In the traditional consumer products world, with millions of consumers, we identify a core Strategic Value Target and define brand platforms that incite behavior in a way that is compelling and consistent over time.

It is very different in specialized categories, like in big Pharma, where there are a finite number of customers. We work with a number of clients in therapeutic areas where a relatively small number of Physicians are their target market. Take for example Oncologists. According to Statista, there were 20,886 oncologists practicing in the US in 2020. With these kinds of small numbers, brands need an approach to help identify brand strategy that is focused, compelling, and strategic enough to ensure that it addresses the needs of all these physicians despite their differences.

The question is: how do you find the core strength of an idea with the diversity of these folks? Their treatment mindset, their core areas of expertise, their practice settings, their patient make-up, etc. This is why we created an approach inspired by the way people make decisions in a judicial environment.

Introducing S+R Guided Deliberations™, a unique methodology that we designed to reveal the biases coloring and shaping each individuals’ viewpoint and then have them work together to align on the most critical insight that drives them to arrive at a unanimous verdict. It is grounded on the breakthrough work of Leo J Shapiro (our founder) and Dr. Hans Zeisel, a sociologist and legal scholar who taught at the University of Chicago law school. Dr. Zeisel was deeply interested in the jury deliberation process, how the human mind processes information in an environment that sometimes is a matter of life or death, how people collaborate with others with different perspectives, and how they make decisions that are true to their sensibilities, but in agreement with the rest of the group. The jury room is a microcosm of decision making on steroids, a perfect petri dish to observe the human mind at work in the context of a group dynamic.

What started as a means of deconstructing the principles behind winning cases became the basis for a manageable decision-making research tool for marketing. This is why S+R Guided Deliberations™ has been a boon to companies that want to identify more compelling ways to frame messages, inject “nudges” into their creative and customer experience, and fully preempt possible objections. A tool that results in a compelling platform – positioning or messaging – that can work effectively across the most diverse group of constituents.

Here is how it works…

We recruit a diverse group of customers who hold opposing opinions and behaviors relevant to the challenge at hand. For example, traditionalists loyal to the market leader versus early adopters of emerging trends. Community versus academic docs to understand how setting impacts selection. After some background discussion to establish context, the group examines and talks about our client’s product or service. There is no moderation…we simply observe what transpires; the pace and intensity of the conversation, what they consider important, where they agree and disagree, and the language they use.

Once we know which offering each participant prefers, the moderator divides the group into teams, each assigned to convince the other why their preference should prevail. Each team takes a few minutes to work out their arguments, and again, we sit back and listen for the arguments they use to woo the other side, the manner in which points are framed and countered that reveal their mindset, how they respond to questions and objections, which arguments triumph and which ones fail. As necessary, we even inject new information to see how the dynamics change.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Once participants’ contrasting views are exposed, we throw them a curve ball and tell them they’re all on the same panel tasked with making a blue-ribbon recommendation. In other words, they must work together to find common ground. Now we get to see where they will give and where they will dig in. In the end, we can catalogue, classify, and interpret the language choices into biases that are impacting their decision making. Some we need to counteract. Others we can lean into. The value is that we now know where to put our efforts to focus the platform and maximize the opportunity.

As legal cases have gone virtual, so have we. Over the past year, we’ve perfected the execution of this method in a virtual context with support from a powerful set of technology solutions from our partners at FocusVision and Civicom. This has allowed us to deliver powerful outcomes quickly, seamlessly, and efficiently.

Louis Pasteur once said, “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” With S+R Guided Deliberations™ you can get to the most powerful brand platform that can help maximize performance and ROI.

Feel free to reach out at [email protected] if we can answer any questions or help you identify the most powerful platform for your brand.