While it may seem like having more channels for communication increases our ability to actually communicate, the decline of real-time, in-person exchanges has created a deficit in communication skills. The words come across, but the meaning often gets lost.
With so many businesses vying for attention, those wanting to make sure they are being heard turn to communication experts like Ted Agne, CEO of The Communications Strategy Group Inc. CSG helps both new and established technology, health care, biotech and life science companies develop the best external communication strategies for effectively reaching clients, investors and industry partners.
"Our sweet spot is helping emerging companies make themselves known and find their way," Agne said. "To fine-tune that, we help U.K and E.U. companies wanting to come to the U.S. Whether they are at the clinical stage or are marketing a product, we help them find potential partners, collaboration deals and sometimes funding."
As a communication specialist, Agne knows how to keep deals moving by understanding the nuances of each party's perspective. "Nothing is impossible," he said. "Clients come to us with very difficult problems, and we find ways to resolve them. It's like the old saying goes: 'When the front door slams in your face, go around to the back and find another way in.'"
Agne says having learned early in his career to use a journalistic writing style in his business communications has proven invaluable, adding that being able to write effectively seems to be a diminishing skill these days. "Students can't write today," he said. "When I taught part-time at a local university, I was somewhat shocked at the poor quality of the writing turned in. I attribute this to our current ‘texting society." He compared this to the stringent requirements his first employer had for approving any written statements leaving the company. "If a press release wasn't well written, it didn't go out. Writing needs to be filled with facts, not a bunch of hype," he added.
Boston-based CSG started out working with tech firms at the start of the tech boom in the mid-1980s. Agne's concept was to provide a service that in "scope and cost fulfilled the demands of emerging companies in an emerging market." This model also worked well for segueing into life sciences. "We bring a very high-quality, high-level communications experience at a price they can afford," Agne said.
In order to keep costs down and quality high, CSG has both in-house specialists and partnerships with top-tier boutique firms in the U.S. and abroad to meet various service needs—advertising, design, writing, media relations and financial investor relations. Agne says that having a team that can expand or contract depending on current needs helps CSG stay fresh, economically mobile and able to bring value to the client.
Because CSG has developed alliances throughout Europe, they are uniquely positioned to help life sciences companies trying to enter the U.S. "We understand the U.K. and the European culture," Agne said. This helps them facilitate effective communication on both sides of the pond.
"There is fantastic science coming out of U.K. universities," Agne said. "They have brilliant scientists, but one of the things we do better here in the U.S. is to take that science and develop it and commercialize it." CSG helps provide that marketing edge needed for successful growth.
Another trend Agne noted was American companies launching new pharmaceuticals and medical devices in Europe first because of the slow FDA approval process. "The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has a better approval process," he said. "More companies are going that route, and since we know our way around in Europe and have dealt with the EMA for a number of years, we are positioned to help our clients with this type of strategy."
While the FDA is aware of its organizational problems when it comes to dealing with red tape and is trying to correct them, changes are difficult and slow to put in place. "Like anything else in Washington," Agne said, "it's like trying to turn a supertanker. It takes miles to execute the turn."
Agne explained that getting approved in Europe first doesn't mean the product is also approved for use in America. The American companies still have to go through the FDA's approval process. However, having a proven product that is approved and performing elsewhere does help facilitate getting FDA approval.
From educating clients on the real versus perceived value of press releases to enlisting the support of international ambassadors to ease strained relations in global partnerships, CSG is proactive about making sure its clients, regardless of size, are able get their message out correctly and effectively.
For more information, plesae visit: www.comstratgroup.com
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