Tuesday, December 13, 2011

‘Beer and Biotech’ fosters better relationships

While in some industries the “buttoned down” approach still holds sway, that’s apparently not the case in bioscience, as the success of the new “Beer and Biotech” series created by the Virginia Biotechnology Association (VABIO) clearly attests.

“We’d been doing a lot of events that were pretty standard — people would pay for a ticket, come to a reception, and we’d get CEOs and directors of business development,” recalls Mark Herzog, executive director of the non-profit trade association, whose members include bioscience and device organizations, as well as universities and TTOs. “One CEO of a member company in Charlottesville said there were a whole lot more companies and more people engaged in biosciences, and it would be really beneficial if they got together more frequently and even more people came.”

So, the idea was hatched for VABIO to “throw a party,” in the belief it would generate higher attendance and get more industry players involved. The first event, co-sponsored by oncology drug developer Tau Therapeutics, LLC, drew 65 people.

The concept is simple: No tickets are sold; attendees just show up. The event features kegs of beer, appetizer on a few tables, but no bartenders. “It is meant to be very relaxed and purely social; there are no speakers — it’s not a ‘think and drink,’” says Herzog.

This “non-sales-ey” approach has clearly caught on. Two months ago 160 attendees showed up to an event that featured a live band, as well as some curious elected officials who came by to see what all the fuss was about. “Now they take place all over the state,” says Herzog. A detailed article on this approach appears in the December 2011 issue of Intellectual Property Marketing Advisor.

By Steve Lewis
IP Marketing Advisor

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