Last month we talked to IE’s CEO, Steve Marsh about the missed opportunities seen during a launch and we wanted to follow this up with a discussion on how an organisation with little to no experience of launching a brand takes their journey from launch strategy towards Launch Excellence.

“Steve, at the end of last month’s discussion, you mentioned that the basis of Launch Excellence comes from investing in and aligning your launch capabilities, so where would you suggest a company begins?”

At IE, we believe that key brand insights and a clear launch strategy and forecast is the foundation for launching. These ingredients are the bare minimum needed to prepare for a successful launch. In our experience of working with small and large pharma companies over the recent years, we have seen that success can be significantly enhanced with a clear strategic launch roadmap and even more so when this is supported by a tool to monitor and track the progression of the launch.

“So, if Launch Strategy is the first stage of laying the foundations for a successful launch, how does an organisation continue on to Launch Excellence?”

There are 4 pillars that IE sees as bringing launch capabilities together to arrive at Launch Excellence;

Launch Strategy is the initial step of setting the foundations of developing brand and market insights, a go to market strategy, and forecasting into a roadmap which launch teams can follow to be confident in. We believe this development should be led internally by key stakeholders within the organisation, with guidance and support by any experienced external party. This then ensures the direction for the company is owned and can live within the teams who understand their essential steps to launch.

Launch Planning is the next step where launch capabilities start to be embedded into a companies’ launch processes. This can involve increasing the resources and tools available for global, regional and local launch teams in order for them to implement the developed roadmap. In order for this stage to be fully interacted with, there should be a training programme in place for launch teams. Once teams are launching successfully, sharing best practice is an indispensable method to continue evolving and improving launch throughout the organisation.

Launch Management is about focus, quality and culture across and organisation launching brands. It is typically addressed when the previous steps are in place i.e. when teams have tools in place, the structure and direction to guide them and are starting to see success in launching. Through monitoring the launch journey using both internal and external KPI, and proactively managing outcomes across the whole team, the launch journey becomes more efficient, with confident and connected teams who deliver on time and to a high standard. Cultural considerations, renewed ambition and vision led by senior management then start to create a wave of cultural change that moves the launch machine of the organisation into a new mode. It is at this point hearts as well as minds engage and there is a ground swell of motivation and activity all driving excellence, sharing and benchmarking to ensure the ultimate state of launch excellence is reached.

Launch Excellence is the state at which all the previous steps work together to live within the organisation. By uniting together a strategy, planning tools and management, you can ensure all areas of the launch plan are connected and optimised.

“Can you tell us which step you see companies working in at the moment?”

The evolution into launch management is becoming the focus of many large pharma companies at the moment and I expect to see this develop over the next 5 years throughout the pharma industry. IE have been working with a global client recently on their focus of KPIs, risk assessment and change management to further develop their ability to launch successfully as an organisation.

We will discuss the topic of Launch Management further and delve into the effectiveness of relevant KPIs in next month’s interview, with our Commercial Director, Jason Bryant who is also our resident expert in the field of analytics.

If you have any questions about this topic or any others let us know at