Behind the Headlines With Beth Kurth
Beth Kurth, vice president of investor relations at LaVoieHealthScience, says authentic communication is the key to effectively building a relationship with patients.
In this interview, Beth discusses the challenges life science companies face, the importance of reputation management and how to share knowledge and gain the interest of your audience through integrated communication.
What drew you to the field of health and life science communication?
Life science is a rarified world with brilliant scientific discoveries and innovative approaches. There are visionaries who are solving challenges ranging from making a better eye drop to developing more effective schizophrenia treatments. As such, it is an exciting field and one in which I learn something every day.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new role as vice president of investor relations at LaVoieHealthScience?
I hope to continue to help our clients make their health and science innovations known, understandable and approachable. With 15 years of experience executing strategic communication plans, LaVoieHealthScience has a passion for helping companies raise credibility, extend visibility and amplify their success.
What are some of the biggest communication challenges health and biotech brands face?
The good news is there is ongoing interest in life science companies’ innovative discoveries that offer better health. The challenge is there are so many promising new discoveries, often on the leading edge of science, competing for attention.
It is imperative that health and biotech brands – whether they are biotech, pharma, medical device or digital health – ensure their story is both differentiated and approachable.
How do patients shape communication strategy?
Patients deserve authentic communication that appropriately conveys the science and offers insight into how innovation can lead to better health.
What role does reputation management play for health and biotech brands?
Reputation management is critical because there are literally life and death inputs in play. Companies must carefully build and tend their reputation through an authentic story that melds science, vision and mission.
What do you think are the most important elements of an integrated communication strategy?
An integrated communication strategy leverages interest and knowledge across and among different audiences. The most important elements for life science companies are:
1. Identify the full suite of stakeholders
2. Ensure compliance with FDA, SEC and other regulatory rules governing communications
3. Build and develop relationships among patients, physicians, researchers, advocacy groups, investors, regulators, journalists and others to enhance their understanding and interest in the company’s innovations.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin a career in communication?
Be a student of the craft. Practice consuming and producing different types of communication channels. What’s the most persuasive item you read or viewed recently? Why? What caught your attention and drew you in?
A communications career is an exciting opportunity to connect people, ideas and outcomes. Good travels to all who are starting the journey.
Rapid Fire Round
1. My biggest pet peeve is…fascinating movie trailers that front boring movies. My second pet peeve is that I fall for them.
2. My daily newspaper of choice is…the Wall Street Journal – insightful writers and interesting perspectives.
3. If I won the lottery, I’d…buy season tickets for every one of Boston’s great sports teams – the Bruins, Breakers, Celtics, Red Sox, Revolution and the New England Patriots.
4. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…coffee, coffee, coffee.
5. The most interesting thing about me is…my book list. I read everything from Hope Jahren’s “Lab Girl” (on being a scientist) to Dan Lyons’ “Disrupted” (on working for a technology startup) to Joe Nocera’s “Indentured” (on the NCAA and college athletes). Please read these books and let me know what you think @BethKurth!
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