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ICR Westwicke Blog

The ICR Westwicke Blog is designed to deliver information and insights into the ever-changing world of healthcare communications.

The JPM Healthcare Media Maze: Crafting a Winning Approach

Posted on November 14th, 2023. Posted by

Pipette adding fluid to one of several test tubes

In less than two months, seasoned investors, influential media, game changing startups and established industry giants will convene at the 42nd Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. The annual event serves as a dynamic hub for networking, deal-making and industry shaping conversations. In today’s biotech market, with investors and media eager for data and keen to draw points of differentiation, well-planned, strategic communications is not just a necessity but a key determinant of success. For the companies offered a presentation slot, and those planning to network within the five blocks surrounding the St. Francis hotel, it is time to get your plan in place to ensure you maximize every interaction in San Francisco.

The conference serves as a prime window for major M&A news, revised guidance and strategic announcements. Top healthcare media attend and robustly cover industry news in the days leading up to the conference, during the conference and in the week that follows. So, does this mean that you should look to make an announcement during this three-week timeframe? The answer depends on a few factors, including newsworthiness, your communication goals and whether your news will provide for more meaningful and transparent discussions with the investors during the conference.

Think through media and investor strategies

Now is the time to lean on your PR and IR agency partners to think through your media and investor strategy and discuss potential news, timing and messaging. Effective communication is not about transferring a message from one person to another. It’s about sharing information in a way that derives desired outcomes. Are you aiming to inform, persuade, motivate or build reputation? Prior to any speaking opportunity, align your communications goals accordingly.

The media that cover JPM are industry experts in their own right. These journalists have deep industry and therapeutic knowledge. You should expect for questions to be narrow and deep even if the topic seems broad. Interviews are likely to be focused on patient impact, data, science, the competitive landscape and points of differentiation. These media outlets are closely followed by the investment community and it’s always paramount to clearly communicate your value proposition and vision for the next 12-months and how your company story connects to or stands out from the larger macro environment.

Prepare for interviews

With all of these potential topics and talking points, how do you prepare for an interview? Identify your three main messages and try to use your commentary to proactively address likely questions. Work with your agency partners to develop a strong messaging and Q&A document that serves as a guide for your spokespeople to use when navigating these media interviews. Be sure to focus on the ‘why’ and underscore your organization’s values and how you’re driving toward your mission. Storytelling is effective when it comes to communicating your ‘make me care’ story, but with some interviews at JPM only lasting a matter of minutes, a 60-second narrative is essential. Ultimately, preparation and agility are the X-factors when it comes to a strong media interview. Reviewing key themes emerging from the conference help spokespeople adapt messages in real-time to provide responsive and relevant commentary.

No news around the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference? These media may also be working on trend pieces. If you can speak to current or anticipated trends, be prepared to provide examples. STAT and Endpoints and other key media often hold panel events that tie into anticipated themes for the year. This year, we might see continued conversations around the impact of AI and machine learning, genomics, PFAS, GLP-1s and if this year will see the biotech market make a resurgence.

Position thought leadership

JPM is also a good opportunity to engage in thought leadership positioning. Make your voice count with unique, sourced, insights on the issues impacting your industry and how your business is responding. These media interactions don’t always result in media coverage, but can foster an ongoing relationship that serves to position the company as a forward-thinking leader.

In the next 9 weeks, the diverse stakeholders planning to attend JPM will be firming up their schedules. Many journalists are already booking meetings, while others prefer to solidify their interview schedule in December. Try to offer as much schedule flexibility as you can to provide for an interview and be prepared to hold these conversations in a hallway or staircase if you don’t have space reserved for these conversations as open seats in the local coffee shops and hotel lobbies are hard to find last-minute.
If you’re feeling behind the eight-ball, there is still time to execute a proactive media approach to ensuring that key messages align with the company’s broader strategy and goals and ready your spokespeople to make a lasting impression. ICR Westwicke will have team members onsite at the 2024 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. In addition to media strategy and engagement, we can manage media scheduling and logistics. Need to fine-tune your investor deck? Our integrated teams can get that JPM-ready too.

We specialize in engaging and preparing executives for media, refining investor presentations, facilitating investor introductions and offer comprehensive PR and IR support beyond the J.P. Morgan Conference. Discover how we can enhance your conference experience today.

Kate Coyle

Kate has over 18 years of communications and marketing experience developing and implementing corporate and integrated campaigns, disease awareness efforts, product launches, managing issues and engaging thought leaders to align opinions. Her expertise includes corporate, franchise and product branding, messaging and issues.

View full bio   |   Other posts by Kate Coyle

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