Intensive PR and Social brand awareness campaign for Ciitizen powered media coverage, patient sign ups and a successful company acquisition
A unique healthcare technology firm, Ciitizen, an Invitae company, provides an innovative AI-driven patient platform that matches their health information with the latest opportunities for clinical trials, research and treatment. Despite its unique role in the healthcare patient market, Ciitizen lacked the visibility and brand awareness to scale their business through securing investments or being acquired by a larger healthcare firm. Ciitizen engaged with 10Fold to share its powerful story including the company’s disruptive value proposition for technology and healthcare practice and the personal narrative behind its origins.
The founding story for Ciitizen required a sensitive strategy for sharing with the media. Ciitizen was co-founded by entrepreneur Anil Sethi to honor his sister, Tania who he lost to breast cancer. During his time caring for his sister, Anil discovered that patients often struggle to manage their healthcare data, including scans and pathology reports. He built Ciitizen with the mission to empower patients with all of their heath records to manage their care and advance research for others.
With the company’s mission in mind, 10Fold developed a comprehensive, yet thoughtful, visibility campaign that would drive proactive and news-related media coverage, speaker participation at events, thought leadership articles and industry awards to secure investor interests. 10Fold met Ciitizen’s goals in just nine short months rather than the original, planned 12 months. The resulting return on investment (ROI) included 54 media hits; 90% organic patient signups; and the ultimate acquisition of the company by Invitae for approximately $325 million.
Ciitizen simplifies patients’ ability to collect, organize and share their medical records digitally, with streamlined access to health information that includes lab results, diagnostics, genomics and more. Powered by an AI-driven platform that creates digitized, structured data from unstructured source documents, Ciitizen’s mission is to fight cancer and other diseases by better connecting patients with their data for better care decisions to improve their quality of life and assist in driving forward emerging research and treatments.
Ciitizen provides its service free to patients and offers software and services to major health information exchanges, pharmaceutical firms and healthcare technology companies for deep research into patient-consented healthcare data (partners include Pfizer, BeiGene, Praxis and many others). Through its work, Ciitizen has created the industry’s most complete research-grade picture of patients, accelerating clinical trial matches and research participation from months or years into in only a few clicks.
Beginning in Q2 of 2021, Ciitizen engaged 10Fold Communications to raise the company’s profile across this broad range of audiences of patient advocacy groups, clinical researchers, healthcare providers and patients. They challenged 10Fold to secure business and trade press that highlighted their value proposition and elevated the founder’s story. To do this, 10Fold crafted a comprehensive brand awareness campaign that specifically addresses these goals by demonstrating the strength of its leadership, technology differentiators and impact on research, healthcare and the lives of everyday patients.
From Launch to Acquisition
- Expand social media audiences and engagement, including hashtag variations to appeal to higher levels of IT decision makers, enhanced engagement with industry influencers, diversified graphics and more posts to enhance user engagement and better harness platform algorithms.
- Generate opportunities for strategic third-party validation through awards and speaking opportunities. This includes educating target audiences about Ciitizen’s approach to healthcare data privacy.
- Provide advisement and messaging assistance to senior executives for news interviews for compelling, succinct communication of value props and use case insights.
Communications Strategy and Challenges
- Elevate proactive editorial outreach and news program: 10Fold implemented an aggressive outreach strategy to multiple stakeholder audiences that resulted in overachieving on the number of proactive media articles by 124% in nine months.
- With a steady news program, 10Fold supplemented the proactive program to share important customer, product and partner news. Additionally, leveraging current news topics, trend-jacking themes related to regulatory and market concerns demonstrated the leadership’s expertise.
- Content creation, speaking submissions and media advising rounded out the comprehensive program for a 360-degree media program.
- Ensure maximum relevance to business press and investor audiences: The founder’s story made Ciitizen unique, but it was not highly well-known. In targeting the business and investor audiences, 10Fold shared this story that will demonstrate the personal passions behind the business.
- As such, 10Fold developed a strategic, yet sensitive, approach for visibility of Ciitizen and its founders. This included not only the reasoning of the business start, but the overall value of innovation for patients, technology acquisitions, and as an attractive prospect for future investment. Given that Ciitizen was considering the possibility of being acquired or securing another round of funding, this was essential for securing the right exit strategy of an investment and/or acquisition by a larger healthcare firm.
- Raise visibility with multiple stakeholder audiences via tiered and timebound outreach: Ciitizen’s growth strategy required certain stakeholder audiences to be emphasized at various times.
- Beginning with a focus on emphasizing key executives and news topics on healthcare data privacy to expanding outreach to business media to share the founding story to engagement with partners that demonstrates the value of the healthcare data platform, the 10Fold team remained nimble to engage with all key audiences. 10Fold developed a dynamic cadence of planned and rapid response outreach – with key targets receiving custom pitches with the narrative aligned with their area of coverage.
The initiative reaped strong overall results in positioning multiple Ciitizen executives with the key national broadcast feature story on CBS and a broadcast news segment featuring CEO Anil Sethi on CBS Saturday Morning.
Beyond CBS, 10Fold secured significant proactive media coverage featuring the CEOs and VPs in STAT, Kaiser Health News, Protocol, USA Today, HIMSSCast, Medical Economics, Modern Healthcare and more. However, 10Fold focused beyond just media placements to build brand awareness through industry conference speaking placements at conferences like ConV2X and award submissions for Citeline, Silicon Valley Business Journal, Women of Influence and more.
In a powerful sign of the impact of the raised awareness, Ciitizen reported that the portion of patient signups that came in organically rose to more than 90%. Ciitizen also credits the 10Fold effort with spurring investment and Ciitizen’s ultimate acquisition in September 2021 by Invitae.
- CBS News – After his sister’s death, tech entrepreneur works to help patients communicate their health history
- CBS Saturday Morning – Live Broadcast Segment
- USA Today – Asking for vaccine statice doesn’t violate HIPAA: What law was really intended for
- Healthcare IT News – HIMSSCast: What the new info blocking rules mean for you
- STAT – 5 startups seizing the moment to shake up the electronic health record industry
- AIThority – Ciitizen Acquires Key Technology and Creates New Healthcare Data Infrastructure for Improving Patient and Doctor Information Access
- Fierce Healthcare – Health tech startup Ciitizen acquires Stella Technology’s HIE business
- insideBIGDATA – “Above the Trend Line” column
- Healthcare Finance News – Laws and regulations paint an evolving picture of patient access to health information
- Charlotte Observer – Apple aims to push more patient data to doctors
- HIT Consultant – Ciitizen Launches Solution to Help HIEs Comply with Info Blocking Regulation
- Silicon Valley Business Journal – Ex-Apple health data exec Anil Sethi is selling the startup his dying sister inspired him to launch
- Health IT Security – Status, Challenges of Information Blocking Rule Compliance
- BioWorld – Greater data access to boost RWE opportunities
10Fold met the ultimate goal for Ciitizen within 9 months of engagement – an acquisition by Invitae. It was the strong media and brand awareness strategy that enabled Ciitizen to elevate its stature and visibility among the stakeholders that mattered most, with compelling story lines running the gamut from detailed business information and tech industry context, to trending medical research and personal anecdotes of patient journeys. 10Fold fed these compelling narratives into a powerful PR and marketing engine for strong public visibility and market attention.
Thus, Ciitizen achieved its goal of transforming how patients and their doctors connect to the treatments and cures they need. And 10Fold met the business goal of a successful exit strategy where Invitae is preserving the Ciitizen brand and corporate structure, as it accelerates investment into Ciitizen’s groundbreaking technology. As one Ciitizen executive shared in an email, “you helped us get exactly to the point where we wanted to be – we couldn’t have scripted it better.”