Catalytic experience of invitae

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Invitae is a company that performs genetic testing as a service. They needed to establish their brand to lower the risk of letting others to dominate the view of the company and, more importantly, let people freely form an opinion on the brand without having a clear path.

The case as told in Catalytic Experiences - Hamid Ghanadan was developed by the Linus Group. To developed a content centric model of marketing they focused on 3 initial aspects:

The company's side of the truth

The founders think that providing genetic tests to people will make the world better, safer and healthier. They see genetic information as a commodity, but people will need to trust the provider of the information.

Genetic diagnostic was a good starting point but the value should be clearly defined, since the competition is starting to overlap with this message.

The market's side of the truth

There are some other companies that, even if they started after Invitae, are rapidly gaining traction. For example, 23andMe focused on ancestry, which give them a clear, distinctive, value proposition and leveraged the exposure to accumulate a massive database of genetic tests. However, the genetic tests of 23andMe were forbidden by the FDA

Myriad Genetics developed a test based on a genetic marker. However, it was later determined that these things can't be patented. A company can't own a piece of genome. It was completely disruptive for the market, and Invitae needed to clearly position itself as a leader beyond this noise.

The Customer's side of the Truth

Invitae focused on clinicians and genetic counselors as their target customers, because it is them that can advise patients and who must build trust on the company. The problem with genetic tests is that they work in a very different way than standard diagnostics. Genetic tests may provide information that is not related to a current symptom (in the same way that an X-ray thought to diagnose pneumonia may find a tumor).

There is also the problem that patients themselves may fear genetic tests, because they can provide information on which it is not possible to act. Genetic tests are, invariantly, sources of bad news.

Marketing Strategy

  • Leadership: Genetics should not be fear but embraced, it is what connects us all. Therefore they redesign the website to show how people is connected to each other. They added the tagline "We are All Connected" to stress these ideas. They also focused on using different generations of people to reinforce the idea that the company is working towards the future.
  • The Catalytic Experience: Invitae partner with an organization called Free the Data that is asking for people to be owners of their genetic information instead of being locked up in some proprietary database (such as what 23andMe does). The experience was condensed in a video showing the stories of patients that used the Invitae tests. This was later exploited to let other patients share their stories and continue to grow the image of the brand.


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