A 3-part series called Communications in Life Science Marketing: It’s Not Just What We Say, But Also How We Act and Think.
Over three informative blog posts, I will guide you through the intricate world of branding in the life science industry.
From living and acting on brand values and understanding your brand’s internal culture to embodying powerful verbal and non-verbal communications, I will share my insights on the process of crafting a genuine and authentic brand image that truly resonates with your audience.
It’s a journey of exploration, introspection, and implementation tailored to empower life science companies like yours while navigating the ever-changing landscape of brand communications. Are you ready to explore, learn, and transform your brand’s narrative? It’s not just what we say; it’s also how we act and think…. Let’s dive in!
The Importance of Living and Acting on Life Science Marketing Values
In this first article, we are going to explore the art of living and acting on our values. But before we delve into the nitty-gritty, I want to clear the air about what it truly means to live and act on brand values and why this is so important in our unique industry.
Living and acting on your brand values goes beyond catchy taglines and glossy promotional materials – For many people, when they hear the word brand, they think of logos and websites, but it’s so much more. It entails adhering to your values through your daily actions consistently.
Think of your brand values as a behavioral guide that informs the actions, decisions, and communication of your company. It’s about walking the talk, ensuring that every step taken aligns with the values your brand upholds. From the CEO to the newest intern, everyone in the organization personifies and represents these values, embedding them into the fabric of their professional conduct.
Now, why is this particularly important in life science marketing? Since our industry operates at the intersection of business and health, it often is impacting lives directly.
Consequently, this means that the stakes are very high. Trust, credibility, and authenticity are paramount. By living and acting on well-defined brand values, you will not only foster stronger connections with your audiences but also carve out a distinctive identity in your market.
So, are you ready to think differently about your brand and how you communicate and act?
First things first: Understand Your Brand Values in Life Science Marketing
To truly embody your brand values, we first need to understand what they are and why they hold such importance in life science marketing.
At their core, brand values represent the guiding principles of a company. They form the bedrock of a brand’s identity and ethos, outlining what the company stands for and believes in. These values act as a compass or guiding north star, directing not only how the company operates but also its interactions with customers, partners, and even its own employees. These core values provide a really important sense of direction and, in the end, keep the brand consistent, relatable, and grounded in its mission.
There’s just no room for ambiguity in life sciences. All of the companies in our sector need to have clearly defined values that inspire trust, communicate their commitment to their mission, and establish their role as responsible entities in this critical field.
Now, to give you some real-world examples of some commonly-used brand values in life science, let’s have a look at some of them:
- Innovation: The life science industry is driven by constant advancements and breakthroughs. So, you’ll find that a commitment to innovation is often a key brand value. It demonstrates a company’s dedication to pushing boundaries, seeking new solutions, and leading the way in scientific and medical advancements.
- Transparency: In an industry as vital and complex as life sciences, transparency is critical. Companies need to communicate openly about their processes, products, and research findings. This openness helps build trust with consumers, healthcare professionals, and regulatory bodies.
- Patient-Centricity: Life science companies increasingly adopt a patient-centric approach, focusing on the needs and experiences of patients. This value underscores the company’s commitment to improving patient care and outcomes, ensuring that their voices and experiences are at the heart of product development and services.
These are just a few examples, but they highlight how brand values serve as a lighthouse in the often-turbulent waters of the life science industry. They are more than just words; they are the lifeblood of the company’s identity.
The Impact of Living Your Brand Values
Living and acting on brand values isn’t just about doing what feels right. We aren’t talking about intuition here; how you act and what you say can significantly impact a biotech, pharma, CRO, or medical device company’s reputation and relationships with stakeholders.
When a company consistently exemplifies its values in the right way, it builds credibility and establishes a strong, authentic brand image. On the other hand, if a company champions certain values but doesn’t act accordingly, it can severely damage its reputation.
Your brand values act as a mirror reflecting your organization’s ethics and principles. It should be obvious and go without saying that customers, partners, regulators, and even employees are more likely to trust, connect and engage with a brand that demonstrates integrity.
Your core values help differentiate you, often influencing customer loyalty and decision-making.
Strong brand values can attract like-minded partners, resulting in beneficial collaborations and alliances. They can also play a pivotal role in employee hiring and retention. Many professionals prefer to work with companies whose values align with their own, fostering a motivated, committed workforce.
Let’s look at a few examples of life science brands that are known for living their brand values:
- Amgen: This biotech company’s mission is to serve patients, a value deeply ingrained in their operations. Their commitment to this mission shows in their patient assistance programs, efforts to enhance accessibility to their treatments, and focus on research to address unmet medical needs.
- Medtronic: Medtronic’s brand values are summed up in its mission statement – to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life. Their commitment to this mission is demonstrated in their innovative medical technology products, rigorous ethical standards, and patient education initiatives.
- Roche: Roche’s values of integrity, courage, and passion are at the heart of their operations. Their dedication to these values is manifested in their groundbreaking research, transparency in clinical trials, and commitment to improving patient lives worldwide.
How do you go about Embodying Brand Values throughout your entire organization?
While understanding and acknowledging the importance of brand values is a solid first step, the journey doesn’t stop there. How do we incorporate these values into the very fabric of our organization and cascade them? How do we ensure that every action, decision, and interaction reflects what we stand for?
Here are a few ideas on how you can do just that:
It’s often said that a company’s culture is shaped by its leadership. Leaders set the tone, influence behaviors, and build a culture where brand values are more than just buzzwords; they’re a way of life. Leadership endorsement is key to living our brand values. But it’s not just about their behavior – leaders also must vocalize these values regularly, integrating them into discussions, meetings, and strategic planning.
Employees are the torchbearers of brand values. But for them to embody these values, they need to understand, relate to, and believe in them. This is where employee engagement comes into play. Regular training and workshops can help employees understand the values and see their relevance. Teambuilding activities aligned with these values can also reinforce them in a fun, engaging manner. Additionally, rewarding and recognizing employees who exhibit these values can motivate others to do the same.
Integrate into your Decision-making Process
Brand values should serve as a compass guiding the company’s decisions. Whether it’s launching a new product, entering a partnership, or even hiring a new team member, these decisions should align with the brand values. For example, if one of your brand values is “patient-centricity,” any new initiative should enhance patient experiences or outcomes. Over time, this approach strengthens the association between your brand and its values, enhancing credibility.
Communicate Internally and Externally
The way a company communicates, both internally and externally, significantly impacts how its brand values are perceived. Internal communication helps foster a culture where these values are ingrained in everyday work life (and link up with Employee Engagement). Externally, your brand values should be clearly reflected in all marketing and communication materials. Whether it’s a press release, a social media post, or a customer service interaction, the brand values should shine through.
But living and breathing your brand values is far from a one-off exercise.
Challenges and Solutions in Living Our Brand Values
Living brand values is an ongoing commitment. It involves every team member, from the leadership to the front line, actively embodying these values in their roles Living brand values is a noble aspiration, but let’s not beat around the bush—it’s not without its own challenges.
Being aware of these challenges is the first step towards overcoming them. Here are some common obstacles life science companies face when trying to embody their brand values and practical solutions to navigate these hurdles:
Challenge: Disconnect Between Values and Actions
Sometimes, there might be a gap between the stated values and the day-to-day actions of the company.
Solution? Ensure alignment between actions and values at all levels. Regularly audit your company’s practices to ensure they align with your values. If discrepancies are found, take immediate action to realign practices with values.
Challenge: Lack of Understanding or Engagement
If employees don’t understand or feel connected to the brand values, they are unlikely to embody them in their work.
Solution? Invest in regular training and engagement activities that help employees understand the values, see their relevance, and feel motivated to embody them. Celebrate and reward employees who demonstrate these values to encourage others.
Challenge: Changing Market Dynamics
In a rapidly evolving field like life sciences, market dynamics and customer expectations can shift quickly. Staying true to brand values amidst these changes can be challenging.
Solution? Stay flexible and adaptable. While your core brand values should remain constant, how you live those values might need to adapt to the changing environment. Regularly review your strategies to ensure they reflect your brand values in the current market context.
Challenge: Lack of Leadership Buy-In
If leadership doesn’t fully endorse or live the brand values, it can be hard for the rest of the company to do so.
Solution? Engage leadership in discussions about the importance of brand values and their role in embodying them. Encourage them to lead by example and integrate these values into strategic planning and decision-making.
Overcoming these challenges isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort. Companies that successfully embody their brand values not only strengthen their brand reputation but also build deeper connections with their customers, employees, and stakeholders.
How do you measure Success in Living Our Brand Values?
As with any business initiative, embodying brand values is not a “set it and forget it” type of thing. But how do we measure success in something as intangible as living our brand values?
here are several indicators that can signal whether your company is on the right track.
Firstly, let’s talk about internal measures. Employee engagement surveys provide valuable and interesting insights into how well your team understands and lives the brand values.
Another key measure is in the decision-making process. Assess key decisions made over a certain period and evaluate how well they align with your brand values. If you find a consistent pattern of value-aligned decisions, that’s a win! If not, it might be time for a strategic realignment.
Externally, feedback and brand perception surveys are a way you can get a wealth of information. Are customers aware of your brand values? Does your audience perceive your brand as embodying these values? If the answers are largely yes, you’re likely doing a good job of living your brand values.
In the digital world, social media sentiment analysis can also serve as a metric. Are comments and discussions about your brand in line with your brand values? Are you seen as an innovator if innovation is one of your core values?
Finally, consider your business performance metrics. Brands that truly live their values often see a positive impact on their bottom line, be it through increased customer loyalty, improved employee productivity, or stronger partnerships.
Regardless of the metrics you choose, the key is to consistently track and analyze them. Living brand values is a continuous journey that calls for regular introspection and refinement.
Life Science Marketing Values: Final Thoughts
I specialize in aligning brand values to ensure they are properly represented. It’s important to understand that simply talking about these values is not enough and that actively embodying them has a significant impact on how your brand is perceived by stakeholders. Whether it’s prioritizing values such as accountability, positive impact, approachability, and learning (like we do here at Seuss+) or focusing on patient-centricity or other principles, living out these brand values is crucial in the life sciences industry.
As I close this article, I want to leave you with a thought, or rather, a challenge. Take a moment to reflect on your company’s brand values. How well do you think your company is embodying these values in its actions and decisions? Where do you see room for improvement? What new strategies could you explore to deepen your company’s connection with your brand values?
We all learn from each other’s experiences. So, I encourage you to share your insights, your challenges, your successes, and your thoughts. Every perspective adds a unique layer to this ongoing dialogue, enriching it further.
If you need assistance with navigating your life science marketing and core brand values, I can help. With over 25 years of experience in marketing and a thorough understanding of the nuances of life science marketing values, my team of life science business consultants and I can assist you in not only expressing your brand values but also in truly embodying them within your organization. Together, we can establish a brand that not only exists but also flourishes and resonates.
Let’s live our brand values boldly and authentically each day, every day. After all, it’s not just about what we say but how we act and think.
Director of Marketing
With over 25 years of marketing experience, Gina Dunn is a goal-driven marketing and brand strategist known for her infectious energy and ability to deliver tangible results in the life science industry. People describe her as positive, full of energy, and dedicated to driving success. As the Director of Marketing at Seuss+, Gina’s dynamic approach and unwavering focus on achieving goals empower organizations to thrive through strategic branding and communication.
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