 22 years working exclusively with life sciences brands,” says Segal. It deals with brand identity, target audiences, precision of messaging, media strategy, pre-commercial activities (like KOL and influencer identification), and more – the entire spectrum of strategic decisions that contribute to successful marketing campaigns.

Key takeaways tell us that adaptive brands:

  • nimbly evolve
  • are grown, not built
  • cost less
  • are best achieved by starting sooner
  • go deep and forge new paths
  • discover new processes and are adaptive in action

Building an adaptive brand revolves around answering and re-answering a series of questions.

  • What do we know to be true?
  • What could we do?
  • What should we do?
  • What will we do?
  • How will we do it?

And it touches the entire process. How do we develop creative? How do we map out the totality of the ecosystem? What is the experience blue print? How do we orchestrate and execute a launch? What are the benefits? Peter highlighted a few:

  • Being able to manage a 5 year launch plan and communicate to affiliates in a way that allows them the autonomy to customize messages for their immediate market and still stay on target
  • Providing a scientific and messaging platform that supports the wide variety of programs, from a scientific conference happening in Berlin to a local marketing campaign or an internal all hands meeting
  • Incorporating the concept of building a better problem so we understand the world more broadly than in the past and incorporate digital ethnography, behavioral studies, real world evidence, and identify areas to have the most impact
  • Leveraging the value of storytelling and moving beyond the static patient journey and targeting three to four large segments to creating more precise targeting and individualization


“Data is at the heart of the Adaptive Brand Playbook process,” Peter says. “It provides a platform for creativity and connection. So regular feedback on a cadence that can be actioned upon by the organization is critical.” He explains that all the elements in an adaptive marketing ecosystem work as both message platforms and sensors. “The secret is to collate the data in a single view so that advanced analytics can be performed on the whole dataset. This is necessary to establish what is actually driving behavior, versus what was the last touch point.”

To offer real world experiences while respecting client confidentiality, The Adaptive Brand Playbook contains a hybrid case study on a product Klick calls “Rellyant.” The Rellyant brand is an amalgam of several different real-world brands their teams have worked with over the years. Other sections cover The Case for Change, Building a Better Problem, Tension Point Brief, Brand Idea vs. Brand Positioning, Moments that Matter More, Orchestrating the Ecosystem for Launch, A Brand Experience Blueprint, and Anticipating New Potential.


What’s the power of the playbook? Over the past 18 months, Klick has helped several large organizations adopt an adaptive marketing model. One, in oncology, saw an 11-time increase in year-over-year diagnoses as a result of applying an adaptive model to its DTC program – without changing its overall budget. That’s a metric any client can love.

In sum, the aim of the adaptive approach is to help brands achieve their full market potential. It contains real-world research, insights, and creative in its capacious 230- page volume, designed in a sleek plexiglass case with an integrated 21-inch HD video screen to provide a robust multi-media experience. It’s both comprehensive and easy to follow, thanks to a stepby- step blueprint on how to build and activate brands that adapt and thrive in today’s fast-paced, ever evolving market.

Having worked with some of the biggest brands in the industry, Klick has had significant experience strategizing, creating and analyzing the trajectory of brand success, as is also evidenced by their mountain of awards and recognition from Cannes Lions, Deloitte and other prestigious watchers of the industry.

Flaschner adds “An adaptive brand is grown, not built. It goes beyond traditional brand planning, medical strategy, and creative inputs because it contains the code necessary to adapt and thrive. An adaptive brand is better on Day One because it is built on better insights and it’s expressed with greater relevancy. It will be better on Day 100, because its systems and platforms will have evolved, and it will be better every day thereafter through its life, because it will continue to outperform expectations.”


The Adaptive Brand Playbook provides clear and actionable insights, as well as practical tools to help life science marketers. But, says Flaschner, as much as the Adaptive Brand Playbook is designed to coach marketers through the adaptive brand building approach, it’s also designed to inspire them with a captivating, creative design and form factor.

We are pleased to be able to offer this playbook to our readers. To request your copy of the Adaptive Brand Playbook, go to

July / August 2019

Why I Work In Healthcare