Effective strategic brand planning and plan of action (POA) rollouts are key to successfully navigating the increasingly complex pharmaceutical market. However, the brand planning approach used by many life science leaders has not been optimized and adapted to the realities of today. Especially, while external stakeholder meetings such as advisory boards have moved to a largely virtual/hybrid format, internal brand planning meetings are lagging behind.

Further, well-designed and effective strategic plans need to be both comprehensive and straightforward, structured and agile, and data-driven and focused. In reality, many teams tend to rehash the same ideas year after year, with only slight modifications. Others build in too many strategic imperatives. As a result, they lose focus and may produce a suboptimal brand plan.

1. Inefficient and incomplete insight-gathering

In many companies, the strategic brand planning process is rigid and meetings are run the same way today as they were over a decade ago. Likewise, the ways that brand teams gather insights on the strategic and tactical imperatives typically include only basic market research and real-time advisory boards (in-person or over standard web meeting platforms), meaning that they are missing out on diverse perspectives from global advisors unable to participate due to geography, time zone, or language barriers.

2. Rigid processes

The internal brand planning process tends to be lengthy, rigid, and overly complex; the opposite of streamlined and enjoyable. At times, there is also a lack of accountability or confusion about who is owning what, especially when multiple cross-functional teams are involved.

3. Old and outdated frameworks

Brand planning is a highly resource-intensive process, especially when following old frameworks and legacy structures. Some Pharma executives are resistant to change and hesitant to fully embrace digital transformation.

Furthermore, many life science leaders lack a mechanism to visualize all of the different moving parts or do not have an integrated view of the different perspectives of their cross-functional team members. As a result, they are unable to gather clear, focused, and actionable strategic insights and struggle to reach a consensus despite countless alignment meetings and discussions.


  • Adding asynchronous virtual touchpoints between real-time meetings and replacing all in-person encounters with hybrid meetings in order to overcome language and time zone/scheduling barriers, allow global participation, diversify perspectives, and optimize insight-gathering.
  • Leveraging an easy-to-use, customizable, all-in-one online platform with a large portfolio of life science-specific, innovative tools for all virtual/hybrid meetings. This will ensure a streamlined and highly efficient experience with minimal barriers to entry and exit, as well as improved creativity.
  • Partnering with a vendor that acts as an extension of the team and provides end-to-end support, including the platform itself, strategy, technical support, meeting facilitation, and reporting.
  • Working with a dedicated team of strategic, medical, and digital experts to help with the company’s digital transformation agenda and provide behind-the-scenes support at all stages of the brand planning session in order to:


Streamline and simplify the brand planning process.


Develop a clear vision for the role and responsibility of each functional team.


Reduce the number of meetings needed and shorten decision-making times.


Minimize digital overwhelm.


Uncover unmet needs.


Break down “firewalls” between global and local cross-functional teams to ensure that all of the right people are consulted.


Facilitate and optimize cross-functional global and local alignment and collaboration.


Clearly articulate strategic priorities, operational goals, and implementation tactics.

All brand planning meetings and related discussions are moved to an all-in-one safe, secure, and 100% Pharma-compliant virtual platform. To optimize participant engagement, the client works with strategic experts to help them choose the most appropriate virtual tools and to plan the agenda and workshops. The planned in-person meetings are reduced in number and frequency and converted to Hybrid Meetings with added asynchronous (over-time, anytime) meetings in between. This helps augment the real-time meetings by preparing participants and allowing more time for review and reflection, resulting in an increased quality of insights as participants can provide more well-thought-out and unbiased responses.

The new-and-improved hybrid brand planning process includes

  • A deep-dive business review, including of brand positioning and key barriers.
  • Insight-gathering and SWOT analysis with representatives from all cross-functional teams to gather diverse perspectives and uncover unmet needs.
  • Development of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals.
  • Selection of appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • Co-creation of the strategic brand plan and determination of key tactical initiatives to focus on using a modified Delphi technique and a variety of virtual tools.

Virtual Brand Planning/Strategic Sessions

Optimize your brand planning sessions by virtualizing your discussions/workshops and working with strategic virtual engagement experts.

  • Opt for a mix of asynchronous pre-work and synchronous virtual/hybrid meetings to meet all strategic objectives in an as efficient as possible manner.
  • Leverage a large variety of best-in-class, interactive asynchronous virtual tools, including discussion forums; survey, polling, selection, and annotation tools; mapping exercises, and more to spark creativity and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Optimize engagement during synchronous meetings through advanced polling and whiteboarding tools and fun breakout sessions.
  • Conduct SWOT analyses and mind mapping exercises asynchronously and/or in real-time for a deep-dive into the current state of the brand, new scientific data, global plans, brand objectives, and key tactical initiatives.
  • Use a modified (virtual) Delphi technique to align on the proposed strategic initiatives and overall brand plan.
  • Strategic alignment: The hybrid (asynchronous + synchronous) approach allows continuous collection of participant feedback over time so that the cross-functional team can align on key strategies and tactical initiatives more efficiently. Adding asynchronous touchpoints between Hybrid or Web Meetings brings ideas together and helps tie up loose ends more efficiently.
  • Identification of unmet needs and core strategic and behavioral imperatives: Conducting virtual SWOT analyses and needs assessments helps build the foundation needed to determine the core strategic and behavioral imperatives to focus on in the year ahead.
  • Creation of step-by-step action plan: Teams can quickly establish a shared understanding of the current market landscape, identify current and upcoming market challenges, and clearly articulate and build on the strategic priorities, SMART goals, KPIs, and implementation tactics.
  • Market segmentation, positioning, and messaging: As part of the strategic brand planning process, brand positioning and messaging can be reviewed asynchronously, helping to identify potential gaps.
  • Shortened timelines: Through Impetus’ streamlined and focused–yet agile–approach to brand planning, the timelines to decision-making are substantially shortened.
  • Cross-functional and global collaboration: Adding asynchronous touchpoints between Hybrid Meetings helps break down “firewalls” between cross-functional teams and ensures that all of the right people are consulted, including Global and Local Operating Company (LOC) representatives. Time zone differences are no longer a barrier.
  • Diversity of thought: The asynchronous format allows everyone’s voice to be heard and taken into consideration during the strategic planning stage, irrespective of role or seniority.
  • Substantial cost-, time-, resource-, and carbon-savings: Compared to hosting brand planning sessions in person, moving the meetings online saves not only money but also lowers their environmental footprint. Working with a single vendor for all parts of the meetings further reduces the time and number of resources required.

For each real-time (hybrid or web) meeting, add a pre-meeting asynchronous touchpoint to:

  • Allow review of slides and materials in advance, resulting in more thoughtful, carefully crafted responses.
  • Reduce the time spent on didactic presentations and free up more time for interactive workshops and reaching consensus.
  • ​​Bring ideas together between real-time meetings, ensuring that nothing gets lost.
  • Shorten the time of the real-time meetings.
  • Gain a better understanding of the position of your cross-functional team members, allowing you to course-correct if needed and to be more strategic in creating workshop groups or asking questions.
  • Gather ideas, preferences, and insights from the participants that can help inform the real-time meeting focus and agenda.
  • Prime participants to think about the brand plan objectives and tactical initiatives ahead of time.

Plan of Action (POA) Rollout Meetings

If done right, POA rollouts can be fun and don’t have to involve numerous back-to-back meetings!

  • Use engaging asynchronous virtual tools that encourage in-depth discussions and problem-solving such as Six Thinking Hats and The Great Debate brainstorming, mapping and annotation tools, and interactive discussion forums.
  • Add one or more real-time meetings to build on the insights collected asynchronously.
  • Optional: leverage innovative real-time meeting formats such as Fishbowl discussions to get deeper into the debate.
  • High participant engagement: The Fishbowl format allows additional attendees to observe the discussions and make comments/ask questions through a moderator. If desired, the “inner fish” (active participants) and “outer fish” (observers) can be periodically swapped out to create a sense of movement and variety and to keep everyone focused and involved. Likewise, the use of innovative asynchronous tools ensures high engagement and interactivity throughout the entire project.
  • Productive and efficient discussions: Leveraging a Fishbowl format, the verbal traffic jams that are common with large groups are avoided while, simultaneously, new ideas and perspectives are generated and captured by the observers, resulting in more effective and efficient POA discussions.
  • Shortened timelines: Based on 14+ years of experience with virtualizing Pharma meetings, and thanks to Impetus’ signature White-Glove™ strategic support and project management, the timelines to decision-making and project completion are substantially shortened.
  • Cross-functional collaboration: Virtualizing POA rollouts helps break down “firewalls” between cross-functional teams and ensures that all of the right people are consulted. Time zone differences are no longer a barrier.
  • Diversity of thought: The asynchronous format allows everyone’s voice to be heard and taken into consideration, irrespective of role or seniority.

For each real-time meeting, add a post-meeting asynchronous touchpoint to

  • Allow participants to debrief shortly after a meeting, as well as follow up on unanswered questions.
  • Provide a place for continued conversations or progress updates on initiatives spurred from the real-time meeting.
  • ​​Bring ideas together between real-time meetings, ensuring that nothing gets lost.
  • Provide an opportunity to show that you listened to each of your participants.

Impetus Digital’s two award-winning, 100% Pharma-compliant virtual meeting and event solutions, InSite Touchpoints™ and InSite Events™, allow you to host all of your virtual and hybrid programs on the same platform. Having a large portfolio of virtual tools (“building blocks”) to choose from means you can combine them in endless ways to completely customize your program. The platform’s automatic translation (100+ languages) and speech-to-text tools ensure a seamless user experience.

We will work closely with you to understand your goals and will provide strategic advice on how our tools can be leveraged to meet your objectives. Among others, our InSite™ suite of tools and services includes:

  • Versatile open discussion forum for gathering feedback and insights from the team, sharing best practices, hosting debates, and more.
  • In-depth brainstorming can be done through a “Six Thinking Hats” activity using InSite Exchange™.
  • Discussions around SMART goals and KPIs.
  • Multiple-choice, rating, ranking, Likert scales, yes/no, and short-answer questions, including custom conditional logic.
  • Collect blinded and unbiased feedback on brand plans, materials, data, KPIs, and more.
  • Can be used to prioritize or vote on suggested initiatives.
  • Helps avoid group-think and bias.
  • Co-create or review slides, pre-reading materials, workshop outputs, detailed brand plans, and any other document type you can think of!
  • Useful for Delphi method reviews and revisions.
  • New features allow participants to up/downvote responses and to add color-coded notes depending on whether they would like to add, remove, or change something.
  • A visual way to conduct SWOT, PEST(LE), mind mapping, and other asynchronous workshops and analyses.
  • Useful for identification of drivers and barriers and of “must-haves” vs. “nice-to-haves.”
  • Use before or after real-time web/hybrid meetings with advanced whiteboarding to gather initial insights or to follow up on the insights collected, respectively.
  • Rate slides, ideas generated during workshops, suggested plans and tactical initiatives, messaging, and more.
  • Rank slides, ideas generated during workshops, suggested plans and tactical initiatives, messaging, and more.
  • Use as a stand-alone service or as part of a Hybrid Meeting.
  • Add branding and immersive 3D designs for a completely customized experience.
  • Leverage real-time gamification, chats, polling, whiteboarding, annotation, breakout sessions, and more interactive features to optimize participant engagement.
  • Use advanced polling and whiteboarding tools to take your web/hybrid meetings to the next level.
  • Advanced reporting, including audio and chat transcripts, Medical Writer-created Executive Summary reports/slides, workshop summaries, and other customizable outputs.
  • Behind-the-scenes technical and strategic support is included in all meetings.

When working with Impetus, you can rest assured that every little detail will be taken care of and that your meetings will run smoothly and seamlessly. Every single project with us comes with a dedicated team of strategic, medical, and digital experts that acts as an extension of your team and supports you behind the scenes. We believe in establishing true partnerships with our clients and building long-lasting relationships based on trust. When working with Impetus, there is no need to involve other vendors, saving you time, as well as internal and external costs/resources.

In addition to our award-winning platforms and best-in-class virtual tools, we offer:

  • Dedicated staff for ensuring 360° behind-the-scenes support
    • Account Director for strategic oversight.
    • Digital Solutions Specialist for digital services and technical support.
    • Medical Writer for creating Analysis & Recommendations reports and other customized outputs.
  • Strategic consultation.
  • Co-development of content and workshop canvases.
  • Project management.
  • Digital and logistical support for virtual and hybrid meetings, events, and programs.
  • Plus much, much more!
Increase in the speed to project completion
Decrease in cost and resources
Increase in the quantity and quality of insights
Geography, time zone, or language barriers
More customizable virtual tools vs. other leading platforms
More streamlined operations by eliminating the need for multiple vendors
Client satisfaction
Participants who are very/extremely satisfied with the virtual platform
Enhanced diversity and inclusion
Superior flexibility and convenience
Seamless support
Optimized global and local alignment and collaboration
Streamlined brand planning process
Actionable insights with clearly defined next steps
Reduced barrier to digital transformation