Thanks to the insights gained, we can have a different, more valuable conversation with our customers.

Takeda: A more valuable conversation with our customers 

Takeda has been developing and supplying pharmaceuticals for over 240 years. The aim is to cure patients and/or improve their quality of life. Takeda is developing various drugs for ADHD.

Paul Schreurs and Anke van Dijk called in Branddoctors to understand what the transition phase from adolescent to adult looks like within ADHD, and what contribution Takeda can make to improve the care pathway. Paul is Business Unit Director Neuroscience and Anke Brand & Customer Manager Neuroscience and is already familiar with Branddoctors from previous employers.

Anke: “Paul and I met at my previous employer. I worked there as an account manager. Before Paul joined our team, marketing was mainly focused on what we thought the target audience needed. We had less focus on the customer and the customer of the customer, ie the patient, even less. I did not understand that people no longer listened to what we perceived in the field about needs.

Paul adds: “I once started at Danone (b2c) and there we were drilled that you can't do anything if you don't know who your customer is. There we did a lot of research on 'users' and 'non users' to understand what the 'Drivers' and 'Barriers' were that our customers had.

When I made the transition to the medical world after eight years within fmcg, I will never forget that I suggested doing market research. There was a very strong response to that. Because how are we going to talk to patients? Those are our customers' patients, aren't they?

That was when I introduced Branddoctors. And when we then shared the patient insights with our customers in a session, they became very enthusiastic about it, because they finally heard what the patient was thinking and feeling, instead of what often happened in 'b2b' that people thought they knew what the patient was doing. customer wants. That is why we also put together a business team within point-of-care in which sales and marketing determined their strategy together for the first time.”

Qualitative research as a tool to develop vision

Now you work together at Takeda. When did you think to approach Branddoctors again?

Paul laughs, “When do we not think that. No kidding, let me speak for myself. When I started at Takeda, I naturally took my experiences with me and was able to implement it right away. It is important to focus on the broad field of care in order to identify where there is room for improvement. Within the gastroenterology domain, for example, we also played with questions about how that world will develop. That's when I think of Branddoctors.

The way you set up market research is one of the tools in the box for me to vision to develop. We always combine this with quantitative research, with insights gained internationally and with insights from the medical world. But the qualitative piece, the really good understanding of the target group how does it see patient journey look like, what does the customer journey look like and what role can or can we play in it, those are the points for me to think: now we need to get Branddoctors involved.”

Transition from youth to adult

Anke adds: “And now the reason was to better understand what happens in the transition phase from youth to adult care. We thought we were familiar with the youth market, but what about when a child turns 18 and switches from youth care to adult care? Is that a moment when they disappear from the radar? How do we ensure that they continue to have access to care and that they also receive good treatment?

Understanding that much better has been the idea behind the market research. We got answers to so many questions. About everything that happens in a child's life. How this differs once they are young adults. How their needs change over the years and what that transition phase looks like.” said a satisfied Anke.

The qualitative part, the really good understanding of the target group and what role we can or can play in it, those are the points for me to think: now we have to get Branddoctors involved.

Headquarters freedom

What Paul likes about Takeda is the freedom they get from the head office in Japan to determine their own strategy. “Internationally, of course, an overall course is determined and we get a lot of inspiration, but we can implement it strategically locally. We call this 'LOC empowerment' or local strength.

We can get to work ourselves on what our market looks like in the Netherlands and what strategies we need to serve that market as well as possible. And from international insights, we knew that the transition to adult care can be messy. So we said that we wanted to zoom in extra on that transition to adults.”

Fire Doctors Methodology

And then there was that call with Branddoctors again. How did you experience the process and what exactly did you do? Anke: “From day one, I've been in contact with Ellen Wolters. I wanted to be present at all interviews and focus groups. I get really excited to really get to know the customer in this way. That gave some extra work in terms of internal procedures, but it was worth it.

To gain market insights, we drew the timeline of the transition phase ourselves in the first workshop with Branddoctors. At the time, we mainly talked about the transitional moment. With the bridge as a metaphor. What happens on someone's 18th birthday and what issues do young adults face? Which care providers play a role in which phase? For example, is information missing?

We then spoke to young adults, parents, general practitioners, nurse specialists, child and adolescent psychiatrists and adult psychiatrists. And guess what? It's not about that 18th birthday at all. Young adults and caregivers often lose each other before the transition phase. The cause of the 'gap' is mainly due to experiences before the age of 18 (and not just the transition to adult care).

In addition, care providers have a smaller role in the transition phase from youth to adult care than they would like. And there is a lack of an accessible safety net for young adults with ADHD in adult care. So the question is, how many problems in adult care could have been prevented? We could never have produced these insights if we hadn't spoken to all parties involved.”

Online vs Offline

“And everything in corona time” says Paul “I thought it was exciting to do everything online, but the first conversations went so easily. Precisely because it was digital, customers sat at the table who would normally never be together. The 'usual suspects' usually come to the interviews on location, but now that the sessions were digital, people from Maastricht suddenly sat at the table with people from Heerenveen, which I had never experienced before. And neither does she. This has not resulted in more support in the organization because there is, but because of this the results are accepted more quickly in the outside world. A very mixed group of people participated in the investigation. More diverse than if we had kept the research offline.”

However, Anke does have a critical comment: “You sometimes miss the connection online. The contact is really two-dimensional: you sometimes see people looking away at their phone. Then you feel that they are not 100% hooked up. You can more easily respond to this in a live session. With a group together live you have a different dynamic, more personal. But it did not affect the quality of the research.”

Changing Moments

As you have just said, the insights have brought about quite a bit. "Yes, of course!" says Paul “The bridge is literally the metaphor for the route. The insights have also built a bridge between and to (new) target groups and can thus help to further improve care for this underexposed group. To have a different conversation and to come to the table more broadly in organizations. 'Oh, we also have to discuss this with so-and-so' you don't get that reaction when you have a product conversation. And the fact that we have started a follow-up program among general practitioners is also because we noticed that there is much more in this process than we initially thought.

If we look back five years from now and ask what were the changing moments for the successes in neuroscience? Then I think that this is one of them, that we have started to focus on that transition phase.”

If we look back five years from now and ask what were the changing moments for the successes in neuroscience? Then I think this is one

Was there a moment where you expected more or different from Branddoctors?

Paul answers “After years of working together, you know roughly what to expect: We do qualitative research and we are going to make concepts in co-creation. But I also noticed that it should not become a trick to solve everything in co-creation. Because sometimes you want to draw your own conclusions and do the translation yourself. And you have to make sure you build in realism because it's a shame if ideas arise that will never see the light of day. Because the budget is not there, it is not possible from a 'regulatory' point of view, or because it simply does not suit us. And then we sometimes move along with that customer for too long.

So co-creation can also create expectations that cannot be met. We have to stay alert to that. And that focus can make us even better in cooperation!

Integrity and fully objective

Finally, what makes working with a Brand Doctor so different? “What we really appreciate in our collaboration is the accessibility and equality.” says Anke. “Just contact via Whatsapp, or sparring to do things just a little differently. That doesn't feel like a client/contractor relationship: we really do it together. The beautiful, honest way in which Hanneke Hövels and Ellen Wolters interview is really special. This made it easy for people to open up to them.” Paul agrees that “These are intimate conversations about a loaded subject. To listen to this openly and with integrity and to remain objective is what we value so much.”


Published on
January 19 2022

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Lisette van Elst

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