If you’re moving an early-stage asset through the clinic, the idea of “telling your corporate story” may seem like marketing-ese. Or worse, it may feel like a waste of time and capital dreamed up by consultants (present company excepted, of course). You may have hand-picked everyone around you, and your research, experience, and leadership may be widely known in the industry. You’d prefer to concentrate on your life-changing molecule. After all, that’s where the true enterprise value of your company lives. In this way, it’s tempting to calculate the value of your company with little emphasis on your corporate brand.
But “value” is a funny thing.
If you’re heading up a NewCo, there are multiple drivers of value and the perception of the value of your enterprise—which is another way of quantifying its attractiveness to potential partners and investors. No doubt, a large part of this perception is the potential therapeutic impact of your molecule. But there are other, more subjective factors that play important roles. For example, what is the perceived opportunity of the market you’re looking to impact? If it’s misunderstood or underappreciated, the true value of your potential therapeutic advance may also be underappreciated. The same holds true for your company itself. It’s more than a collection of individuals, research, and lab space—because a life-science company is not simply an empty vessel that promises a potential return on capital. In fact, what you’ve undertaken is a deep, multi-year commitment dedicated to the highest human aspiration: helping free humankind from pain, death, and disease.
Positioning is more than who you are….
Every great human endeavor respects the past, capitalizes on the present, and drives toward the future. You company is no different. Like you, your colleagues, and your research, it is in the process of becoming. It is what you—and those on board with you—will make it. In this way, framing your company is not about what you are doing now. It is about what you will do—and how you will work toward that goal. This is the true essence of powerful corporate positioning, and the real measure of value—aspiration, drive, and, ultimately, will. Your company is a creation, and every day it becomes collectively more experienced, more intelligent, and more capable. It is moving through time and space, changing and growing, far more than a collection of assets and employees. Your position should capture that sentiment—and use it to capture the true value of your organization.
But there are limitations, as with everything we do. We cannot be everything to everyone. We cannot be three things. Or even two. Truly powerful positioning, just like a truly powerful story, presents a single, easy-to-follow narrative that succinctly defines your company’s aspiration.
…positioning is an act of will.
The seeming simplicity of positioning is also what makes the process challenging. Positioning must occupy a single space in the mind of the audience. But it’s difficult to put the thought into action. We all want to be more than one thing. In the world of positioning, companies that seek to be occupy multiple spaces in customer’s minds find themselves diluted, ignored, potentially disbelieved, and ultimately, command less value than those companies who have taken the time and made the effort to clearly define themselves.
A recent client made the decision to reimagine their business, moving away from a partnership model to a strategy that leveraged their science and expertise for a direct—and dramatic—impact on underserved patient communities. It was a bold strategy that demanded the company reimagine not just its business model, but its perception. Thus, their positioning moved to become more human, patient-focused, and universal—a far cry from the limitations of their previous perception as formulation chemists. And through the lens of the new positioning, the company has a clear and exciting story to tell investors, partners, and potential employees. The positioning accurately expressed the company’s elevated aspiration, thus increasing its value—and elevating its story.
By developing a distinct and powerful positioning, you will not only give your organization a direction, you will increase its value in the minds of your key audiences. Additionally, by truly defining who you are, your decision-making processes will become more efficient—whether it pertains to pursuing additional therapeutic areas, hiring, acquisitions, or any of the other hundreds of critical decisions you will make throughout the course of your company’s journey to become truly great.
But like science or art, positioning is a leap of faith—and one best made with those who have made it before.
We can help.
We have experienced the power of positioning first-hand in our own businesses, and have deep experience in helping companies like yours understand its importance, as well as implementing processes that can help your team develop a powerful organizational identity that drives value and efficiency.
Additionally, we can:
- Implement workshops that uncover your organization’s unique qualities, helping inform positioning
- Work closely with your team to craft positioning, mission, and vision statements
- Understand your near-, medium-, and long-term goals to best inform the process
- Identify additional partners (PR, IR, research, agency, and others) to help you communicate your vision
- Advise on road-show decks and other investor presentations