Cathy Kerzner

Head of Strategy and Marketing, Nestlé Health Science

"At Nestlé Health Sciences, we engage in discussions about the role science can play in nutrition and we hold a strong vision of an elevated place for nutrition in healthcare."

This year’s Best Global Brands report focuses on the human aspect of brands – the connections made between people and brands.

In what ways is Nestlé Health Sciences using its brand to more intimately connect with its targets?

Since we’re working to develop science-based nutritional solutions to medical conditions and chronic diseases, there is a strong human component in what we do. At Nestlé Health Sciences, we engage in discussions about the role science can play in nutrition and we hold a strong vision of an elevated place for nutrition in healthcare. We aim to create a new role for nutrition in disease prevention and management, which could help relieve the cost burden of chronic disease in aging, sedentary societies and transform the quality of life for millions of people. Essentially creating a new market between food and pharmaceuticals, we expect that this new science driven aspect of Nestlé’s brand will resonate with many, particularly in the healthcare space.

What does the future of social media hold for your business? How are you using social media to strengthen your brand’s connection with customers?

Many of the disease areas we are working in allow us to tap into growing online communities where many people are already concerned with—and talking about—issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There is perhaps even more opportunity for connection in the case of a condition like, Alzheimer’s disease. Since there are very few effective treatments, people whose loved ones are impacted by this disease are searching far and wide for information and solutions. It’s human nature to try and connect with others who are tracking medical research and patient care trends and may have found new options—which include those offered by our brand.

What steps are you taking to ensure that your corporate brand is being elevated beyond the organization’s product brands (i.e., value-added services, education, social responsibility, etc.)?

We are young in the process of using our corporate brand. In fact, we are at the very beginning. For now, we’re concentrating on sharing our vision for the elevated role of nutrition, and testing how this resonates with stakeholders.

How do you leverage equities that Nestlé has across the organization?

Nestlé has broad and intimate knowledge of the consumer, specialized skills in nutrition science and taste, plus a number of innovations that could be considered for Nestlé Health Sciences. We have a variety of methods for leveraging Nestlé’s equities to capturing new possibilities, starting with the engagement of key influencers in the organization – however, the future holds the opportunity to formalize this further.

Sustainability and nutrition are at the core of the Nestlé Health Sciences brand and have led to the creation of personalized solutions for serious medical conditions. How do you think an emphasis on these values has helped the Nestlé Health Sciences brand connect with customers?

Nestlé Health Science has a distinct role to play in Nestlé’s transformation into the world’s recognized leader in nutrition, health and wellness and we certainly have well-established relationships in the healthcare space, but we are still figuring out how we can best connect with customers. What we do know is that customers are curious about how we plan to bring new products and diagnostics to market—they see we have some assets in the market at present. However, it is fair to say that we have a lot to do to openly demonstrate these capabilities as a branding element. Clearly, we have a huge opportunity before us.

  • About Cathy Kerzner

    Cathy Kerzner is Head of Strategy and Marketing at Nestlé Health Science SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestlé SA that aims to develop science-based nutritional solutions and deliver improved personalized healthcare for medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Cathy joined Nestlé Health Science a year after the division became operational, in January 2012. From 2010 until the end of 2011, Cathy was Chief Executive Officer of M2Gen, a subsidiary of the Moffitt Cancer Center, based in Tampa, Florida. Prior to this, Cathy worked at Wyeth, first in charge of the Women’s Healthcare Business Unit, then advancing to Senior Vice President in charge of Commercial Portfolio Management. From 2005 to 2007 Cathy was Founder and President of EKR Therapeutics, a US startup specializing in acute care products. Between 2003 and 2005, she was VP of Business Strategy at Cardinal Health for the Biotechnology and Sterile Life Sciences business.

    Cathy Kerzner is a Canadian and American citizen and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Toronto University and an MBA in Marketing and Organizational Behaviour from York University. Cathy is also a Board member of Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., and currently sits on the Board, and once presided over, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.