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From multinational pharmaceutical corporations to biotech start-ups, all companies need to communicate with their stakeholders. Why? Enric Rello, CFO of Oryzon, said it right, "What people don't know about does not exist." Rello, along with other communicators and entrepreneurs from the healthcare and life sciences arena, shared the lessons they've learned at the event Lessons Learned: Communicates...what? Communication strategies to grow your business held by Biocat and CataloniaBio on 4 October at the Barcelona Science Park.

Strategy and planning, “No improvisation,” recommends this representative of biotech firm Oryzon, which is now publicly traded. “We work with a news flow to keep us consistent.” The calendar of contents includes corporate, scientific and financial information. The team in charge is part internal and part external (communication agency).

Communication encompasses different areas, including corporate identity, media relations and online presence (digital). All together, properly coordinated, these help us build the company’s reputation and position it in the market and in society. “Message, goal and audience are key for effective communication,” explained Cristina Fontgivell, journalist and Brand, Marketing & Communications Assistant Director at EY Spain.


Seductive corporate image

Many companies tend to leave corporate identity for last, if they ever get around to dealing with it… Neuroelectrics is a good example of corporate image reflecting the company. Their commitment to high-quality graphic and product design conveys the company’s values perfectly: innovation and internationalization, as well as overall harmony. “Either the product seduces clients or you’re low cost,” explained Guillem Mitjà, director of Operations for this medical device company. Mitjà shared a photo of the Neuroelectrics facilities and the audience reacted immediately, “Oh! I want to come work with you!” So, corporate identity can help attract talent, clients and partners.

Regarding the relationship with journalists it is important to be “open, honest and consistent,” says Cristina Fontgivell.

In all sectors, but especially health, online presence boosts visibility and allows you to reach all sorts of audiences affordably. “Your website is your home,” said Mònica Moro, head of Communication, eBusiness and CSR at Menarini. The website must have the right image, contents, usability and search-engine positioning to fit the company’s needs at all times, and that changes. Plus, you have to create contents regularly (news articles, videos, podcasts, apps, infographics, etc.). The trend in this regard is towards multimedia contents.

In terms of social media, companies should make decisions based on their target audience. It is not necessary to be on every network, because we can't keep up this presence. Sanofi, for example, has chosen Twitter to reach patients through its Sanofi Campus. Director of Communications Alex Pérez told those at the Lessons Learned session that pharmaceutical companies “haven’t known how to communicate their corporate values. The top priority today is talking about patients.” This is a good general line, but each company must tweak it to fit their business goals and the phase they are in (marketing products, attracting investment, etc.).


Communication from an entrepreneur’s viewpoint

Of all the experiences shared at the Lessons Learned session, hearing from Joan Bertran, co-founder and CEO of Cebiotex, was particularly interesting. Cebiotex is a spin-off of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu that does childhood cancer research. Bertran recently worked on a communication campaign to raise €600,000 through crowdfunding on the Capital Cell platform. He said it is necessary to “believe in what you’re doing and communicate it without any hesitation in order to build trust.” Also, it takes “passion and knowing how to delegate to a professional team, even though the entrepreneur must be at the helm of communication from the front line, spend time doing it and…enjoy it.” Cebiotex won the 2013 BioEmprenedorXXI award.

Watch the Lessons Learned video.


The final session of 2016 will be held on 29 November to discuss market access. We look forward to seeing you there!


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