PR of everything serious: Healthcare, Financial Services, and Corporate

By: Riti Shah, Account Supervisor at PRLab

October 23, 2018 

The world of public relations goes beyond what often meets the eye. Time and again a layman would associate PR with the publicity of consumer-facing brands and products. Consumer practice is a big part of the PR industry but there is a lot more to it. PR is a strategic communications function that also caters to industries like financial services, healthcare, energy, technology, corporates, and nonprofits.

So what kind of PR support do these companies need, as they are often in a B2B space and not in B2C? It is essentially depends on, the company and its specific requirements. These requirements fall under two broad sections – internal and external communication. Under internal communication, the company is interested in communicating with its stakeholders within the organization like senior leadership, employees, business partners, global alliances, etc. Whereas for external communication, the audiences would consist of suppliers, policymakers, influential industry leaders, trade experts, and analysts, etc.

There are certain PR practices that are common to companies in a said industry. These industry-specific PR tools prove to be a great set of transferable skills that a communications expert can possess, hone, and apply and apply across various companies as well as industries. The focus of this article/blog is based on the PR techniques that are specific to these three industries.

Healthcare sector consists of pharmaceuticals, biotech, hospitals, insurance providers, and research institutes. The healthcare PR practice demands a PR professional to develop in-depth subject matter knowledge before they start communicating it ahead. Hence, proper knowledge of the company’s functions and its precise impact is the foundation of healthcare public relations.

Organizations in the healthcare sector need PR expertise regarding industry scanning in terms of the latest conversation in their direct markets and industry, the progress level of competitors, and opinions about the company and its products. More often than not the services and products that these companies provide affect the well-being and safety of consumers, hence it also crucial when it comes to crisis anticipation. Subject matter expertise allows the PR personnel to make the best judgment call with regards to what needs to be flagged to the company and what can be overlooked.

Another interesting industry to work in is financial services. All though by nature, it is an extremely consumer-facing industry, major aspects of communications often take place with other external stakeholders who are equally important to these companies. The financial services sector consists of banking, large and mid-size investment companies, insurance companies, asset management firms, and portfolio management firms. After the great economic depression, people lost trust in large financial institutes and in order to overcome that companies are trying to be as locally involved as possible.

As a PR expert, it is necessary to learn and be updated about the hyperlocal, local, regional, national, or global markets they are responsible for. Every market has different needs, and converting dry financial data into the regionally relevant material without compromising its accuracy is a constant challenge every PR professional faces. The skills to understand the markets and strategic positioning of a company in it serves as a great resource in establishing a strong and favorable brand presence in the market.

Lastly, the third industry in the discussion is corporate practice. Usually, for-profit corporations are part of these groups. These corporations consist of law firms, technology companies, publications, corporate affairs companies, energy companies, etc. The practice at large often includes conducting extensive media relations and corporate reputation building for these companies.

An important aspect of media relations for companies in this sphere is the significant role and prominence of trade publications. As these services and products are seldom consumers facing, the major publications might not cover them, but the news still might be an impactful news for the industry as a whole. This is where these trade publications step-in. They provide high-quality industry relevant information which can influence outsiders as well. PR experts in these fields need to ace the specialized skills required to navigate their way through these specific media outlets and its correspondents.

In this era of integration, communications experts still exist who invest in in-depth knowledge of their company and its industry and identify its special needs and cater to it.

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