Top tips for communicating with scientists

When it comes to engaging with scientific audiences, which we have been doing on behalf of clients for more than 25 years, our general advice is to follow the key principles of good communication, it’s not rocket science. Yes, OK, so scientists think rationally, we all know and can recite that sweeping generalisation and it’s, on the whole true, however, they are also people and, like all of us, they use their emotions in their work too. 

In the first episode of our Podcast, TSP Talks, our resident science guru, Richard Kent, advises that companies should build personality and reputation so that people know what it might be like or feel like to work with them. This is critical in increasingly competitive markets, as the nuts and bolts of a technology / instrument are becoming less differentiated, so buyers are looking for more. In some markets, they might take it as a given that the technology will work and help them to do their job, but what might persuade them to buy or switch might be aspects such as service, ease of working together, a smooth buying process etc.  

Having said this, we are not dismissing the fact that scientists make informed, data-driven decisions. In fact, we tap into this by regularly producing customer testimonials or case studies. We interview key customers or users of a technology and create a story around how our client’s technology has helped the customer to achieve more. This endorsement and evidence helps potential buyers make informed decisions and enables us to build in some key messaging around the brand personality too. For maximum impact and ROI, we use this content in multiple ways, via multiple channels, so that it helps create brand awareness, as well as concrete sales opportunities.  

Richard is somewhat of an old hand at developing voice of customer programmes and his advice certainly rings true: ‘Don’t get buried in the science’. Being a scientist himself, he knows how to talk to other scientists and extract the most compelling information, which is how the technology has translated into benefits. Not what it does and all of the technical detail – that information belongs elsewhere, such as in an app note or technical document.

When we are trying to attract new users and build an audience for a product or company, illustrating successes is key, but recognising that audiences are people who have emotions, may not have time to get into the detail (initially) and are looking for solutions to their own challenges, is even more important.  

In our free e-book ‘Storytelling with science’ – we outline a 5-step approach to creating compelling scientific content: 

  1. Defining the audience 
  2. Selecting the appropriate format 
  3. Crafting the messaging and story 
  4. Uncovering the commercial angle 
  5. Writing for scientists. 

It’s definitely worth a read if you are looking to engage more with a scientific audience. If you think you might need our help with any aspect of this journey, contact us for a no-obligation consultation. 

April 14th 2022 |

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About the Author: Sarah Martin-Tyrell

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