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Case study: Unleashing the ‘British Biotiger’

Crafting a clear narrative on Brexit, focused on improvement for patients

Published: 13 Jan 2019

British biotiger case study image

Client: Roche UK

Agency: Incisive Health

Campaign: Unleashing the 'British Biotiger'

Timescale: N/A

A quick look

Recognising that the external environment can no longer be separated from our internal culture, we were determined to show leadership internally and externally on Brexit. We worked with colleagues across business disciplines to craft a clear narrative on Brexit, focusing on how the environment could be improved for patients, the public and industry. We weaved this narrative through all of our communications, engaging in a coordinated and consistent way with internal and external stakeholders alike.

Ultimately, this strategy secured us a seat at the table for shaping the post-Brexit life sciences sector while simultaneously reassuring colleagues from across Europe and our global leadership team that we had a bold, optimistic plan for Brexit that they could own and be proud of.


The Brexit vote – and the uncertainty it unleashed – threatened to undermine the UK life sciences sector, creating regulatory disruption, threatening research partnerships, undermining the UK science workforce, delaying access to medicines and destabilising NHS funding. Brexit left many of our multinational UK workforce, which consists of people from 36 countries, feeling angry, fearful and betrayed. It sucked the oxygen out of most other political issues, including distracting stakeholders from important discussions about how to improve access to medicines.

Brexit permeated all our communications channels – both internal and external – and was impossible to ignore. Given the connected nature of all communications – be they internal or external, online or offline – we knew if we wanted to show leadership on Brexit we would have to do so internally and externally as any inconsistencies would be identified and challenged.


Despite the politically fraught nature of the issue, we were determined to be bold in our approach, adopting an optimistic tone which brought practical and fresh ideas to the table. These ideas, together with compelling statistics about Roche’s contribution to the UK, were then woven into all our communications channels, ensuring a coherent and consistent message was delivered on and offline, internally and externally, in person and on paper.

To do so, we worked with colleagues across business disciplines to craft a clear narrative that focused on how the environment could be improved for industry, patients and the public. We gathered evidence to support our claims – conducting market research to test our ideas and generate evidence of support to take to key decision-makers.

We then employed integrated, imaginative communications drawing on our expertise from public affairs, PR and market access to develop seven different multimedia channels. These included videos, a lightbox installation, a series of blogs and tailored, eye-catching briefings to engage colleagues and external stakeholders alike


This strategy allowed us to build momentum for our ideas with key internal and external stakeholders. The approach engaged 65 senior leaders and reached 85% of UK colleagues. Colleagues across the workforce felt reassured that Roche remains committed to the UK and has a plan for making Brexit work. One colleague noted: “I really appreciate and value Roche UK’s support in this matter – it definitely demonstrates how amazing Roche is and I am proud to be part of it. THANK YOU!”

Externally, the approach was likewise welcomed by key stakeholders. Through the programme we engaged with clinical groups, charities and industry partners to advocate for our Biotiger calls. Following this engagement, five of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy recommendations aligned with our key business priorities and members of the Roche team were positioned as ‘go-to’ authorities on Brexit.

Client verdict

“I’m so proud we have presented a unified and powerful narrative to reassure colleagues and inspire stakeholders.” Sara Argent, Head of Public Affairs, Roche UK

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