What I’m looking forward to at this year’s Fierce West conference.

Meredith Kiernan
May 10, 2024

Next week I’m excited to attend the Fierce Pharma PR & Communications Summit West. This is my second Fierce summit, and if my experience at Fierce’s 2023 East Coast counterpart is any guide, I’m anticipating a collegial gathering of life science industry peers trading stories and tips about our ever-evolving industry. What am I most looking forward to? Three panels stand out.

1) “From Visibility to Value – Positioning leaders to drive reputation”

I believe executive thought leadership is a powerful yet underutilized reputation-building tactic, especially for biotechs seeking to maintain visibility across the quiet spaces between key milestones. But leaders can often be reticent to step into the limelight, especially in a news environment where leaders are asked – and expected to – weigh in on challenging topics. I hope this session will touch on the business case for building a multifaceted thought leadership bench and also how companies can efficiently scale and manage these programs in the midst of many other competing demands.

2) “Thriving as an N of 1: Unlocking the power of one in biotech communications”

Because their success is our success, we spend a lot of time at Waterhouse talking about how we can support corporate communications clients as they juggle a complex mix of key stakeholders, channels and responsibilities (for a deeper dive on this topic see Kimberly Kraemer’s most recent Leading the Way blog, “The Power of One: Integrated Corporate Communications Comes of Age in Biotech”.) And, in many cases, these programs are run by one small but mighty corporate communications lead. So, when everything is a priority and you can only do so much, how can the corporate communications function most effectively drive ROI? I’m interested to hear three N of 1 corporate communicators talk about the creative ways they are driving progress against their objectives – including how they are utilizing AI as an emerging productivity enhancer.

3) “Engage to Excel: Crafting a culture of excellence in PR and communications”

At last summer’s Fierce East, employee experience was relegated to a roundtable discussion. So, I was thrilled to see this topic make it to the main stage at this spring’s conference. This session will break down the critical role of the employee stakeholder in driving a company’s brand reputation and greater business success – a topic near and dear to my heart. It will touch on the role of PR and communications not just in employee communications but also rewards & recognition, talent development and total rewards.

I spend a lot of time working with clients on these very topics and am looking forward to hearing what the panelists have to say.