By Jeff Bradford
The healthcare industry has had to adapt like never before due to the novel coronavirus. It’s left many companies wondering when their businesses will return to a normal, or steadier, market.
The Boston Consulting Group coined the idea of “rapid rebound,” referring to a strong return to the market. With so much focus needing to be put on COVID-19, it’s easy for healthcare companies to feel as though they’ve lost traction in other areas. In order to rapidly rebound, companies must navigate the pandemic, but also look ahead for how they can be trailblazers post-COVID.
It is crucial to plan a marketing strategy that will differentiate your company from competitors as we move forward, but it is equally as important to remember that COVID-19 is still a crisis our country is facing. You must both live in the present and plan for the future, knowing this won’t last forever. Finding the perfect balance between the two of these, though difficult, is the key to your healthcare company becoming stronger than ever.
There are a few ways to achieve this:
Examine those around you
At the end of the day, you want your brand to stand out from the rest. Pick out which brands you admire and study what they are doing. If you admire how they are handling COVID-19, you should ask yourself how you can implement some of their marketing tactics into your marketing plans. If you see a company that is blending both COVID-related content with outside content in their marketing efforts, figure out how you can do the same. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from others.
For example, 3M is the company that started manufacturing N95 respirator masks to better protect healthcare workers from the coronavirus. This is a platform they could easily run with and solely commit to, but if you look at their website, they’ve found creative ways to stay relevant while also differentiating themselves from competitors. They have a section of their website titled “Science at Home” that gives kids fun experiments they can easily conduct while at home. Elements like this help 3M to stay both well-known and well-liked during quarantine and social distancing, but also to showcase more of what they have to offer.
The above example takes a big company, but it is just one of many you can look to for inspiration. You should be able to compare and contrast what your company’s track is with that of other organizations and figure out how you can improve yours along the way.
Adapt and adjust to stand out
As a healthcare company, you are in a unique, albeit stressful, position. Because your industry is directly involved with customers affected by this pandemic, you should know your customers’ needs pretty well by now. This will help you anticipate their desires once COVID passes.
Pre-pandemic life was very different from where we are now. Take a look at what you did before and decide what you want to keep, then take a long look at what you have now and think about how you can blend the two to best fit your customers’ needs. You need to think about how you can stand out post-COVID while still being relevant during the pandemic.
Telemedicine is taking center stage as the virus continues to impact the world. You might consider how this will change the healthcare market and how you can adjust to this changing dynamic of medicine. There are plenty of opportunities to make your company stand out, but you have to think ahead in order to do so.
After quarantining, customers might need some extra help adjusting. That means being understanding and sympathetic to what they may have gone through. With so many Americans affected, it is likely many of your customers were, too. Think about how you can make their lives easier after everything they may have gone through. It’s all about trying to bring your company’s unique qualities to the table while growing trusting relationships with your customers.
Get prepared for a “new normal”
We can all agree that life will probably not go back to normal after this ends. Instead, we must figure out what the “new normal” will entail. Customers’ cares will be different than they were before, and that means your company needs to be ready to adjust.
From masks to hand sanitizers to at-home kits, the options are endless for what customers may feel they need when they are out of the woods, and they will want easy access to whatever it is that makes them feel comfortable. It’s your job to look ahead and prepare for this. Next year’s normal will be very different from today’s. Being ready for this change will set your company up for success.
Additionally, don’t pretend the pandemic never happened. That’s why accepting the “new normal” is crucial. Be the company that offers a helping hand, not the one that turns its head. Especially in the healthcare industry, people will be looking to you as role models. Don’t let them down.
You must remember that your customers are guarded and a little bit scared right now. That’s why it’s your job to build a strong relationship with them. Do what you can to make their new normal a little bit easier. Use authentic messaging to do so. If you can manage to do that, your company will rapidly rebound in no time.
Jeff Bradford is the president of public relations and advertising agency the Dalton Bradford Group, heading up the Nashville office. He is a former journalist and has over 30 years of public relations and marketing experience, with specialties in financial services and fintech marketing.