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Public Relations in Healthcare

The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, requiring the communication strategies of companies within this sector to adapt accordingly. Healthcare professionals must innovate in their public relations efforts to effectively reach their target audience and maintain a competitive presence. The shift in 2015, prompted by new regulations, significantly altered how healthcare communication is handled. Here, I share some insights from my experience in this sector.

Before 2015, the UAE media landscape was relatively open to PR opportunities in healthcare. PR agencies freely shared news about their clients’ medical advancements, new equipment, and partnerships. However, the scene dramatically shifted when the Ministry of Health (MOH) started to heavily regulate these communications, requiring all content to be approved before publication. This change was instituted to curb the dissemination of misleading or exaggerated claims by healthcare organizations. In an industry where accuracy and credibility are paramount, the embellishment common in other PR sectors is inappropriate.

Today, healthcare organizations must navigate a more stringent approval process. They need to register on the MOH website and submit each press release or article for approval. This increased regulation has pressured PR agencies to provide meticulous guidance and innovate within tight constraints.

Strategic Innovation and Media Engagement

These regulatory changes have necessitated a more creative approach in PR strategies, pushing agencies like ours at Cicero & Bernay to think more creatively to help our clients succeed. Today’s savvy consumers seek trustworthy, credible media content to inform their healthcare decisions, prompting a need for healthcare professionals to find new ways to engage with the media and the public.

At Cicero & Bernay, we have successfully navigated these regulations, elevating our healthcare client’s profile significantly within a year. Our strategies generated $2 million in PR coverage and numerous leads. By focusing on delivering timely health awareness content and positioning our client’s representatives as thought leaders, we’ve managed to maintain a strong media panel without direct promotions. The emphasis has shifted towards online media, which aligns with our target audience’s preference for digital content.

Building Trust and Thought Leadership

Furthermore, by providing media access to our client’s experts for commentary on current healthcare issues and innovations, we’ve fostered a proactive engagement with the press. Instead of merely pitching stories, we’re now a go-to source for expert opinions, enhancing our client’s credibility and visibility. This strategic pivot both complies with regulatory demands and effectively engages an informed audience, encouraging them to seek our client’s services based on the reliable information provided.

This shift illustrates the importance of agility in PR strategy, ensuring that even under tight regulations, a proactive and thoughtful approach can lead to substantial success and influence in the healthcare sector.