By Shamim Kassibawi, Managing Director of Spread Communications, and MENA CEO of The SMC Group
UAE has transformed into a hub for health and wellness services, with healthcare communities, covering every imaginable field and ailment. With the expanse of healthcare services offered on the market generating cutthroat competition, it is no longer sufficient to solely raise awareness through advertising.
With extensive experience in healthcare communications, Shamim Kassibawi, Managing Director of Spread Communications shares her insights into using public relations in healthcare, to build lasting connections with the community and with stakeholders.
Why a healthy reputation is important
In the field of healthcare, trust is paramount. For patients to have confidence in a healthcare provider, doctor or medical product, they must possess and manage credibility in the community. Unlike any offering in the market, a person’s wellbeing is an extremely important factor in their personal life and the lives of their families, and people are not keen on testing out their health and hoping for the best results. Organizations need to go beyond raising awareness to establishing credibility and authority within their communities, and public relations is a great way to do so. Whether you are a small or larger healthcare provider, you will need to adapt your strategy from educating the public to strengthening relationships.
Unlike advertising, public relations connects with the community using a different approach and offers businesses a chance to build confidence and trust not solely through promotions, rather through working hand-in-hand with the community.
For example, having a baby is a life-changing and inclusive experience for expecting parents, who are being bombarded with conflicting information regarding birthing techniques and Caesarean sections. Companies will not be able to establish a mother’s peace of mind with a large display such as a billboard, rather through the strong advice of a doctor, which can be delivered effectively to the populace through informative and educational features in broadcast and print media.
Healthcare PR Tips
An essential method healthcare providers can utilise to build credibility with press and the community is through targeted press releases, including opinion pieces, educational write-ups, publicising new trends and breakthroughs and addressing significant market issues.
Addressing Relevant Healthcare Topics
Ensuring the business is at the forefront of strategizing and addressing key issues will make sure they are perceived as pioneers in the field. Healthcare organisations will need to take a tactical approach and work through their specialisations using key spokespeople to address important crisis situations such as Zika, regional issues such as targeting asthma sufferers for sandstorm season, and working through important healthcare observances such as Mental Health Day or Glaucoma Week.
Alternate ways to position yourself in the community is through partnerships not only with media, but with the community, scholastic and government organisations. From personal past experience, we have found that local healthcare authorities such as the Dubai Health Authority and MENA government organisations are extremely supportive and volunteer extensive resources for the wellbeing of the community.
About the author
A result of passion for Public Relations, Spread Communications is the brainchild of Shamim Kassibawi, a PR powerhouse. Her experience includes Communications, Digital Marketing and Event Management in the Middle East and New Zealand across Fashion, FMCG, Marketing, Media, Oil and Gas, IT, Aviation, Lifestyle, Hospitality, for multinational and local organizations – both B2B and B2C. A Marketing and PR Consultant out of Auckland, New Zealand with a mixed Arab and Kiwi background, Shamim speaks both English and Arabic fluently, with a balanced understanding of East and West.
Shamim is the MENA CEO of The SMC Group, a global rights procurement firm that specializes in developing relationships between brands and rights holders such as celebrities, footballers, influencers etc. Globally the SMC group’s clients include P&G, Unilever, F1 Abu Dhabi to name a few.