MacDougall Musings

Should You Focus on Repositioning and Rebranding Your Biotech Company?

The MacDougall team brings decades of experience helping leading life sciences companies elevate their communication and connection with key audiences. Your success depends on visibility and credibility with your core audiences, partner with MacDougall to amplify your message and its impact.

Whether repositioning and rebranding is an exciting exercise for you and your team or feels overwhelming and you’re not sure where to start, it is one of the most important tools to ensure your message is clearly defined for key audiences. It also provides a framework for your overarching marketing and communications strategy.

Having just completed our own internal repositioning at MacDougall, which subsequently led to a visual rebranding as well, we thought we’d share some of the steps we took for ourselves and take for our clients daily.

Your Rebranding Starts with Business Strategy

Yes, before you can start tinkering with color schemes and website graphics, or wordsmithing your taglines, it’s important to take a 30,000-foot view of your company and what you’re aiming to achieve. Diving directly into an exercise like writing your website copy before going through the following exercises will lead to confused messages, unclear audience targets and, more often than not, going over budget and missing your deadlines.

  • SWOT – The tried and true. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Taking a holistic view of your business to understand elements you may need to develop further or strengths you know you want to highlight is a great approach to help guide your future messaging sessions.
  • Competitor Overview – Understanding your competitive landscape can help pinpoint where you have a right to win, identify white spaces to grow into, or even know which products and services are already oversaturated.
  • Client Questionnaire – Do your clients and partners have the same view of your company as you do? This exercise can help you think through where there is existing synergy or where there may be gaps where your messaging and branding will need to be better articulated.
  • Employee Survey – Building off the client questionnaire, it’s vital to look internally at your own employees. Do they have the same view of the company as the executive team or board members? And further, what are the similarities and differences between what employees and your customers/partners are saying? This can help to identify if a robust internal communications program is necessary.
  • Audience Personas – Paul, the patient. Donna, the doctor. Harry, from the health plan. Isabelle, the investor. Bringing the key audiences, you are hoping to communicate with to life can help you think through barriers and/or pathways to connecting with them. What is their day like? What are their challenges? What is the best channel for you to communicate with them? Clearly identifying these helps inform your communications strategy to ensure you’re speaking their language to achieve your goals.

Identifying Your Key Messages and Brand Personality

Once you and your team have a strong understanding of who you want to target, and what you want to be known for, the next natural step is to move along to drafting your key messages. Again, it’s important to do this exercise annually as markets and business objectives tend to shift. Without an updated strategy, your message and communications plan will inevitably fall short.

Message Map – Identifying your top key messages is key to hitting your communications goals, and ultimately your business goals. We advise clients to stick to 3-5 key messages, have supporting data for each, and an anecdotal story to help bring that message to life. From there, it should be fairly simple to create any piece of content moving forward, whether that’s your website, a guest byline, or your investor deck. Your message map sets the stage for the rest of your plan and should remain consistent.

Brand Personality, Tone and Voice – These terms are often used interchangeably but do have their own unique elements. A brand personality is the set of human characteristics attributed to your brand or how you’d describe your company if it were a person. Your company voice is how you’d describe your company by using adjectives and the tone is a subset of your voice. There are lots of different tools and exercises to help you narrow in on the right variation of personality, tone and voice including Carl Jung’s 12 archetypes or various tonal questions such as: identifying where on the spectrum do you land from formal to casual? Enthusiastic versus matter of fact? It’s key to think through your different audiences. Perhaps your tone is enthusiastic when talking about your employees and company culture but serious and matter of fact when speaking about your science and investments. This step can often be forgotten but is so important in helping to create a clear and consistent brand that stands out from the competition.

Writing Your New Company Positioning

All the above steps lead to this: writing a brand statement that is unique, instantly believable, timely yet lasting, and action-oriented, amongst others. Once you’ve conducted the necessary due diligence to understand your audiences, it’s time to write your positioning. There are many structures and formats but it’s important to ensure that you appropriately convey messaging across your category, your target audience, your customer benefit, and why you deliver on your promise.

Looking for help developing your own company message? We’re here to help. Download our Positioning Overview or reach out to the team directly.