The life science marketing and branding world is growing increasingly crowded. Amid all the competition and noise, brands still need to stand out. What are science and technology businesses—big and small— looking for in an agency? Recently, Scotland-based writer Stuart Delves caught up with Robert England, PhD, founder of UP FOR LIFE, a specialist agency focused on life science marketing and branding, to find out what UP offers that life science brands find valuable.
Helping science to transform the world for good
Robert, you have a belief in the overarching value of science to better the world and the human condition. How do you ‘empower’ science and technology?
Essentially, you empower science and technology businesses and organizations by creating an authentic, singular, and valuable vision. This gives one the wings to fly. When considering where and more importantly how to spend one’s marketing time and money, it pays to consider the uniqueness of the sector.
Within UP, there are four pillars that we focus on, because they tend to be key, in particular, to the life science community.
- Our long-standing, proven cloud-based agency model with access to global talent along with local land-based hubs in key geographic locations.
- Our deep understanding of our clients’ businesses and their markets through a combination of our own scientific credentials, taking the time to deep dive, and the leverage of UP Lab - our dedicated research powerhouse.
- Our unique modus operandi where creative minds work in harmony with specially recruited in-house scientific talents, all of whom are PhD level in a relevant scientific discipline.
- Our 11 year track record, establishing an agency in the cloud in 2011, making us pioneers in establishing this working culture, way before the COVID pandemic.
UP FOR LIFE collaborates with impactful and innovative organizations, to help them realize their vision, discover insights, and develop their strategy, identity, voice and presence.
Let’s check out these pillars in a little more detail. So, you are an agency, but you work in the cloud?
Yes, from day one we set up an agency with the usual suspects – account managers, strategists, planners, art directors and copywriters, digital specialists, plus scientific experts – but independent of their location. This model means we can recruit top talent, wherever they happen to live. You can live anywhere in the world and work for UP. You can see what that means for harnessing the right talent for the task at hand. At the same time we do have Creative Hubs, with an HQ in Sweden and Hubs in London, New York, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Zug, Switzerland and Dubai, where we can meet in person.
As well as access to talent there must be other benefits? Cost benefits for instance?
Yes indeed. No big overheads, a flat organization and no office politics. The first point means we can offer competitive pricing and the second two mean we all put energy into serving the client, not serving our own individual interests.
Could you say more about Pillar 2 – a deep understanding of your clients’ business and their markets?
We help promote meaningful products and services and are committed to deeply understanding our clients’ businesses. We are scientists who harness the magic of our creative colleagues in the belief that marketing can lead and develop a business by reaching and addressing the right target audience — talent, investment or customers — in exactly the right way to motivate their decision. Being scientists and sector-focused, we’re in for the long haul and we build long-term relationships. This deep understanding and commitment builds trust.
Supporting this, we have a tried and tested approach to every project called BASE-UP®. It’s very thorough. Very effective. And completely transparent. It ensures that our clients know exactly where they are in the process and that we check in regularly with them so that they can make sure we’re on track.
We also have a brilliant resource in UP LAB, our internet-based research model, which can provide invaluable input by accessing relevant experts that allows us to sculpt the right message and strategy. Recently we had a client…
Listen to Robert speak more about how insights from UP LAB garnered global market research from 12 key regions around the world, that helped challenge assumptions and provide the right messaging for safety in blood drawing.
Also listen to Robert give an example of how sometimes, especially in the case of start-ups, UP for LIFE consultant scientists have more knowledge and understanding of an area of science than a company’s marketing and communications colleagues. In this case, radio therapy.
“Because we’re global we’re culturally sensitive to the different moods and nuances of different regions.”
Everyone wants their message to stand out, attract and engage, and stick in the mind. For the scientist this message has to be right. But I’d contend that it also has to be bright and that elegance and wit have a big part to play in this. How does UP FOR LIFE achieve this?
Essentially by creatives – art directors, copywriters and filmmakers – working in harmony with our life science consultants. The key is that the science consultants that we recruit are not simply science consultants, they are people with an appreciation of aesthetics and language. Equally the creatives that work for UP FOR LIFE are inquisitive people, curious about the science that is transforming medicine, healthcare and technology. I always say that the scientist is not just a consumer of science but also a consumer of culture and that a true creative is interested in everything. It’s this rich collaboration that enables us to create not just accurate communications but inspiring communications.
Listen to Robert and Stuart talk more about how magic happens from this interplay of skills ....
....and also the importance of wit in science communications.
Finally Robert, you’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the business over the last 11 years haven’t you?
Indeed, we have worked with such powerhouses as GE Healthcare, AstraZeneca and Bayer, building brands, providing inbound content and strategies, and promoting products. Equally our agency model allows us to scale accordingly so that we can and do work with smaller start-ups. Often these are the life-blood of the sector and we’re keen to be involved and we can bring the knowledge we have gleaned from working with bigger clients to benefit smaller ones.
And, I suppose, with 11 years of familiarity everyone at UP FOR LIFE is easy in the skin of the cloud?
Oh yes. We’re very relaxed online. It’s home for us and we make sure our clients feel at home. There’s time to chew the cud, reflect, be silent – essential in all human and business relationships. It’s our silver lining.
As a bonus, listen to Robert talking about creating a community of consultant PhDs at UP for LIFE.
Standout messaging built on research
Check out some examples of UP FOR LIFE’s branding work where the opportunity to tell stories reaches its full potential.
Need help with life science branding? Reach out to UP FOR LIFE.