Thank you Angelina Jolie. It was very refreshing to read the very sane and sober account of Ms. Jolie’s BRCA1 status and her brave decision to undergo prophylactic double mastectomy. Public disclosure of cancer status by celebrities can sometimes result in miscommunication or worse, wrong information. Ms. Jolie nailed it. Whether everyone agrees with her decision is another story but here’s the bottom line – her risk of breast cancer before surgery is 87% -- after surgery it is 5%.
I am humbled by the bravery that Ms. Jolie and other women display when it comes to acting on this genetic information. My wife Sara made a similar decision nearly five years ago. Her calculus was similar. She possesses the BRCA1 gene mutation (and was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer) and, after a review of the facts with a genetic counselor, it seemed the only rational decision. No breast tissue, no ovary tissue – cancer risks are reduced dramatically (if not completely).
I am also grateful that we live in an era when cancer is no longer a death sentence. Through the ongoing quest to better understand cancer, and in the post human-genome-mapped world, we are now actually treating cancer biomarkers, not body parts or organs. We live in a world where the term "oncology" will perhaps be replaced with bio-oncology. We live in the age of personalized medicine.
Thankfully, today’s approach to cancer treatment is not via howitzer. Today, thanks to research, technology and innovation, cancer treatment can be personalized. Through new molecular profiling tools, we can offer personalized treatments based on a gene mutation or some other biologic disease marker. These innovations increase the efficacy of treatment, reduce side effects and minimize needless treatment (which also conserves resources better utilized elsewhere).
After seven years in Princeton, JFK Communications and its sister agency BioCore Medical Communications have relocated to Trenton, New Jersey. The capitol of the Garden State is experiencing a renaissance and we are happy to be a part of it.
Along with our new physical relocation, we are shifting professionally, culturally and creatively. From a pure pharmaceutical PR agency since we started in 2004, JFK has evolved and expanded our focus, leveraging and building on our true core strengths in scientific content development and distribution of client messages through multiple channels. Our new mantra – Science is Beautiful – reflects our passion for science and technology communications. And, regardless of where we base ourselves – we know that science and technology will be the driving force for our domestic and global economic recovery. Exciting times are ahead.
From drugs to medical devices; from alternative energy to chemicals and advanced materials; from electronic medical records to food science – JFK has the expertise, leadership and resources to support your strategic communication needs.
Read more about us in the recent issue of U.S. 1.
It happened again. The day was sunny and beautiful. A slight southwesterly breeze was blowing. I had an ear infection, so I want to see my GP. Then it hit. The clipboard, with four pages of forms, was handed to me. So I did what any good red blooded American coping with an antiquated healthcare system would do. I filled out the forms and gave them back to the receptionist.
But wait. It gets better. The GP took one look at my ear and sent me to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. After driving a half hour in traffic to see the ENT, I got to their office and, you guessed it, had to fill out more forms. If I didn't have an ear ache, I would have seen the humor in this. But as it was, it just made me more cranky.
According to HealthIT.gov, office-based physicians' use of electronic health records (EHRs) increased from 48% in 2009 to 72% in 2012--a substantial increase in just three years.
Check out this great infographic from HealthIT.gov on EHR utilization by the way (I love these things).
Utilization of EHRs is critical to modernizing the US healthcare system. The benefits of EHR adoption are well documented and include substantial reductions in medical errors, improved efficiency and workflows, reduced costs, improved health outcomes and (here's my favorite part), less aggravated patients.
Critics of EHR adoption (yes, there are critics for everything these days) cite the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as an obstacle, pointing to the challenges in protecting patient privacy as an issue.
Fortunately, the majority of physicians agree that HIPAA compliance does not prevent widespread utilization of EHRs.
It's time to abolish the clipboard and endless forms from doctor's offices. The next time you visit your doctor, if they hand you a clipboard filled with forms, ask them when they plan to join the rest of us in 2013.
Anybody involved in diagnostics and personalized medicine should register for the Second Annual BioNJ Diagnostics & Personalized Medicine Innovation Summit.
This year's event is being held on June 6th, 2013 at Sanofi's R&D conference center in Bridgewater, New Jersey.
Last year's event at Princeton University was at full capacity, so please register early to make sure you reserve your place. To register, please visit the BioNJ website.
When Makane George, President, Drexel University Public Relations Society of America invited me to participate in a panel discussion on Busines to Business marketing on February 7, 2013, I was encouraged that much of the discussion was devoted to the emerging role of social media.
I was privileged to serve on a panel of the following distinguished local experts:
Jessica Sharp, Principal, Maven Communications
Sara De Long, Assistant Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby
Melissa Marsili, Partnership Marketing Associate at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
Traditional B2B Experience
In simple terms the panel agreed that B2B marketing is a specialized function designed to help deliver key messages from one business to another. The goal of B2B marketing is to foster relationships and commerce between businesses.
Traditionally marketing has relied on public relations to:
Drive B2B initiatives through traditional print and digital trade media
Develop key message platforms to tell stories to specialty audiences
Prepare experts to serve and spokespersons for specialty business media
Produce various forms of public relations content
Engage target audiences via professional organizations and trade shows
Social media for B2B marketing
The panel engaged in a valuable dialog regarding the emerging role of social media in B2B communications. While the panel agreed that Facebook and Twitter hold some role, the predominant social media channels for B2B marketing include blogging, LinkedIn, and YouTube. JFK Communications is focused on providing clients with key social media strategies.
We work with organizations to determine their area of expertise and build editorial calendar of blogs. We work with clients to identify blog topics, blog authors and timing for certain blogs with key corporate and business events. We also work with clients to invite guest blogs from outside experts, customers and policy makers.
Effective blogs drive traffic to clients’ websites and all corporate social media channels.
JFK Communications works with clients to build their LinkedIn pages. LinkedIn is becoming one of the fastest growing and most powerful business-focused social media channels available. We work with clients to construct their Linked In pages for maximum effectiveness. This includes:
Linking blog posts to LinkedIn
Linking all Tweets to LinkedIn page
Linking all FB and YouTube content to LinkedIn
The most effective LinkedIn pages include an ongoing stream of status updates that link followers back to key business messages
One of the most effective means of communications is video. We know that online video content is more effective in driving purchasing decisions compared to traditional print narrative content. For B2B marketing, we help our clients build YouTube channels and production calendars. We work to produce and post videos for maximum viewing and viral sharing.
We work with clients to keep Twitter feeds full of content. A Twitter feed is a double-edge sword. If kept up and current is a very efficient driver of awareness and traffic. However, if neglected it only serves to irritate followers.
In B2B marketing, this expert panel agreed that traditional marketing strategies and tactics are here to stay, however the emergence of social media must be a part of all effective B2B marketing programs.
Is everybody ready? Great. Now repeat after me:
All Media is Digital.
All Media is Social.
Social Media is Public Relations.
Excellent. We’ve now cut through gigabytes of chatter, terabytes of noise and a virtual universe of pontification by “experts” on digital media, social media and the role of public relations in the new “communications paradigm.”
As somebody who has been working consistently in digital media since managing one of the first digital communications divisions of a multinational public relations firm in 1997, I’ve been an active participant in the evolution of digital communications. The technologies and tools we’re able to apply to our clients businesses today have enhanced our ability to communicate in so many ways.
Convergence is here. News organizations, magazines, entertainment companies, and media conglomerates are providing content that is seamlessly integrated between print, digital, and broadcast media platforms.
So why do some agencies, and clients, continue to have such a siloed view of the landscape? “Digital media.” “Traditional media.” “Social media.” Isn’t that kind of thinking just, you know, “so ten years ago?” Calling media “digital” misses the point that all media – at least all media that is still relevant—is now digital. And if it’s digital, it’s social, since the age of the unidirectional “website-as-electronic-billboard” was ending at about the same time that the iPod was becoming the newest must have gadget, and our cell phones were, for the most part, still pretty dumb.
Do you need a digital strategy? Or do you need a strategy that increases customer awareness of your product or services by integrating multiple content delivery platforms and delivering your messages to customers in multiple formats? Do you need a social media strategy? Or do you need a strategy that establishes an authentic dialogue between you and your most important target audiences and enables you to learn and adapt based on real time information? Digital and social media will be central to both, but both strategies are broader and allow for more than one tactical approach in their execution.
And what about public relations? The Public Relations Society of America defines PR this way:
“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Establishing a dialogue, and building positive relationships with key audiences through two-way communication has always been a fundamental goal of public relations. Social media is a tool that can be used to accomplish this goal. Social media is public relations.
It’s time to free ourselves from the shackles of conventional thinking. The era of strategic convergence is upon us. Strategy should dictate the best tools for the job. Because a true artisan uses many different tools, and is expert in all of them.
So, once again, repeat after me:
All Media is Digital.
All Media is Social.
Social Media is Public Relations.
Thank you, and good night.
Despite GOP opposition, the Senate (89-8) and House (257-167) voted late last night to delay sequestration-related NIH cuts for two months. While this development simply kicks the can down the road, it does restore some certainty into the life science sector.
Unfortunately, under previous “continuing resolutions,” non-competing renewal NIH funding has been cut by 10 percent. This reduction will most likely reduce academic spending on research in 2013.
The big question remaining is, “does the 113th congress have the will to create a plan designed to provide long-term solutions regarding federal life science spending?”
While this and many other questions regarding the fate of the life science industry remain, we are still optimistic. Advances in genomics and companion diagnostics are creating unprecedented opportunities – especially in the field of oncology. Biofuels are emerging to help us realize energy independence, Agri-Bio science is helping to increase crop yields with less water and chemicals and we are making major advances in renewable chemicals and marine biotechnology.
We still believe Science is Beautiful.
To help support the protection of NIH research funding, please visit The Coalition for the Life Sciences and send a letter to your congressman/woman.
Why do we like science? Because Science is Beautiful. We help science and technology organizations tell how their products and services can change the world. That's our story. What's yours?
Since when did Public Relations become a four letter word? Shhh…between you and me – I think Ad agencies have been whispering that in the ears of marketing managers for the last 20 years.
I must admit the term PR, and being considered a “PR guy,” has never sat well with me. Having grown-up in the 80s, PR guys were often thought of as shady individuals who got paid to spin a story or even lie to the public to protect a company’s reputation. Thankfully, years of hard work alongside some very bright and dedicated colleagues has taught me otherwise.
That said, increasingly I’ve been asked to remove the term “public relations” from plans, programs and events to describe our services. We continue to hear statements from clients such as, “the boss doesn’t like PR, doesn’t think it’s worth the money - but we love the program, it makes sense – just please change the name.” Talk about feeling good about your career choice.
Nevertheless, there must be something brewing, since over the last few years communications agencies have made a consolidated effort to eliminate the word PR and rebrand themselves as “integrated communications” rather than risk being relegated to “PR firm” status. Now, I realize with the advent of digital and social media, convergence and integration makes sense to broaden an agency’s service offerings - but I’m convinced there is more to this than meets the eye.
I think that years of profit taking by large international PR firms, ambiguous metrics, young and often poorly trained account staff, and the over segmentation of the media environment have all conspired to make PR synonymous with questionable ROI in the minds of some executives. In an economic climate that demands an accounting for every penny, who the heck wants to defend a program that may or may not yield measurable results –right?
Furthermore the explosion of digital media and Citizen Jane journalism has created a sense that anyone with a little talent and some resources can earn publicity, create a video that goes viral, or develop a website – and to some extent that’s true.
Despite the trend to rebrand the industry, the fact remains that the industry needs to better merchandize its ability to plan and execute strategic programs that influence and change behaviors in ways that other forms of marketing and communications simply cannot.
So why do you need a PR firm?
The sooner marketing managers and corporate executives embrace the importance of using communications strategies and platforms that connect to their audiences in credible, authentic and creative ways, the sooner they will begin to realize the true value of the discipline.
Yes, just about anyone can create publicity, but only highly skilled professionals can deliver messaging in ways that foster legitimacy, credibility and brand trust. In a very uncertain world where messages can get lost and misinterpreted in a millisecond, and everything private is public, the need for thoughtful strategic vision, planning and execution is paramount.
Arguably, no viral video, ad, or direct mail piece can take a brand to these lofty places like PR when it’s done right. Oh and by the way…those lofty places I mentioned are where today’s 20, 30 and 40 somethings want to be. These are the traits that are creating brand loyalty, or what some like to call ROI.
Tell me what you think. Is PR dead or finally being reinvented?
It seems that we've been very busy talking, presenting and blogging about personalized medicine over the past few weeks.
Fortunatley, we haven't missed any client deadlines. And hopefully some of the work we do to help promote the evolution of personalized medicine will contribute to its success. Because we passionately believe that advances in this area have the potential to transform patient outcomes and improve healthcare overall.
Those of us who work in life sciences and communications today are really living in the midst of two revolutions, one in medicine, the other in communications, both happening simultaneously.
I just published an article in O'Dwyer's Magazine, the PR industry's leading publication, on what's happening, and how it is changing healthcare, and how we communicate, forever.
Check out the article here.