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Start-Up Life Science Dilemma – To PR or not to PR?

Oct 11, 2017 12:14:49 PM / by John Kouten, CEO

life-science.jpegAs the leader or CEO of a life science start-up or mid-stage, your company reputation and your proprietary technology are your main priorities.

It is an extremely complex leadership role with many challenges:

  • What is the fastest path to our goal?
  • Will we receive our next round funding?
  • Will we successfully find a strategic partner?
  • Will big pharma invest in our technology or our company?
  • How come no one if talking about our science?
  • Why isn’t anyone visiting our website?
  • Why aren’t our press releases generating any buzz?
  • Why are our competitors more visible?

Is it time to engage a public relations firm?

For CEO’s leading start-up or mid-stage life science companies, the answer to this question is never easy. But if answers were easy, then they wouldn’t be getting the big bucks! Before proceeding to engage in a partnership with a public relations firm, we encourage start-up and mid-stage life science leaders to review the following questions:

  • What is your goal in partnering with a PR firm?
  • Are you, and your board of directors, experienced working with PR firms?
  • Are you comfortable with the limitations of “earned media?” We can’t control the media.
  • Does your company have adequate resources required to maximize the value of PR?
  • Is your story newsworthy?

Four Foundational Pillars of PR

If you believe it is time to begin a process of publicly promoting your company, your technology and/or your stock, following are four primary PR principals that will help establish strong cornerstones to your solid PR function:

  1. Identify your target audience
    Face it. You are not everything to everyone. Thankfully you are of paramount interest to a certain segment of life science audiences, such as physicians, pharmacists, payers, academicians, regulators, patients and/or patient advocacy groups. Determine your target audience and focus your efforts at meeting their needs.
  2. Establish your core messages
    PR 101 demands the development of consistent messages. Don’t garble your message. A corporate policy of indifference towards consistent messaging by all those involved will diminish your PR effectiveness. Concise, consistent company and product messages will always serve to strengthen the perception of the company and the product with your target audiences. Successful adoption of a consistent message policy will yield benefits when your target audiences can parrot them back to you. This is PR nirvana.
  3. Establish your online presence
    Public relations is social media and social media is public relations. If you wish to be taken seriously by your target audiences, you must have an attractive, easy-to-navigate website. To increase engagement with your target audience, it is highly strategic to begin a systematic process of sharing content online and via social channels – effectively establishing your company as an expert in your particular field of science.
  4. Build and nurture relationships
    PR is not advertising. PR cannot be bought. PR must be earned. Strong relationships drive PR.
    Establish relationships with your top five media, KOLs, analysts or patient advocates in your life science field. Serve them. Act as an expert for them. Don’t incessantly pitch them. Follow them on Twitter. Comment on their posts. Nurture them.

At JFK Communications, this is our passion. We are not too big for you. If you believe you require public relations services, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

Topics: public relations, digital marketing, life science marketing

John Kouten, CEO

Written by John Kouten, CEO