The success story of Intas Pharma - A Case Study
The success story of Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. – A case study
as told by Vivek Hattangadi
In early 1992, when Dilip Shanghavi, now Chairman and Managing Director, Sun Pharma, confided in me that Sun Pharma would shift back to Bombay in a couple of years, I was taken aback. Probably he felt that I would be happy as I was a thoroughbred Bombayite (or as you can now call – Mumbaikar). But exactly the opposite happened.
Having spent about six of my 18 professional years (then in 1992) in Bombay, I knew that if I shift to Bombay, I would be spending five hours everyday in commuting. These 5 hours would be a waste, which I could utilize in self-development and reading.
For my self-development, Bombay was certainly not the right place.
I started looking for a change in a forward-looking company in Ahmedabad. I got my break in Intas.
Intas in 1992 was exactly what Sun Pharma was in 1987 when I joined them. Intas then, was hardly doing Rs. 20.00 lakhs per month and the field force across the country did not exceed 50 medical representatives and field managers.
But I could see the fire in both the brothers – Nimish Chudgar and Binish Chudgar. They wanted to come into the big league as early as possible and were constantly looking for new molecules and effective people.
They mentioned that the field staff at Intas had a low-morale as Intas was not succeeding like USVP, Torrent or Sun Pharma.
The first job at H.O. was to breathe fire into the field staff and develop a killer instinct in them.
The introduction of a successful new brand seemed to be only way out.
By October 1992, Torrent (A company which was then over 35 times bigger than Intas in sales) had already procured permission for cisapride and they marketed it as Unipride – but could not make much headway.
We at Intas were also thinking about this product although Torrent had failed. This is the most opportune moment, I thought, to achieve what the Chudgar brothers wanted.
We were all keen on making this new brand a prized brand and to transcend the product and may be even the company.
A very catchy name, the think tank at Intas thought, would help.
We brainstormed and my colleague in the Product Management Team – Chirayu Upadhya came out with the name CISA.
All liked it and we were about to zero down on this name.
I still wanted the doctors perception on this name. I asked Chirayu to meet a few gastro-enterologists. Within 3 days Chirayu came back to me and said that a great majority of them have found the name CISA to be sweet, short and catchy.
Chirayu, however added, that when the doctors were asked to pronounce the name, he distinctly heard them pronouncing the ‘s’ in CISA like ‘z’.
If that is the case, I said to Chirayuu, we would call it ‘CIZA’
And CIZA was born.
Two things were very important – the promotional theme and the brand name style.
Ciza was a pro-kinetic agent, which improved the motility of the g.i. tract. The logo style, therefore, had to depict a forward propelling movement.
We asked the vizualizer to stretch the tail of the ‘z’; use italica style so that the brand name Ciza should appear to have a forward propelling movement: which was exactly the mode of action of the drug.
The logo style, when finally developed appeared some thing like this, (with the tail of the ‘z’ stretched to extend below the ‘a’ in brand name):
This logo style did contribute significantly to the success of the brand.
On the promotional theme, to the gastro-enterologists, the introduction of cisapride was akin to the ‘wheel being invented’. (A doctor in fact verbalized this during the brand name interviews).
Our introductory literature had an image of the Stone Age wheel and the copy screamed: “Kinetics rediscovered…”
Ciza became an instant hit and in the first month itself, Ciza had a sale of over Rs. 20 lakhs – more than all the other brands of Intas put together.
The field staff responded very positively. I knew that I was able to strike the right chord and ignite fire in their bellies. And then they went in for the kill.
West Bengal in general and Calcutta in particular, had the tradition to make all like H2-antogonists and PPI’s successful. If Ciza was to be made a brand to be reckoned with, success in Calcutta was vital.
The then Regional Manager at Calcutta – Mr. Pradeep Kumar Mukherjee, played a significant role.
Mr. Mukherjee approached Dr. P.N. Jalan of Calcutta, the most respected gastro-enterologists in India, to conduct a symposium on this brand.
At first, Dr. Jalan refused to even grant an interview to Mr. Mukherjee, saying that Intas was an unknown entity and he would not like to be associated with the symposium to be conducted by Intas. But Pradeepda used all his charm and successfully persuaded him to be the main speaker.
The very fact that Dr. Jalan was to be the speaker drew record-breaking crowds to the symposium.
Overnight, Intas was recognized as a company to be taken seriously. The follow through activities by Pradeepda and his team at Calcutta was terrific. Ciza and Intas painted the town red.
The success at Calcutta was soon replicated in all the major cities and soon, the gastro-enterologists across the country fell in love with Ciza and Intas.
Later on we had brand extensions like Ciza MPS and Ciza 40 for diabetic gastro-paresis.
We then used CRM activities as the main weapon and swayed the gastro-enterologists towards Intas.
We built a base of loyal doctors and we knew them ‘by heart’.
At one time, when the sales of Ciza had reached Rs.250 millions annually, we could actually count exactly 627 gastro-enterologists and physicians with a gastro-enterology profile who contributed to over Rs. 200 millions from the Rs.250 millions. Yes – the Pareto’s Principle was loudly visible.
Success breeds’ success and all gastro products introduced by Intas became run-away hits. Lan-30 was one of them. Although, this was the 6th brand of lansoprazole to be introduced, within a year, it went on to be the brand leader.
Towards the end of the last century, Intas had 3 divisions and today it is a multi-divisional company and ranks amongst the top 20 companies in the industry in India with annual sales turnover expected to reach Rs.4000 million by the end of March 2006.
A case study in the Indian pharma industry, where a brand built a company.