Advice for Healthcare Brand & Communications Teams Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact millions of individuals everywhere, it also adds a complication dimension for healthcare brand and communications teams. Healthcare marketing teams need to adjust their current brand & communications strategy to be appropriate in light of the COVID-19 crisis. With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, healthcare marketing teams need to acknowledge the current situation by using trust and empathy to spread the right message, while establishing their voice as a leader in the community. Here are five key points to help maintain your brand in alignment with this shifting focus.
5 Keys to Healthcare Marketing & Communications During a Pandemic
1. Empathy and Comfort Beat Overt Marketing
Now is the time to communicate empathy and comfort. Your messaging should not look like overt marketing at this time. Other major consumer brands are trading in empathy and comfort right now, with TV spots touting their history, how they’re “here for you” in “these challenging times” and so forth.
Someone put together a supercut of recent ads, poking fun at how remarkably similar they are. Yes, it’s funny, and there are plenty of clichés there. But it isn’t wrong for your healthcare brand to adopt a similar approach— this is the right message for the moment. People are scared, frustrated, and looking for comfort in things that are familiar and stable.
2. Keep Tone and Messaging Appropriate for the Moment
You want to be sure your tone and messaging is appropriate for the moment. Humor, though desperately needed right now, isn’t likely to be a good choice for healthcare brands. The risk of coming off as flippant or unserious is just too high.
So humor, sarcasm, and snark remarks should be avoided right now. But beyond that, you also need to consider the many ways the coronavirus outbreak is affecting your patients. Remember what we said about empathy above: you don’t want to come across as tone-deaf.
We recently ran across a well-known brand advertising on social with a message something like “Work from home? More like work from anywhere!” You can probably imagine how badly that message failed in the age of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. It became a mockery on social media. The brand tried to capitalize on the increase in remote work, but it failed to consider how tone-deaf the message would read.
Healthcare brands should keep the tone and messaging appropriate for the moment by giving vital information in a timely manner. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, clear and accurate location and operational information from your healthcare organization can save lives.
3. Highlight How You’re Helping
One way to build trust for your healthcare organization is to highlight all aspects of how you’re helping in this crisis–from clinical information to patient care, engagement and experience information. If your facility isn’t a hospital on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, you’re likely still involved to some degree. Are you lending staff to the front lines? Donating equipment? Providing unique accommodations or information to help with social distancing? Offering additional healthcare services to non-COVID patients?
Whatever you’re doing, show the community that you care by communicating these activities and initiatives. Communication at scale with your audience is key at this time and Chatmeter has developed a program specifically designed to help healthcare organizations convey your message quickly, clearly, and accurately using various channels.
If your facility is on the front lines, you’re probably focusing on facts and timely updates, which is right. But add some highlights to the mix. Share good news when you can. Profile doctors and nurses who are front and center to this crisis. If you can get the proper permission, share some “exit celebration” videos of recovered patients leaving.
4. Communicate Confidence and Authority
In these trying times, people are looking for sources they can trust. This health crisis has unfortunately become somewhat politicized, and there is some distrust of news reporting on the topic.
As a healthcare team, you’re neither partisan nor a part of the media. You can be a trusted source by communicating with confidence and authority. Your audience should know that your healthcare organization can be trusted and is ready to take care of anyone who becomes ill.
5. Stay Up to Date
Another facet of communicating confidence and authority is keeping your message timely and accurate. The coronavirus outbreak has been a rapidly changing situation. Stay plugged into local, state, and federal decision-makers so that your messaging remains current. Talking about a stay-at-home order in the present when it was lifted a couple of days ago is a big hit to credibility.
Along the same lines, vet old content carefully before promoting it during this time. Some of it won’t resonate well given the current climate.
Be the leader of communication for your healthcare organization.
This can not be stressed enough: COVID-19 is not a marketing opportunity. It is an opportunity for all healthcare brand and communication teams to shine. Your community needs it. In times of uncertainty, what your community wants from your healthcare brand is strong leadership in the face of the unknown.
In a world where health consumers spend many hours every day on digital channels, it is crucial to grow and maintain connections with your community at scale. Learn more about how Chatmeter is helping healthcare organizations save lives by communicating clear and accurate information.