Henrique Dias: Disrupting Pharmaceutical Market with Successful Global Strategies

Henrique Dias
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Modern Day Pharmaceuticals: How Marketing Shaped Therapeutics

Living in the digital era today, many people prefer looking up their symptoms online rather than visiting a real doctor. Prefer a random creator on a video-sharing platform rather than consulting a real expert. Is this a matter of convenience for the patient, or a helping hand of a specialist? The Answer? Neither. The pharmaceutical industry has a much bigger role to contribute.

The pharmaceutical industry has multiple dimensions and directions to it. Today, a pharmaceutical company must look into various aspects like in-licensing, out-licensing, marketing, and in general commercializing themselves.

Located in Canada and Latin America, Knight Therapeutics Inc. is a Pan-American (ex-US) specialty pharmaceutical firm with a focus on the acquisition, in-licensing, out-licensing, marketing, and commercialization of cutting-edge prescription drugs. With its main office in Montreal, Knight operates across Canada as well as in ten Latin American nations and employs more than 700 people worldwide. 

Conversing with Henrique Dias, Global Director of Marketing at Knight Therapeutics, a modern-day picture of the pharmaceutical industry came into focus. Henrique has over 20 years of experience in the pharma industry with extensive work, strategizing, and planning.

Stepping Into the Journey

This senior executive has strategized his way into the pharma industry. He has held several positions throughout his career. He transitioned from one position to the other paving his leadership journey. Before joining Knight Therapeutic, Henrique Dias was leading the launch of a major new global product at a major company in the UK.

Holding a degree in Engineering, and an MBA from USP, he studied in Brazil and also earned an Honors in Strategy with a Post-MBA from Wharton BS.

His educational background acted as a foundation as he stepped into the pharma industry, especially as a strategy and marketing executive.

Under his umbrella of more than 20 years of experience, he has worked in big pharma companies like Janssen and AstraZeneca and managed businesses and new indications worth over USD 1 billion globally. A diverse environment is one of his priorities regarding the workspace. After leading extensive projects with intense regional backgrounds, he chooses healthcare as an industry.

Choosing and Developing Healthcare

Working in the healthcare or pharmaceutical industry gives you a ticket to helping people at various stages and levels of their lives. It is one of the reasons Henrique decided to continue his journey- to have a direct impact on people’s lives.

“I keep saying we have a unique chance of “Doing good by doing well”, if we do our job well, we will impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients around the world, while we develop a new generation of leaders.”

Marketing is always the back-end job, which plays a major role. What is also important for these strategies is to reach the right, diverse, and varied market and audience.

Henrique Dias has his mantra when he is in that space of strategizing and creating.

First of all, you need to understand the real needs of your customers, in the case of Healthcare, Physicians, Patients, caregivers, and payers (both public and private). Then you must add into the equation the regional and global diversity and culture, and this will exponentially complicate analysis once the cultural aspects sometimes are not easy to fully understand and there are barriers of language, cultural background, and information availability.

After all of this, we need to get to what is critical and common to all markets that we want to have our strategy, and what is different and needs to be addressed.

All of this will only be possible with a cross-functional team that encompasses global and cultural diversity, and we need to make sure the voice of all critical stakeholders are not only heard but present in the strategy development.

Establishing Strategies

Prioritization is a perennially contentious subject, and here, my technical expertise is crucial. The main topic of debate for me is prospective growth and/or return on investment. As much as we would like to affect everyone internationally in the same manner, resources are limited, and in the society, we live in today, we often have a very short schedule to make success happen.

As a result, we need to make sure we prioritize more pragmatically.

It has become much easier to complete this step of the process after you have a thorough grasp of the actual demands of all of your main markets. The messages need to be translated and correctly modified to satisfy local and cultural demands, while important components of the campaign need to be examined for unfavorable reactions, using a cross-functional team with a wide cultural background.

A Successful Global Marketing Campaign

Successful campaigns always make one wonder about the process and the work put behind them. The number of brainstorming meetings, and the ideas that were rejected. Henrique has a checklist of things to keep in mind while working on a strategy.

Ideating a campaign gets much easier after you have a good grip on the unmet needs of each of your main markets. The messages should be appropriately translated and modified to fit regional and cultural standards while also being checked for potential negative responses by a cross-functional team with different cultural experiences.

Henrique and his team were once greeted with quite a tricky campaign. The challenge to tackle was a disease- “Doctors were underestimating the impact of mild disease in patients”. This issue was causing an important impact on the number of cases including deaths worldwide.

The campaign was naturally an awareness campaign in partnership with medical societies with a clear objective of changing this, and they made it to change the treatment paradigm for patients. According to Henrique, the biggest challenge with this campaign was positioning. This campaign was aimed at solving a major problem for patients, physicians, and the government.

This is when the most important “tip”, “hack”, or “mantra” steps in. Listen and understand your client’s problem and then choose an appropriate channel and format suitable to be effective for everyone.

Behind The Scenes: Crafting and Measuring

Now, once a campaign finally reaches its audience, the next step is analyzing and measuring it. At Knight Therapeutics, there are other indicators for this as well other than the usual “Sales and “Sales Trends”. Henrique is aware that in healthcare, they measure a lot of the adoption curve, number of calls, and interactions for regular campaigns, and digital the usual number of visualizations, interactions, etc. But again, in the end, sales trends.

“At Knight, as we’re still a “young organization”, we’re looking to develop a way of working that looks beyond just the Key Performance Indicator – did we do what we say; but also to look at the Key Success Indicator – did we achieve the results that we expected. And this may be sales targets but also insights and key learnings (successes and failures) that we can carry into other regions and other brands.”

These campaigns, analytics, and measurements come to life after fostering a motivated and dedicated team. Henrique Dias pays special attention to his office environment and staff.

This cohesion will be built by having a strong, active cross-functional and regional team that makes sure we understand and hear the many demands and variances. Instead of “Strategy from Global Team,” we want to have “our Global Strategy”. We need to make sure that everyone at the table is contributing and offering their expertise and talent as leaders in our company, not just showing up.

Balancing The Business

Knight Therapeutics is all-in-all a diverse company and has a global team. A global team unlocks the potential for growing talents. Though this requires the organization to acknowledge and embrace language and culture barriers.

Henrique makes sure to spend time with the teams- local teams, regional teams, and global teams. This three-tier system makes it easier for the company to run smoothly with constant ideas coming in.

Other than the employees, building relationships with important partners and stakeholders is always important and sensible at the same time.

But Henrique believes that the win-win mentality always helps. If you simply think in terms of transactions, you won’t be very effective. On the other hand, if people see that you are also there to support them and create a win-win situation, those connections will develop much more successfully.

Faith in The Future Plans

A true business leader is the foresighted one, they say! Henrique shares that he is working with a young multinational company for the very first time. This is special because he has had a part in building this organization from the beginning. He is currently in the talent hunt, strategizing, and portfolio stage for the company and is enjoying this evolution in the “Knight Story”.

From One Business Leader to Another

“Everyone is very keen to share successes, but I´m sure that a lot of them are coming from never giving up and learning, Be a problem solver and make a difference, companies and the world need that!”

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Fortunes crown seeks to inspire, inform and celebrate businesses. We help entrepreneurs, business owners, influencers, and experts by covering their products and services. We, as an online publication always inclined to feature companies of all sizes.

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