By: Sonali Mohan
Public Relations is the backbone of any industrial growth and determines the impact factor of any company and the Biotech industry is no exception. With the world passing through an unprecedented time of economic slowdown, as well as preparation for the post covid industry 4.0 version, PR is an important pillar of this revolution that is waiting to happen. The biotech industry has seen controversies like no other industry and hence the role of PR becomes all the more crucial. As innovation is the heart of the biotech industry, dissemination and promotion of authentic information with right people, at the right time, is a key to the success of any biotech company.
A PR strategy for Biotech firms may include an in-depth market intelligence and IPR landscape study, market penetration, brand awareness and positioning in the market, updating stakeholders and tracking product performance with reference to how well it’s received. Following steps can be taken for devising an effective PR strategy like, acquiring background information, defining short term and long term objectives, identifying audience, key messages and channels, risks and responsibilities and evaluating results of the PR strategy. People connect can be a critical aspect of the strategy and cannot be understated.
Synchronous digital presence across all social media platforms creates effective showcasing. However, time is a key here. Keeping in mind the high turnaround time for biotech companies, it is important not to rush into serving, before it is mature. Keen to tell the world about their existence, young biotechnology companies often rush into their own brand of public relations (PR) with little thought—with potentially detrimental consequences.
However, with appropriate planning, PR can be a very powerful tool to boost a company’s brand name. The best results come to those companies prepared to stop and reflect on whether the time is right to implement PR and how to best plan a PR campaign. A well-thought-out strategic PR plan, backed by senior management, can help a company avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes, and get the desired results.
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Publish and publicize with caution.
First impression stays a long way. Biotechnology, with its complex science and growing public awareness, needs good-quality PR to relay positive messages to its audiences and avoid potential misunderstandings. PR is a very powerful persuader in the right hands, but planning, strategy, key messaging, and positioning are all critical elements in the process. The best consultancies are those that will sit down with clients to review their business and specific requirements. Only frank and open discussion will allow an honest assessment of what PR can contribute and how best it might be handled.
A well thought of PR campaign can be a game-changer.
It’s crucial that the people behind designing the campaign are well versed with the technological aspects as well. It helps creative thinking to merge with critical thinking and create an effective PR campaign. For start-ups, it’s all the more important as it is the foundation of raising seed fund and attracting the right investors in a short time.
A long gestation period for seed funding or capital investment becomes fatal and leads to the suffocation of these budding companies. The companies can slowly create an environment through an effective PR strategy to foster their own growth. First ideate, innovate, create a presence, diversify, connect and deliver. Unable to deliver what was promised, leads to a missed opportunity, which can become the history of the brand. In the name of PR, the brand of the company should not be compromised by loud claims. Only promise what you are sure to deliver.
Allocating sufficient budget to PR is a must. Although It can be a limiting factor for start-ups due to limited financial resources. Getting sponsorships for the PR campaigns from relevant stakeholders may be an option to overcome this. This indirectly creates a protection and support from the giants of the industry and they don’t see the young companies as threats but as allies that makes a kind of nurturing support system.
With COVID times facilitated by online approaches, it is going to be a norm for times to come. Being cost effective it gives start-ups an advantage, where resources are limited. Though in person interaction cannot be replaced completely by online approach, it will definitely be majorly online through webinars, audio visual resources etc.
In the words of a biotechnologist, an effective PR strategy should be like a DNA of the company. Like DNA has the expressing and non-expressing regions, so should the strategy have. The expressing regions only transcribing and translating, when the signal is there, when the external environment is ready to receive the expression. Non-expressing regions to be kept dormant until needed. Though it should all be there in the plan, so as to be activated in right time to create the right impact. It should be futuristic with flexibility of any inclusions if needed.
Dr. Sonali Dixit is a biotechnologist, and a startup advisor with a total work experience of nearly 18 years in research, academia and industry, My experience has provided me a holistic understanding of almost all the aspects of Biotechnology.
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