Molly Biwer: With the advertising we had prior to COVID, what we were broadcasting was related to Mayo Clinic being a destination for care. And even though the tagline was “Where to Go,” the imagery was really about traveling to Mayo Clinic to receive care. Obviously when COVID hit, we had to completely change course.
So like many companies, we took our current advertising off the air, and then took a hard look at what messages would be important. We pivoted to messages around optimism, confidence and care. And certainly, where it was relevant, we offered assurances of safety.
We also leaned into messages with empathy and compassion while offering hope and that beacon of certainty. As this pandemic has lingered, we’re really finding that people feel isolated and lonely.
Vickie White: We launched our new brand last year to be consumer-led, instead of brand-led. Our messaging is designed to meet the current needs of the community we serve, but our response to what’s happening in the country has never been more important than it has been this year.
We’ve had to stay nimble through kind of the three phases of any disaster. We think about the unity stage where people tend to pull together and heroes emerge, to the disillusionment stage where the heroic spirit kind of wears thin and trauma and stress levels leave us feeling exhausted and helpless. And then there’s that reconstruction and reckoning phase that we feel like we haven’t quite hit yet. But for the unity phase, we saw that our consumers didn’t know what was happening or how to respond. We really pivoted our campaign to celebrate that outpouring of support that the communities showed our team members and how they received so much love and support early on. We turned it into a message of inspiration and unity.
And now we really feel like we’ve moved into that disillusionment phase. We’ve all been fighting the same illness for months. As we’ve studied our consumer sentiment and current healthcare behaviors, we feel that people are kind of losing faith in themselves and each other, and we’ve seen unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety and people putting healthcare off in alarming numbers. So we launched a new campaign, what we call “Humans Are Incredible.” We kind of looked at it as our love letter to the community that acknowledges our shared hurt and just reminds us of the physical and emotional strength that’s in all of us.
Misty Hathaway: We shifted gears pretty dramatically back in March. Boston was a very heavily hit community early on, and Mass General was the hospital that saw far and away the largest number of pretty severe COVID cases at the peak of the surge for us in March, April and into May. We quickly became a content marketing shop, so we turned off all of the advertising and retooled everybody’s focus into creating relevant content, targeting medical professionals across the country and around the world. We translated a significant number of our protocols into multiple languages and turned them publicly to be an educational resource in the treatment, prevention and care of COVID patients, as well as providing consumer information.
We also kept pace with the news cycle. If there was an article about remdesivir in the national press, we had content ready soon thereafter from our researchers and practitioners to inform patients and physicians around the country and around the world about our experience with the drug in treating our sickest patients.
The pace of change has been very different this year. We’re used to planning six months or a year’s worth of a marketing strategy, but we’re now operating in much, much smaller segments of time.
MH: As visiting restrictions have been lifted at many hospitals to allow more elective types of procedures, how do you convince people that your facilities are safe places to visit?