How to Speak Up In Industries Where Regulations Seem to Discourage It

by Greentarget
Contact

Maintaining a positive relationship with the press and the public in a highly regulated industry can feel like an unwinnable battle. You want to be a thought leader. You want to be part of the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. But you’re up against a thicket of rules against making selective disclosures, speculating about the future or discussing new products under government review.

Health care and pharmaceutical executives have to contend with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Finance and insurance executives don’t want to cross the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Energy executives … well, you get the idea. So some executives figure the easiest way to avoid saying something they shouldn’t say publicly is to say nothing at all. They scarcely ever call the press and avoid contact with the public.

You don’t have to be one of them. It is possible for a company in any one of these highly regulated fields to build innovative, attention-grabbing media campaigns without breaking rules or unsettling their government minders. Three tips:

Know Your Referees: You’ll have an easier time staying inbounds if you genuinely know the rules and the people who enforce them. So read the rules. Learn the specifics. The SEC, FINRA and FDA play by exacting regulations, but they also publish a wealth of guidance about them.

Next, talk to your regulators. They’re obliged to explain their polices to their constituents. You may be surprised to find they’re happy to share insights on what exactly is or isn’t allowed when engaging in a public relations or social media program. Get familiar with how they view the rules they’re enforcing. They may not see things the way you thought they did.

Empower Your Staff: Get your public relations staff and consultants to explain exactly how they’ll help you steer clear of problems. Make sure they know the rules even better than you do. Ask them to produce a clear set of guidelines that lay out which rules apply to your company and who enforces them. Social Media Today published an article earlier this year summarizing some of the rules a few of the big government agencies enforce.

Ignore Rules that Don’t Exist: Executives who don’t know the rules on public disclosures tend to assume everything is illegal, effectively adhering to rules that aren’t.

Knowledge is confidence. Once everybody knows the rules, ask your public relations advisors to find issues you and your colleagues can discuss publicly without violating them.

One of our clients, a law firm, represented a number of drug and medical device companies who had issues open with the FDA. Our client’s representatives weren’t allowed to talk about any of these matters. Yet they were eager for the press to be aware of the depth and breadth of their expertise in dealing with the FDA.

So we organized a roundtable on their behalf. We worked with them to develop a list of topics that would be safe for public discussion. We invited a number of top-tier business and industry reporters to listen in. We encouraged our clients to speak freely. We allowed the reporters to ask questions, get answers and get acquainted with several attorneys and their specialties. After the event, several of the reporters published stories quoting our experts. Our clients became go-to sources for some of the reporters they met at the event.

Whatever field you’re competing in, well thought-out communication strategies help you build credibility among key stakeholders. In a highly regulated industry where many of the players are too nervous to talk, boning up on what you can actually discuss can really help you stand out. Think of how refreshing it is to the reporters, investors and customers who hear from you—mindful of the limits and yet willing to share your insights in the press, in public, and even on social media.

Written by:

Greentarget
Contact
more
less

Greentarget on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!