We have all heard the saying “high risk, high reward.” Nowhere is this more relevant than in the biotech industry where companies push to change the status quo and bring to market groundbreaking new treatments and therapies while also grappling with the challenges of changing market conditions. So how do companies successfully juggle all of these variables and assuage any potential fears of shareholders, employees, customers, business development partners and others?

Effective strategic communications. 

Strong, consistent communications are vital to generating and preserving company value. The biopharma industry’s reputation for enduring macro and micro ups and downs can prove difficult to navigate in the absence of a sound communications strategy. Often an undervalued yet critical function within a company, communications, if planned and executed effectively, can create a strong foundation to help pave the way for success. 

We know this better than anyone, having helped some of the industry’s most exciting companies in biotech build credibility, visibility and valuation for the past 20 years. In fact, we have helped more than 650 companies tell their stories effectively. While clients seek counsel from us at various stages of their lifecycle, ranging from stealth to navigating the public markets and all the stages in between, the first component we evaluate lies at the heart of any smart communications strategy: your corporate identity. We seek to answer the questions, “Who is your company today?” and “Where do you see yourself in two years?” Corporate strategy and positioning are MacDougall’s bread and butter. When layered with strategic public relations and investor relations initiatives and smart branding, our clients are armed with the necessary tools to meet and surpass their business goals and objectives — to ultimately help patients in need. 

We’ve learned a myriad of lessons over the past two decades. Read below to learn our top 20 tips on how to discover, build and maximize your company’s communications roadmap.

Auditing Your Business’s Current & Future Needs

  1. Survey your team: Start internally by polling select company management, directors and advisors to gather consensus on how your story and brand are currently perceived.
  2. Map out the competitive landscape: No company exists in a silo. Who do you see as your greatest competitors today and in two years?
  3. Prioritize key audiences: Who are you trying to reach? Consider investors, the media, patients and current and prospective employees.
  4. Analyze current messaging: What parts of your story resonate the most? Does it speak directly to your unique audiences?
  5. Solidify direction: What do you view as the top two value drivers for the company? 

Developing Your Corporate Identity

  1. Perform a SWOT Analysis: Looking inward and outward, what are your organization’s top strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
  2. Layout a two-year timeline of milestones: Develop a quarterly schedule to predict important news flow and corporate catalysts.
  3. Solidify your positioning statement: Get to the heart of who your company is and what you are trying to achieve.
  4. Create a message map: Details, details, details. Who are you trying to reach and what are the messages that are going to persuade them to listen and take action?
  5. Develop a customized strategic communications plan: After completing the above exercises, draft a high-level plan to align workstreams, tactics and audiences.

Leveraging Your Communications Toolkit to Reach Key Audiences

  1. Realize the power of a press release: Issuing announcements over Business Wire is an effective way to maintain news flow, disseminate important news and consistently build momentum. Leverage the news media to help tell your story.
  2. Amplify messages via social media: LinkedIn and Twitter are two platforms biopharma companies should not neglect.
  3. Attend scientific conferences and events: Share your name and science at key medical, business development or investor meetings.
  4. Capitalize on wider industry advancements: Stay up to date on technological innovation and add value by contributing commentary to relevant milestones and events.
  5. Be a part of the conversation: Engage with the media both proactively and reactively to help tell your story and mission. Acting as more than a mouthpiece for your organization, serve as a key opinion leader (KOL) to prove value and build reporter rapport. 

Staying True to Your Company’s Story

  1. Be a thought leader: Showcase your team’s expertise by posting individual LinkedIn articles as well as contributions to scientific trade media outlets and national press. Be thought-provoking, not an advertisement for your company.
  2. Nail employee communications: Align your wider team on corporate storytelling and prioritize clear internal communication. Map these back to your company’s vision and values.
  3. Drive parallel marketing initiatives: As your science and story evolve, so does your brand.
  4. Maintain brand hygiene: Ensure everywhere your brand appears is consistent, both in messaging and creative facets.
  5. Be yourself: At the end of the day, your company and team are unique, so share that uniqueness with the world. 

We have seen it all and are passionate about helping life science companies achieve success regardless of the market environment. Have a question or need support? If you want to build the best brand in your sector, or just want to beat the competition, we can make that happen. Get in touch with our team.

A Note from MacDougall

In 2022, MacDougall is proud to be celebrating our 20th anniversary. Since our inception, we have served as a high-strategy, full-service communications agency for the life sciences serving companies across all stages, sizes, therapeutic areas and technologies. We have a deep understanding of the relationships between marketing, PR, corporate communications and the financial markets. Check out our website to learn more about what makes MacDougall, MacDougall.

Karen-Sharma-MacDougall MacDougall-2022-logo

Karen Sharma is a Managing Partner at MacDougall Advisors.

Header image provided courtesy of MacDougall Advisors.

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