We know that CRISPR is an emerging technology that holds the promise of radically changing the way we treat and, potentially, prevent and cure human diseases. We have already seen Biotech companies such as Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA) and Editas Medicine (EDIT) invest millions of dollars into this technology and pave the way toward countless therapeutic options for many common and rare diseases.
CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, which are the hallmark of a bacterial defense system that forms the basis for the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology. It is a genetic engineering tool used for editing genomes by altering DNA sequences to potentially correct genetic defects. And while CRISPR holds seemingly unlimited hope for positive disease outcomes, it is also complex science, which can result in fear and confusion. Recent headlines reported cancer-causing off-target effects. CRISPR technology also raises ethical concerns around genetic engineering.
“I’m excited to see how CRISPR will transform the life science industry,” stated John F. Kouten, CEO of JFK Communications. “However, our industry will be challenged to educate an array of target audiences, including physicians, patients, governments and payers. We must ensure everyone is comfortable that the technology is safe and that potential ethical concerns are addressed.”
Following is a high-level road map outlining five strategic steps to help understand current audience opinions and identify the best path forward for educating your target audiences about CRISPR:
- Survey your target audience
Create a survey designed to establish baseline metrics of your target audiences’ values, attitudes, opinions, and perceptions of CRISPR. Survey research should be targeted to key target audiences such as patients, healthcare providers, legislators, and payers. Highly powered survey data eliminates any guessing regarding perceptions, and leads to strong, valid messaging to change and influence opinion.
- Analyze Survey Results
Analyze survey results to establish a baseline metrics. Baseline metrics help sponsors identify major audience perceptions and misperceptions.
- Identify gaps
Review survey data and Identify major educational, awareness and perception gaps among your target audiences. Establish priority education gaps.
- Develop A Plan
Develop a plan that is designed to fill the priority educational gaps identified in the survey research and gap analysis. Research should help drive the development of key messages and communication strategies and channels.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Implement a campaign to communicate the message to the audience. Simplify the message for everyone to understand. Re-survey the same target audiences to evaluate any changes.