For Health Science Executives
Supercharge Your Next Bioresearch Marketing Campaign
Secrets for creating internal “brand advocates.”
Whether you’re a life science organization launching a new product or a biomedical nonprofit kicking off a fundraising campaign, one of the most valuable investments you can make is to secure the full support of your internal team. This isn’t just a PR exercise to boost morale; it’s also the most efficient way to scale your marketing efforts.
Creating “brand ambassadors” begins at home, but that doesn’t mean it’s an expensive or time-consuming task. In many cases, a strategic conversation or two can be the tipping point between a staff that goes through the motions and a team of crusading brand advocates eager to take your message to the outside world.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to the basics of encouraging internal teams — from the board to the C-suite to your support staff — to buy into your messaging platform, believe in it, and help promote your fundraising or marketing efforts.
Step 1: Get your internal teams involved early
The earlier you start communicating, the sooner you’ll be able to educate, encourage belief in your product or institution, and get constructive feedback from your people who deal directly with the outside world. This is especially important if you see a need to change your organizational strategy or culture to respond proactively to market forces.
The goal in this stage is to let your vision be heard so that you can encourage investment and buy-in. A good strategy is essentially to say “here’s what we’re thinking” well before you go public. You might kick off the project with a formal presentation, but it could also be as simple as having one or more informal conversations.
This approach gives your teams the opportunity to respond and feel heard early on, while there’s still plenty of time for them to make a difference. Teams that feel empowered in this way are far more likely to become invested in the effort.
Step 2: Provide a structure your teams can respond to
Think of this step as presenting the draft of your messaging platform. The object is to tell your story in an organized, structured way that allows your teams to provide constructive feedback.
Start by sharing relevant background about why the work is important or the product is needed. Most of the time these are simple things that are going on in the world. For example, growing access to healthcare in emerging countries might be creating opportunities that your organization is in a position to capitalize on. A slump in the stock market might be discouraging bioresearch donations. Is a technological breakthrough or new legislation changing the way you need to do business? Whatever the inspiration, give your teams a sense of the market forces driving the opportunities.
You’ll also want to be up front about any major challenges, such as competitive factors, limited resources, or the need to change established behavior patterns of your supporters or customers. From there you can get into your messaging platform, the “here’s our why” part of the story. Make the case for why your organization is in the best position to take advantage of the opportunities you’re pursuing, why your work matters, and what you want your teams to believe in.
Step 3: Active listening
Listen and respond to the feedback you get from your internal teams. Make a genuine effort to be open-minded, incorporate good ideas into your strategy, address any concerns, and give credit where it is due.
This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything your teams suggest or that you’re obligated to change your strategy — though you should if they offer useful insights. What’s most important is to make it clear that you’re sincerely seeking their input and to provide them with the opportunity to be heard.
Leveraging the power of your brand ambassadors
Making the most of your internal resources is well worth the effort because teams that are aligned with your message makes your outreach exponentially more powerful. It may take a bit of work, especially if major changes are involved, but try to see the process as an opportunity to learn from the input of your people rather than an obligation to be checked off your list. After all, if they believe in your organization as much as you do, they’ll work harder to make your vision a reality.