Dr. Christine Senn, PhD
Personal & Professional Branding
Today we're going to talk about branding, both for the company and for yourself. I'm going to start with the company. Companies gain business through their reputation, so it's important that people actually know that you exist. Patients, for example, are probably not as likely to join a clinical trial if they have not heard of the company in some way, or if they can't reach out to someone who's heard of the company. This is an important time to have, for example, billboards that are fairly generic that talk about clinical trials and have your site information. It could also be advertising that’s done. If you do a trial advertisement and it shows your name, then they'll start to see your name over time, and that is part of the branding as well. Let’s talk about other things like CROs and sponsors. If you are trying to reach out and have more CROs and sponsors know about you as a clinical research site, then you really need to have some things that are appealing to them, such as a capabilities deck, which I can go into on another date when we do marketing collateral, and your website, which I'm also going to go into at another time. These are things where people want to see that you exist and have a good reputation.
For patients, word-of-mouth or just seeing your name or seeing your logo is going to be more important. I cannot overstate the importance of signage on your building. A sandwich board saying you're there – something where you put the letters in, you know, one by one? This is not good signage. GO BIG on your signage because it makes an impact and has you looking very professional. It doesn't just make an impact on patients, by the way. When your clients (your CROs and sponsors) are coming for a site visit for the first time, having an impressive building or signage is going to make a big difference.
The one last thing I'd say about branding for your company is that it should always be congruent across everything, including your personal brand if you are the company owner or a leader there. So let's go into your personal brand.
Your personal brand is your professional brand and vice versa. Your professional brand is out there whether you're controlling it or not. I do not have Facebook because I don't think that I should post pictures of my children on there or anything about them growing up, because that could potentially affect their professional brand later if I don't do it with some forethought. I also don't have it because I don't need people to know where I've been. I don't need them to see me drunk at a bar or anything like that. That is my professional brand.
And I'll tell you from when I used to work in the HR department – every single applicant that I was considering for an interview... I looked up their Facebook page and I looked up their LinkedIn profile. If you have not worked before, you're new to the workforce and you don't have a LinkedIn page, that's okay. But if you're a professional, then I expect that you have a LinkedIn page and are keeping it up professionally and have a headshot.
If you are on Facebook, it would behoove you not to complain about your current job, put other people down, or be grossly negative. Back when I was a coordinator a long time ago, there used to be, and there might still be, a Facebook page dedicated to clinical trial memes (I think that's what it was called) or clinical research memes. And you found so much negativity on that. Now I'm not the least bit concerned if people are watching this who have put negative things on clinical research memes. They're not my people, right? Because you do not put negativity into the world and expect positivity back. So, think about your personal brand as being your professional brand, and it should always be congruent with your company brand. If you are not interested in progressing as a professional, then perhaps it doesn't matter as much, but it also may hinder you from getting jobs if people see certain things. And that is an absolute fact, because there were people who were going to make it to the interview stage for me and didn't because their Facebook profile didn’t meet our company culture.
Another thing you can do for your personal/professional brand is to have something like a podcast. There are some great clinical trial podcasts out there. And if you are a research professional, you have expertise in something. You can interview people. You can put things out there. Some of our people have been interviewed and we have interviewed people in different types of podcasts. Just remember to keep it congruent with your company brand.
See you next week!