Context matters in all that we do as plastic surgery clinics.
In addition to the structural steps taken during a crisis to protect staff and companies, plastic surgery clinics may contribute or prevent our community experience.
If a cultural moment is as dramatic as in the case of COVID-19, plastic surgery clinics must then address this issue with caution, empathy and diligent marketing.
That being said, plastic surgeons face particular challenges during a crisis in the context of existing and expected plastic surgery marketing campaigns.
While the quarantine is 3-months in, we have already been asked to help our patients change their approach to communication.
Therefore, in these difficult times, we find it helpful to agree on some of our general marketing guidelines.
How to Market Empathy in a Crisis
We have put together our best ideas to tackle your approach to plastic surgery marketing during this crisis.
We see this as a simple action plan that allows clinics of all sizes to make the right decisions and prevent serious mistakes, as every clinic is different.
We are always open for more ideas, of course, on how to deal carefully with sensitive times.
Please share your comments if you have more tips or thoughts. Otherwise, these tips will be helpful to you.
1) Adjust the timetable for marketing and content campaigns
Certain plastic surgery clinics can produce rapid turning campaigns created for a particular time.
They are always impressive (and, to a business, enviable), but the risk of such stringent actions is restrictive for most of them.
Your first step should therefore be to check what’s going on or within your patient pipeline, especially any plan that is about to be kicked-off.
Decide immediately what should be stopped.
Push timelines back for major campaigns that are likely to be overlooked, or stop them entirely if you are unsure if the content is appropriate.
If there are aspects of a program that are ineffective right now does not make it entirely necessary to remove; several things will certainly go well until the epidemic subsides.
Consider what goals or objectives must be taken into account.
You may want to push a few items up or look for ways to transfer messages successfully.
A plastic surgery marketing campaign focused on the subject of “Close up to your patients,” for example, could focus on ‘Support your patient ‘ or ‘Patient relationships.’
The good news is that this pause in content will give you a boost in reputation when things resume as normal.
You can now begin to plan for the “latest” cultural moment (post quarantine) and decide the nature of the case. (If you want to get started production in advance, you can follow our guide to planning a marketing campaign.)
It is also important that you monitor the quarantine advisories in your geographical areas, since each region is on a different schedule, so that when things get normal, you can be proactive in your communication.
Webcast 1st July: Crisis marketing: turn your marketing messages and approach 2020 marketing
2) Check your language and imaging
Visual communication, like the words we use, is powerful.
It is therefore important that we think about the messages your brand sends.
Do not show images of crowd of people or anyone being touched. Instead, focus on the masks that are being worn by the patient and doctor.
Reframe a language of marketing that describes close interaction.
Consider the descriptive language “take contact,” “run hand-in-hand,” or “get close to your patients.”
Messages showing urgent communication should be thoroughly examined.
Swap your visuals. If current or future campaign visuals are tricky, check your pictures right now or change their schedule to the end of the year.
Note: we specifically talk about ‘pushing’ content—the content that you actively present on channels (e.g. lines of email topics, social postings, current campaign taglines, content, blogs) to individuals during this time.
Provided that this quarantine is supposed to be temporary, patients possibly would forgive any questionable material that remains. There may be more permanent brand items (for example, your logo) or content “pull” (for example, your homepage) – if your homepage does not actively promote an important charitable event or if your main photo shows large crowds or people.
3) Don’t take advantage of the crisis
It is important to remember this situation of concern and fear in this climate, however. This applies to any tragedy or crisis.
Keep people aware. In response to the crisis, brands must communicate as far as their business is concerned.
For example, if you want to talk about the constructive activities you are doing, shop closures or policy changes related to COVID-19, you should note these posts on social media, because, since they are insightful, they add add value to patient relationships.
Do not be an alarmist. It is important to warn people, but don’t add to the panic.
Be aware of the overly dramatic language, as well as any other information that you share (for example, news items or tips with a credible source).
Avoid jokes. Recall that during this time many people do not work and really worry about it.
A spirit of modesty and empathy will by necessity be a guideline for what your brand will say in the near future.
4) Stay positive, but don’t ignore the crisis
You don’t have to reach a terrible cultural moment with a great brand tone in a time where people are uneasy.
Look for guidance on your Brand Heart. These are moments when you can do an incredibly valuable job in creating a plastic surgery marketing strategy.
Using your brand heart as your northern star to recall what your brand stands for and what it means in the sense of COVID-19.
Let your principles set the tone and be afraid not to be vulnerable, lean in to human history.
Be personal. Your emotional brand does not have to be boring or stilted.
For instance, it is not offensive to offer your best wishes or images of patients smiling.
In fact, to be able to remember normal life and to look forward to the end of quarantine can be refreshing.
Find your messages for the future. Many brands have moved to campaigns that promote optimism, hope and humanity during the depths of the recession 2008-09 and the early years of economic recovery.
Share content generated by your employees. Show tips about maintaining office plants, or publish fun pictures of your video conferences and displaying your teams latest Netflix binges.
In their spare time, what do your workers do? How do people work together to make things clear? What do people do to remain healthy and ready?
This quarantine is an opportunity to showcase your employees and community around you.
Always note that through social media, video conferencing etc. people will want more human contact.
Remember: the more you show your face, the more connected patients will feel — we all are together in this.
5) Highlight how your clinic helps
Plastic surgery clinics have importance, and services which help patients during this stressful period should be accessible.
Tell your business story on how what you do helps or improves the life of people in their quarantine.
Say the benefits. Give people things to do at home with your products or services.
In this cultural moment, clarify and share the potential unique value of your brand.
Creating material that is beneficial. Everybody can still give value to their brand even if your product doesn’t help them directly to handle quarantine.
How can you inspire or educate people that are stuck all day in their homes?
As long as you concentrate on helping people, the marketing does not have to stop (and don’t hit the back).
Remember: This Quarantine Will End
We’re not going to speculate much when the “end” of this time comes, but we’re looking forward to quarantine that year with all our guidance.
We encourage you to be careful and proactive in preparing for this transition.
Plastic surgery clinics should remember that it is very important to feel productive and to feel like they are adding value to the world.
We know that many who rely on this sentiment may have suddenly lost it or may feel unmoved by what is happening, and our hearts are with them.
Stay healthy, and if you need a marketing agency that specializes in these services, reach out to us today.