Episode 31: "Leveraging Good Relationships and Media Relations to Support a Thriving Healthtech Business" | Rachel Ford Hutman, Ford Hutman Media

Episode 31:

Rachel Ford Hutman is the founder of Ford Hutman Media. A media company that provides communication for elite Science companies specializing in the development of health technologies.

In this episode of the HealthTech Hustle, Rachel shares her motivation to delve deeper into the healthtech industry, which is a far cry from her background as a reporter. Now, she’s leveraging on her background to bring healthcare technology to greater heights. She’s a “global health industry connector” and a “problem solver” whose mission is to deliver accessible health stories to stakeholders that are easy to understand and relate with.

“Working in healthtech made me feel like we're making a difference in the world. In my small way, I was contributing to the world and I loved it.”- Rachel Ford Hutman [02:08]

What is your background? [01:23] 

Rachel was a reporter whose focus is on journalism. She’s had extensive exposure to working a lot with PR people. In 2008, the newspaper she used to work for got laid off and she had to go searching for a new job.

Her experience working with PR people is what propelled her to go into public relations herself. Couple that with her passion for writing and storytelling and that stamped her decision pretty quickly.

She started working with biotech companies, life science agencies and other healthtech focused companies.  She held a senior communications position in large global healthcare communication firms and tackled the developments in digital health. 

Recently, she founded the Ford Hutman Media company just before the pandemic started and there couldn’t have been a much better time to do that. 

How did she identify the problem in the healthcare system and the first steps she took to offer solutions? [06:12]  
In healthcare, she found communicating new technology to the public can be quite challenging. There is a lot of jargon and health-related terminologies that cannot be easily understood. And if no one understands your language, no matter how much value there is in your product, the people will not listen. Sometimes, when a company is launching a new technology for the first time, there’s a struggle in finding the right words to explain it. She used her skills in writing and storytelling to tweak the value proposition and she made sure it is communicated clearly to the stakeholders. She worked with the reporters, emphasizing educating them and helping them understand the end result that the public needed to know. 

How did you get the word out about your company and reached the people you wanted to reach? [05:23] 

She banked on two things: clarity and consistency. She’s learned that a clear, consistent message to stakeholders is key to spreading the message and being heard. In Healthcare, the messages can be diverse. There’s a wide range of coverage that is why it is important to work with PR and communications firms because they can help in building and spreading a clear message to the public about the value you provide. Technology also plays an important role in delivering your message especially on digital platforms and has proved to be an essential tool in making lives easier. 

How did she put her team together? [11:14]

She made a distinction between the different functions and roles of her team to avoid confusion. PR and marketing should not go together because they support different goals. Marketing is assigned to sales functions while PR indirectly supports sales functions. 

How did she overcome the problems that she encountered as an entrepreneur? [08:44]

She posed a challenge to herself and focused on not over-complicating the terminologies. She made information more accessible to the audience and simplified the message to those who do not have a clinical background. She contributed to the content and worked together on research and scientific evidence to support the content. She encouraged the PR and communications team to do away with flowery language. 

How did she earn the trust of people on her brand? [20:28]

She was one of the lucky few who were cut for this job from the beginning. She has a large network built from the relationships she has established in the past. For those who are trying to venture into business, know that business has always been relationship-driven. It has been easy for her because she made sure she maintained good relationships with the people she worked with. They remember the experience of working with her and that made it easy for them to support her venture and trust her brand.

What advice would she give to her 20-year-old self? [26:40]

“Take a gap year already. Relax, you have the rest of your life to work. Go travel the world, enjoy yourself. I always had this entrepreneurial spirit and I always thought I should have taken a year off and travel the world. All my life, all I did is hustle”

Lisa Health answers the rapid-fire round of questions. [25:04]

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