I love entrepreneurs and admire them tremendously. I so want to take hold of a great idea and turn it into a business, but I don’t have the risk tolerance. So, I’m lucky to be able to help those that do: bio and med-tech entrepreneurs who are changing the future of healthcare. But, as brilliant as they are, there often comes a point when top executives find it challenging to convince others of the company’s value and potential, so they turn to someone like me, a PR/communications expert.
Typically, this happens when a company is pressured – often by its board of directors and/or investors – to evolve, change or alter the company messaging and content, and increase its visibility, to raise funds, or reach another important goal.
The fun for us starts when we jump in to pull apart and re-assemble the company story and apply it through a variety of formats and media. The asks and wants are remarkably similar among very different companies, so we are able to see pretty clearly client attitudes and behaviors that work best for success. Here are a few that rise to the top:
- Being clear on goals: My team at RAC has been lucky to work with CEOs who know what they want to accomplish via PR/communications. They are hands-on with solidifying messages and what they want to talk about. The biggest issue is usually bandwidth. As startups, even in mid-stage, usually operate with shoestring staff, there may be a desire to do more than company leaders can actually commit to. In this case, it’s important for company leaders to be open and transparent so their PR partner can provide sound counsel and plan accordingly.
- Having realistic expectations: With clear goals set, we are able to luickly align with clients on what we can accomplish. Those who know me know I’m not a fan of the “one and done” mentality. It takes time and commitment to achieve successful PR. However, if a company has limited resources and a very specific need for PR help – perhaps to make an important announcement, or communicate key data at a point in time – better to work with a professional than go DIY. A short-term engagement may achieve a quick objective but will have little lasting impact.
- Being decisive, while also being flexible: Technology is pushing changes in healthcare faster than ever before, and big companies are relying on smaller ones to expedite innovation free of lengthy processes. The founders and leaders of these smaller companies need to listen to their customers’ needs and be very clear on how their offerings will get customers to where they need to be. It is critical to tell the right story to the right people at the right time, and requires close collaboration with us communications folks to do so.
We’re in an exciting time in healthcare and my team is honored to work closely with those advancing the landscape for the next generations. Our best client relationships share a mutual partnership mentality along with some patience and realistic expectations. When it works well, it’s golden.