A New Path to Communicating Value

Storytelling for Market Access

Three businessmen walk past a $1000 Brooks Brothers suit on sale for half price at the airport. The first, an American, stops and thinks, “what a deal, and I can use the rebate to buy some shirts and ties!” The second, Italian, glances at it but keeps walking. “Eh, not bad, but I don’t need a suit.” The third, French, hustles by. “Mon Dieu,” he thinks, “could that be more out of fashion?” The point? Different payors have different perspectives: Value is not intrinsic.

Later in the day, three other businessmen pass the same display. Each of them has lost his luggage and has a presentation to make when he lands. The Berliner considers, “ I can get a suit for 200 euros at Kaufhof, but will I have time?” The Londoner, however, lights up. “Cheap as chips,” he thinks. And buys one. A man from Manilla does not even notice, as his meeting is back home and he likes to wear a barong tagolog shirt instead of a suit when not abroad. The point? Context matters.

Ask Yourself…

Is your value proposition crystal clear and compelling?

Do you know your audience and their view point on value?

Does the meaning of your value story come across to them?

Will you be paying for a lack of payer alignment to your value story?

Does your value story prepare you for the future?

Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. To communicate value to a particular audience, say a national payor for a launching drug, you need data, good data, but to make it persuasive, nothing beats a story.  But to make a good story, one that really resonates, it pays to understand two things about the audience – its perspective and the context for the decision-making.

We believe Market Access is the axis upon which the entire pharmaceutical endeavor rotates. After all, innovation without access is worthless. Our approach – Value Storytelling – is the systematic creation of compelling evidence-based narratives that marry head and heart by recognizing the role payer archetypes and context play in defining value.


The understanding of value is a major disconnect between industry and payors, who see all the data but often fail to be persuaded about its worth. This can result in unfavourable Market Access decision making for all stakeholders, patients first and foremost. To increase the chance of avoiding this tragic outcome, we work cross-functionally with brand teams along three dimensions:

1. Story – A simple patient-based, emotive story at the centre of the model

2. Archetypes – the story expressed in narratives specific to payor type

3. Evidence – the right data for the right payor archetype, powerfully communicated through immersive visualisation techniques


1. Price – Comparison to defined benchmarks

2. Budget – Affordability within the constraints of a budget

3. Comparative – Relative cost-effectiveness

4. Innovation – Versus the current standard of care

5. Quality of life – Demonstrable benefit

6. Commerical – Financial offer/model

Without story, and an appreciation of perspective, the logic of a Global Value Dossier can become a “one-size-fits-none” exercise: data without story is just numbers. Lots of data without story is just lots of numbers.

(For more on the value of storytelling, click here)


Crafting a good Value Story is a team sport.  We suggest to our Market Access clients that rather than wait to have dinner served to them, they “set the table” and invite the key players, preferably early enough to ensure you have conducted the right studies and analyses in time for launch. Medical, Marketing, and country folks, representing some mix of the basic payor archetypes. Ideally, what you say about your brand, it’s science, and its value is mutually reinforcing. This does not mean the stories are the same, but they cannot be at cross-purposes. We like to do this through a series of well-prepared steps:

1 Insights & Shape

Insights into the disease, treatment and patient along with a plotted evaluation of the brand’s evidence – it’s “shape”

2 Core Value Story

The brand value “elevator pitch” – concise and engaging

3 Value Narratives

The core Value Story recast through the lens of each value archetype

4 Evidence Platform

Supporting data from clinical studies and health economics tools, expressed via creative visualisations to “tell” the story

What you get is a story the organization can get behind. Because they built it.  None of the outputs will replace the global value dossier, but they WILL become the red thread, if you will – the right summary of your evidence for the right audience.  Stories and collateral that can be used persuasively across geographies.



Image result for ADAM GUTHRIE-JAMES


Adam is our lead consultant in the Nordics. He brings 20 years experience within the healthcare sector. He’s passionate about value storytelling as well as behavioural science and its role in driving commercial innovation.



Tom is our lead consultant for the EU. His focus is on story-led business transformation, based on a quarter century’s experience as a business strategy consultant and pharmaceutical executive in the US, Latin America and Europe.

Popup Builder MailChimp extension requires authentication.