A multinational healthcare group headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, who operate 23 hospitals and 125 medical centres across the Middle East, Europe and India.
During the summer of 2019 VPS Healthcare enlisted the help of Medico Digital to devise and implement a unified brand strategy through a viral social media campaign promoting the values of 5 of their key hospital brands; Burjeel, Medeor, LLH, Tajmeel and Lifecare.
Competition in the UAE is fierce. With the market set to grow by 8.5% by 2023 and already over 100 hospitals throughout the seven Emirates, supply outweighs demand and the battle for market share is high.
VPS Healthcare provides healthcare services to an extremely wide range of patient demographics, from affluent Emirati and expats through their prestigious Burjeel brand; to workers with low-income backgrounds from across India, Nepal and Pakistan through their most accessible brand, Lifecare.
To communicate with such a diverse clientele, the group has to translate from English to over 10 different languages. Without the in-house linguistic resource to capture and translate the nuances of a marketing message, the hospitals were far too often dependent on their own administrative staff, many of whom have only a basic grasp of English. This frequently led to operational inefficiencies and literal translations which fell short of delivering the true intent behind the original message to the majority of their target audience.
Brought in to deliver a unified brand strategy, Medico Digital had to quickly satisfy not only the diverse audience of patients served by the group but also the large number of internal stakeholders whose individual objectives do not always align with corporate’s overarching vision.
Our objective was to scale hard, but scale efficiently. To make sure every dirham was being spent wisely.
We were determined to get more from less.
The client was unsure whether they should be brand building or trying to generate patient enquiries through direct response campaigns. Although we had a significant budget, we needed to prove the ROI right from the get go. While we knew that direct response marketing would be easier to attribute, we also knew that brand building would improve our campaigns overall effectiveness, and so our strategy combined the two to great effect.
We decided that Facebook's algorithm would likely limit the impact of any organic posts so we went all in on paid targeting, feeding Facebook as much of our healthcare insight and data as we were able to so that it could seek out patients from each brand’s key target audiences.
We focused our efforts on strategic execution. Rather than creating big, expensive, brand videos, we focused on a series of social-first, short, snappy videos and images that stopped people in their tracks. We tested hard - with thousands of different variations of adverts that tapped into local cultural trends.
We also wanted to utilise the power of social proof, so we set up patient engagement campaigns which posed questions to encourage conversation before taking patients down the enquiry funnel. We let the patients do the selling for us, with the local communities flooding the comments of each post with positive testimonials.
While we rolled out campaigns that utilised our digital expertise, it was important that we understood the culture and attitude of each individual brand. So we sent a team to visit hospital units from each brand to take on board their values and learn about their unique challenges and objectives.
We encouraged close working relationships to make collaboration seamless despite the majority of our work being done over 4,500 miles away. We sourced a global translation service provider who specialise in ‘transcreation’ - a method of adapting a message from one language to another without compromising the integrity of its original intent, style, tone, or context - to partner with us on creative translation, overcoming a long-existing issue for the Group.
Our strategy culminated in a personalisation campaign focusing on each of the brands ‘cash-cow specialities’, using Facebook’s retargeting features to serve a series of sequential messages based on previous website interaction.