Branding & Messaging Simplified

4 Aug

By Karen Deyo, Director of Investor Research, Israel BD, LSN

Last week, Greg Mannix and I hosted a workshop titled Branding and Messaging from Seed to Series B, aimed at helping startups know the value of marketing collateral, what to use, and how to use it. Creating good marketing collateral is a long and evolving process – you are never done; you constantly update and improve it as time goes on and your company develops. New milestones replace old and new evidence takes center stage, and as you gain more expertise, your story matures.

One key takeaway from the workshop is that you need to have the whole package of marketing collateral, and that the story should be consistent throughout. This means having a tagline, an elevator pitch, an executive summary, a one-page tear sheet and a pitch deck crafted from the same main message, condensed to varying lengths. Furthermore, this story should give investors the whole picture, covering the three main pillars:

  • Your technology (what is it, what makes it unique, what problem are you solving and how are you improving over existing options)
  • Your market (what competitors are there, both on the market and still in development, what is the market size, including TAM, SAM, and SOM, how long to reach market and what is your path to entry)
  • Your business (regulatory/reimbursement, IP status, exit strategy, and management team).

Clearly, this is a lot of information, and not something you can cover in great depth in your marketing collateral. The goal in this is to give investors just enough to give them an accurate picture so that they can get more details in future meetings if they are a fit.

Another major piece is knowing your audience and tailoring your language accordingly. Does the person you are speaking to have a financial background, or a science-related PhD? You tailor your language accordingly – you don’t want to overload someone who may not be an expert in the field with overly technical scientific jargon. At the same time, if the person has a PhD in a related field, you don’t want to waste time oversimplifying and giving basic information that they already know. Finding a simple, concise description for your company can be difficult, but it serves as a great starting point – something everyone can understand without being too basic, and a great starting off point should you want to get into a more technical discussion. Ultimately, you, or a member of your team, should be able to cover both the science and the business in depth, as both will be needed in the stages of due diligence.

As I mentioned above, your marketing collateral will be constantly changing – you will hone it as you have more conversations and get more feedback. Take note of any frequently asked questions – these are areas you may want to expand upon in your marketing collateral if they come up often enough. A final note, especially to the earliest stage companies: investors understand that you will not have answers to all these questions – for some, you are simply too early. However, you are never too early to consider your options and possible approaches. Giving an investor a well thought out and reasoned answer for a possible solution in the future will go a long way to reassure them that you are the right person to partner with.

Life Science Nation is offering one final workshop, Keys to Successful Partnering on August 17 at 1 PM EDT. Sign up to join for free!

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