One Way to Please the Boss (& the Boss’s Boss): Crafting Highly Effective Executive Briefs


A quick peek behind the curtain at the Best Practices Research Center and a Most Interesting Case that recently landed on my desk.

We are a consulting firm whose clients work mainly in the pharma and biotech sector.  As a result, our work presents us with a chance to analyze a very wide range of topics.  Sometimes our research teams are plumbing the depths of R&D, other times we may be straightening out the kinks in a malfunctioning supply chain.

If in January we’re helping fine-tune a new product launch with blockbuster potential for brand leaders at Acme Pharma, by December we’ll be hustling to help Zoetrope Biologics retain market-share for a mature product at the end of its patent lifecycle.

The point is:  you never know what you are going to get.

And, depending on the topic, you never know how difficult it will be to help a client succeed.  For example, some topics we are asked to analyze as research consultants are of a highly proprietary nature, which makes accessing data very challenging.  Some topics are highly technical, making insights hard to translate.  We often deal with very niche topics; there may be a few scores of practitioners in the entire pharma universe and it is not often easy to find them and pick their brain.

No, being a research consultant is not always all that it’s cracked up to be.  But once in a while, fortune smiles upon us and makes our job just a little bit easier.

One of our most recently completed projects was just such a case.  (There is a cool little infographic summarizing the project below, for the more visually-disposed learners, but I encourage the rest of our readers to bear with the blog post for just a moment longer to truly savor this behind-the-curtains look at our little research shop in action.)

Our task was simple, the underlying need universal:  How to create effective presentations to senior pharma leadership? 

It’s something almost everyone in our industry can relate to – and most would be eager to improve upon.

Though the project was both more complicated and more specific than that (the research focused especially on certain types of executive briefs, namely Competitive Landscape and Clinical Development Assessments), we shaped the research in a way to make the findings and lessons relevant to a very broad group of clients and contacts.

The broad appeal of the topic elicited quick and robust response from 27 companies.  We surveyed more than 30 pharma professionals working in such functions as Business Intelligence, Competitive Intelligence, Analytics, Market Research, Marketing, Commercial and other functions.

We talked to the people who make the briefs, we talked to the people that present them, AND we talked to the leaders who receive them.

We asked questions like:

  • “What data elements should you include in a high-level Competitive Assessment, Clinical Assessment, or similar executive brief?”
  • “What data elements should you leave out?”
  • “How long should these executive briefs be?”
  • “What’s the biggest mistake you can make?”
  • “How do you control the message – and boost the value delivered from each briefing opportunity?”

Now, don’t you want to hear what everyone said!??

Compared to some of our past work, this was definitely one of the fun ones!  And we are proud knowing this project will help many different types of teams improve the clarity and value of the work they deliver to senior leaders – their boss, or their “boss’s boss.”

The result of our work is “Developing High-Impact Communication Forms to Brief Senior Leaders.”

Please take a moment to view just a sliver of the critical findings in the infographic below.

High-impact Landscape Assessment Summaries

If you’d like to access a free report summary, just go to: or for more information, contact James Drake at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: