When medical associations agree to fund outside clinical research, they take a calculated risk. Sponsoring such research is a high-stakes financial decision. And there are no guarantees that research results will be positive.

Fortunately, the potential benefits can far outweigh the risks. From a communications perspective, creating a research presence is key to earning industry credibility, public respect – and establishing a position as an innovative thought leader and health advocate.

Partnering with outside researchers also comes with a hidden cost: loss of control. Clinical research guidelines are intended to ensure objective results – and prevent outside influence.

If your association is investing in outside research, these three tips can help you stay in control, and ensure that your thought leadership is recognized and rewarded.

  1. Set expectations with researchers
    It’s important that lead investigators, monitors and study authors understand publishing requirements and the credit you expect – from day one. They should be familiar with industry guidelines for publishing medical research and with individual journals’ guidelines, as well.

As a sponsor, you have the right to preview any written research, presentations or abstracts enabled by your funding before it is submitted for public review or publication. Sponsors also may decline to publish research results.

Be certain that your research partner understands exactly how your organization is to be credited, too – including any key messaging around your organization’s name, brand and attribution.Click To Tweet
  1. Promote your research
    Once research is underway, develop communications and media plans to get the word out. Take the time to consider the broader implications of your research and potential storylines or narratives, too.

For example, if your study is examining the effectiveness of a medication for dry eyes, consider the information needs of key patient groups – from older people to computer users and professions where vision is essential. Then find the right platforms for your research insights.

Work closely with your research partner to distill insights into compelling and meaningful sound bites, headlines and stories that will telegraph your thought leadership and health advocacy to all key stakeholders.

  1. Prepare your spokespersons
    The best way to bring your research insights home? Through a compelling – and credible — human voice and personality.

Now is the time to tap your chief science, research or clinical officer or the head of informatics. These leaders can make a credible case for the research through media interviews, social media postings and industry platforms.

Set them up for success with key messages that clearly, consistently position your findings – and your brand – in a positive light. In our experience, these leaders almost always benefit from media training.

Padilla’s media trainers are adept at putting anyone at ease. The confidence and focus they instill in your spokespersons will come across in their presentations and media interviews – and go a long way in leveraging your research investment.

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