The Life Science Brand Reputation & Communications Conference was held last week in Atlanta, Georgia with attendees from a host of healthcare companies including AstraZeneca, GE Healthcare and UCB Inc. InterbrandHealth’s Executive Creative Director R. John Fidelino addressed the crowd on the role of corporate brand for communications professionals.
A corporate brand is traditionally the most under leveraged business asset within the health and life sciences industry. When used strategically, the corporate brand in healthcare has the power to drive economic value for the company, create demand and build loyalty for a business. Historically, the corporate brand has been relegated to corporate communications and investor relations.
As we see the health industry transform, a strong corporate brand is a key tool for communications professionals. Using the corporate brand thoughtfully and consistently on products, services, and initiatives that matter can bolster your business's reputation and add value to your relationships with your consumers, investors, and employees.
Fundamentally, brands can influence how people understand their world, and healthcare brands can shape people’s perceptions about disease, treatment, and even themselves. If your corporate identity is well-defined, then it can be the lens by which you innovate and also make business decisions.
Communications strategists can reap four key benefits from honing in on the corporate brand:
1. Defining your company’s distinct point of view is critical. Once you do, you and others within the company will have clarity around what matters most at your company and that will ensure coordinated and consistent messaging across your business.
2. As mentioned previously, corporate brands often get “stuck” at corporate communications and investor relations. To grow influence, corporate brands need to be built around commercial dynamics and needs. The more aware you are of what is needed for commercial success, the more credibility you will have in mandating the use of the corporate brand across the business in a prominent way.
3. You should be proud of your corporate social responsibility activities. They can boost corporate reputation, marketplace perception, and give employees something to be proud of. The equity and good will you build around the company as a result of your CSR activities can benefit your product brands. Getting credit for the good that you do also helps further your cause as it raises more awareness about why you invested in the first place.
4. Your corporate brand can help you can connect to specialty customer groups in new and meaningful ways that product brands cannot. The corporate brand can aggregate products in your portfolio that share the same mission, therapeutic focus or technology. In this way the corporate brand can help support commercial objectives at the product level.
R. John closed the presentation with best practices from some well-known healthcare brands, and gave attendees a few things to consider: everything counts, carry the torch, be proactive, and give them proof.
All communications, relationships, and interactions make up your brand experience. Using corporate brand as a unifying force has an impact on every aspect of your business and, ultimately, on your company’s bottom line. By carrying the torch for the corporate brand across the organization, you’ll ensure clarity and consistency through all departments and business units, from research and development to human resources.
The best brands give their employees a reason to get up in the morning. They make sure that the people who work for them know what they are doing and why. They give them something to believe in and empower them with the tools to make things happen.
Lastly, you should create proof points for communications activities around the corporate brand and establish the metrics needed to demonstrate value. For a brand to be strong and meaningful, it must be embedded into every level of your business and measured.
The Life Science Brand Reputation and Communications Conference, in addition to branding, covered topics such as optimizing social media, managing communications during mergers and acquisitions, and developing the role of patient advocacy relations.