Leadership

The Value of a Cohesive PR Campaign

By / Oct 18, 2012 (illustration by Ernie Smith)

It’s more than just the money. It’s how to elevate an industry’s importance through a collaborative messaging platform.

The discussion about healthcare in Washington often focuses on money. That’s appropriate to a certain degree, but it can lead to a shortsighted debate about budgets instead of a bigger-picture dialogue about what patients and physicians need and expect out of our healthcare system.

The need to educate policy makers about the value of medical technology prompted the AdvaMed to create a communications framework that showed the real impact of medical devices and diagnostics.

The need to educate policy makers about the true value of medical technology prompted the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) to create a communications framework that showed the real impact of medical devices and diagnostics.

It started a few years ago as “Medical Technology: Progress You Can See,” and it was designed to accomplish a very discreet objective: helping Beltway policy influencers and decision makers understand the breadth and depth of a varied industry (from implantable solutions to surgical tools to diagnostics and beyond) and the value of the constant innovation cycle in medical technology.

In 2010 it began to evolve, however, as AdvaMed members sought ways to incorporate an overarching theme about the industry into their own messages.

Research and input from a broad cross-section of member companies helped develop a good description of the industry and helped the campaign communicate with one voice, until it eventually became “Medical Technology: Life Changing Innovation.”

“Life Changing Innovation” is now AdvaMed’s cornerstone public affairs effort, and, as evidenced in opinion research and direct interactions with the target audience, it has accomplished its goal.

Its messages support the industry’s communications program, member companies have adopted its easy-to-use tools in their own work, and our government affairs team has used the messages and research to inform policy makers in Washington.

For example, as public concern about the economy and unemployment grew, the campaign’s messages also increasingly focused on the jobs created by medical-device companies, which helped give AdvaMed traction in its effort to convince Congress to repeal a new tax on medical devices. Digital advertisements that focus on the jobs message are generating the most response.

The campaign’s major public face, LifeChangingInnovation.org, is rich with data and research—including a popular map of the United States that shows the impact of the medical technology industry on each state—and it tells the story of medical technology through employees and innovators and through the patients whose lives have been transformed and even saved by medical technology. AdvaMed members can also find a toolkit with communications templates and other materials on the association’s website.

Gary Karr

Gary Karr is executive vice president of public affairs at the Advanced Medical Technology Association in Washington, DC. More »

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