Tag Archives: non-surgical aesthetics clinic

Cartoon showing receptionist at aesthetic clinic with In tray and Trout tray for Caroline Gibson's aesthetic marketing blog

Part 1: How To Market Your Aesthetics Clinic Or Medi Spa Responsibly

Promoting your aesthetics practice: part one

In aesthetic marketing and advertising, there are things you can’t say (quite a bit, such as directly mentioning BOTOX®), things you can say (not a lot) and a rather grey area in between. So how do you promote your clinic responsibly?

When I worked on the re-launch of Belotero dermal filler in the UK, I first spent several days poring over clinical papers to identify and reference core messages, then translate them into benefit-led messages for practitioner and patient literature. (Micheels P et al, Sundaram & Fagien, Prager JDD – thanks to you all, I can never think of injections without thinking of the blanching technique. And as for the Tyndall effect – now, there’s a dinner party conversation stopper …)

The art of an advertising professional is to help you identify what’s good, what’s relevant and – most importantly – what’s unique, then bring that to life in an engagingly compelling way. But doing so is becoming tricky for the growing brands of non-surgical aesthetic treatments out there – and even harder for the growing number of aesthetic clinics, medi spas and private medical practices looking to expand their patient offering and enjoy a greater ROI.

But before aesthetic marketing success comes aesthetic marketing responsibilities …

Cartoon showing receptionist at aesthetic clinic with In tray and Trout tray for Caroline Gibson's aesthetic marketing blog

Rewards – or risks?
We are surrounded by a culture of ‘perfection’ – ads, reality shows, magazines, celebrities and social media all depicting beautiful people who look air-brushed flawless, for us to aspire to – and turn to physicians in search of wannabe perfection. One survey by Dove, in their campaign for real beauty, discovered that only 2% of women describe themselves as beautiful.

Advertising cosmetic surgery stimulates demand but it can also encourage people – who may be vulnerable – to take risks. Kylie Jenner admitted to using lip fillers in 2015 and hey, whaddya know, this created a boom in lip filler enquiries: Dr Leah Clinics reported an eye-watering 70% rise in enquiries in the 24 hours that followed. Love Island has also boosted the demand for anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation treatments – which led to Superdrug launching its Skin Renew nurse facial clinic service offering dermal fillers and BOTOX® by qualified nurses in a key London store, with treatments from just £99 per area (thankfully, for those over 25).

Last year, Rachel Knappier had filler injected by a beautician at a BOTOX® party. Her lips swelled up so much, they touched her nose. Because of disastrous trout pout problems such as this, the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) has blocked beauty therapists from joining their register to give injectables – though they can still offer treatments with lasers and chemical peels. Ad for Botox party which is now illegal to do, as explained in Caroline Gibson's blog about aesthetic marketing

Unlike BOTOX®, dermal fillers are not classified as a medicine. MPs are currently asking for this to be changed, for regulations to be stricter, and for there to be greater education around the potential risks. A 2017-18 Save Face report cites 934 patient complaints about unregistered practitioners (up by nearly 60% from two years before), of which 616 were for dermal fillers. Of the 224 complaints about receiving BOTOX® treatment, 76% of people said they didn’t know it was a prescription-only medicine and 68% didn’t have a face-to-face consultation with a prescriber. Even scarier, 83% of treatments were carried out by beauticians, hairdressers and lay people.

Four guiding ethical principles
There are four guiding ethical principles to ensure that aesthetic medical treatments are undertaken responsibly – and they uphold the patient’s interests and wellbeing. And yet a moral decision is complex, with both values and facts involved. The questions for any practitioner to always have in mind are: who is the procedure being done for, for what, and why?

Autonomy: Is the patient fully informed of the risks and benefits and likely outcomes – and alternatives? To be able to decide whether or not to undergo a treatment, they must have autonomy of thought, intention, and action. The challenge for the practitioner is to ensure that the patient’s expectations are realistic.

Non-maleficence: A practitioner is under moral obligation to do no harm or allow harm through neglect. Aesthetic surgeons must follow their duty of care and not undertake treatments for financial gain but for the benefit of the patient.

Beneficence: Any course of action must be in the best interests of the patient – and in line with patient expectations through patient-centric-care. For the practitioner, the challenge to do this is to fully consider the patient’s circumstances, develop and maintain skills and knowledge, stay up to date through training, and promote their welfare and wellbeing. Defining the patient’s best interests can be challenging though as some people endure real suffering, discomfort and social handicap due to self-consciousness about their appearance.

Justice: This is synonymous with fair distribution of both medical knowledge and practice. However, aesthetic surgery cannot be provided for all and, sometimes, subjective judgements are made i.e. providing treatment to those who can afford it.

But who’s guiding who?
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates the advertising industry in terms of claims that can or cannot be made. It has a strict advertising code of practice with guidance for marketing and advertising surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

For example, aesthetic marketing must not be misleading, must have documentary evidence to prove claims and marketers should encourage consumers to seek independent medical advice before committing to significant treatments, and ads offering credit for procedures must not encourage consumers to have interventions that aren’t necessary.

The General Medical Council (GMC) also states the need for responsible aesthetic marketing through advertising that’s clear, factual, accurate and that doesn’t use promotional tactics, such as two-for-one offers, like these  … Ad for a Korean aesthetic clinic showing an illegal promotion for aesthetic treatments               Ad AD illegally promoting free Botox offer, illustrating unethical aesthetic marketing practices - the subject matter of Caroline Gibson's copywriting blog But with monitoring and regulations stretched across so many professional bodies (CAP, ASA, GMC, RCS, NMC, GDC and MHRA), is it really surprising that less than rigorous aesthetic marketing promotions can slip through?

The aesthetic medicine industry needs to protect the safety of prospective patients by protecting them from poor practice, and ensuring that doctors provide patients with clear and relevant information – and promote their aesthetics practice responsibly. And brilliantly.  You might like to check out Marketing Communication Channels – Where Is As Important As How which examines the pros and cons of available options. But I’ve also provided tailored advice in part 2 of today’s blog: How To Market Your Aesthetic Clinic Or Medi Spa Successfully.

Written by Caroline Gibson, medical and aesthetics freelance copywriter, who knows how to say a lot without saying much – and yet say it ethically too.

E: caroline@carolinegibson.co.uk T: +44 (0) 7957 567766

P.S. Follow on Twitter

A sign saying Hi Beautiful to introduce freelance copywriter Caroline Gibson's blog about non-surgical aesthetics clinics and beauty brands and the importance of creating a unique tone of voice to help them stand out

Non-Surgical Aesthetics And Beauty Brands: Copywriting Art Or Science?

Beauty in the eye of the beholder starts in the pen of the copywriter – so do you need art or science to make your clinic/brand shine out?A sign saying Hi Beautiful to introduce freelance copywriter Caroline Gibson's blog about non-surgical aesthetics clinics and beauty brands and the importance of creating a unique tone of voice to help them stand out

As more non-surgical aesthetics clinics and medispas open their doors and more and more beauty products and wellbeing products fight for shelf space, the quest for creating a unique point of difference becomes harder.

With strict regulations governing the health and beauty claims you can make, how can you say a product or treatment is a miracle cure to looking young and beautiful again – without actually being able to say it?

Why copywriting for non-surgical aesthetics treatments matters more than ever

Twenty years ago, the only choice for turning back the clock lay in cosmetic surgery. Today, the number of cosmetic surgery procedures has dropped by 40% according to The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.  The growth market lies in non-surgical aesthetics with lasers, chemical peels, thread lifting and ultrasound treatments becoming as routine maintenance as having your nails done.

Confession #1: I’ll be honest: that’s why I’m writing this blog as my expertise in this sector means it’s a growth market for me too.A photo of a beautiful woman with an injection needle by her face as if about to have a BOTOX or HA filler injection, to illustrate how popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures have become, as written about in medical copywriter Caroline Gibson's blog

With so many celebs looking 15 years younger and the world of selfies encouraging us to post – and digitally enhance – photos of ourselves looking tiptop, the desire to regain a youthful appearance is greater than ever for many. So, how can a freelance copywriter help shave off those years?

Identify your USP with transparency and honesty

Almost 50% of women think about having a non-invasive cosmetic procedure but just under 10% go ahead because they fear trout pout or looking unnatural. The problem is, they are often ill-informed about cosmetic procedures and have misplaced fears. So, how do you stand out as an aesthetic skin clinic or medispa in an ever-competitive marketplace and attract potential patients?

A stunning website design is the equivalent of eye-catching beauty packaging on the shelf. The other weapon is to identify what’s unique and different about your offering and create a distinctive tone of voice. That’s where an experienced freelance copywriter comes in.

When I wrote my first non-surgical face and skin treatments website for Natura Skin Clinic in 2011, it was quite unusual in the Manchester area for BOTOX® treatments to be performed by a doctor in a non-surgical aesthetics clinic rather than by a beautician or nurse. That was their USP.

However much you try to find a unique angle, strict regulations tie you in knots at every angle. A non-surgical aesthetics clinic must be utterly transparent in the claims made to patients to earn trust.

I’ve now just worked on a mega project for a leading pharmaceutical company. I clocked up hours reading through clinical papers, pulling out fascinating scientific data to translate into benefit-led points, and spent a day with seven leading aesthetic doctors and dentists to learn about the importance of different injections techniques for HA fillers – all in the cause of identifying key differences and making genuine claims that would get the green light from beady-eyed, scrutinising medical approvers.

Confession #2: my face is heading south and if I wanted it to veer north, I would never ever go to a beauty salon. Having learnt what I’ve learnt first-hand, you have to put whatever body part needs treating in the hands of a qualified and knowledgeable aesthetic medical practitioner. Lecture over.

Confession #3: I don’t think I could face anything though. I’m far too scared of needles.

The trick to making beauty product claims

An old fashioned black and white newspaper ad with a headline saying ‘Wash away fat and years of age with La-Mar Reducing Soap’ to illustrate claims that used to be made about beauty products before advertising bodies such as the ASA laid down strict rules. Beauty copywriter and freelance copywriter Caroline Gibson uses this ad to make this point in her blog about how hard it is for non-surgical aesthetics clinics and beauty brands to make claims as a point of difference

Open up any magazine and trawl through beauty ads luring you in with promises such as ‘”Major technological breakthrough” … “A cocktail of innovative active ingredients” … “Visibly looking younger skin” … Few beauty products actually make that magical difference, however.

Confession #4: I was once a sucker for how glossily branded lotions and potions could turn a prune into a peach and a model proclaiming the wonders of how xxx or yyy worked for her and she’s never been happier. Phew because now I know how moisturisers with hyaluronic acid can never penetrate the layers of skin in the way that an injectable HA filler such as Juvéderm®or Belotero® can. (No point then in spending a shedload on La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe then – pop along to Aldi to grab their Lacura Caviar Day Cream. It’s a snip at £306.01 less.)
A photo of a jar of La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe beside a similarly branded moisturiser by Aldi - Lacura Caviar Day Cream – which costs several hundred pounds less but is said to be very similar. Freelance beauty copywriter, Caroline Gibson, uses this to illustrate that there may be no real benefit in paying a lot of money for an expensive moisturiser when a cheap one is just as effective.

The Advertising Standards Authority offers detailed advice as to what and what can’t be said about anti-ageing creams and requires marketers to provide documentary evidence. Sensory claims or those based on consumer perception tests such as “skin feels smoother” or “80% of women thought their skin felt firmer and looked more toned” are seen not to be high risk and fine to substantiate. Claims such as “82% decrease in wrinkles” are not.

It’s fine to describe a product as “anti-ageing” or “anti-wrinkle” IF the ad says the effects are temporary. In other words, you can say the cream can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles but not that it will have an anti-ageing or anti-wrinkle effect. Avon had its knuckles rapped in 2007 for claiming that its Anew face cream was like a facelift in a jar. The ASA ruled that the promises were simply too good to be true.

(Interestingly, a recent article in the The Sunday Times talked about how women no longer want to hear claims about anti-ageing but about looking more youthful while US Condé Nast’s Allure magazine is banishing the phrase ‘anti-ageing’ forever.)

Knife. Needle. Nib

The ASA ends its page on claims for anti-ageing creams with this sobering advice: “Marketers should note that neither the ASA nor CAP has been convinced that the application of a moisturiser to normal (as opposed to dry) skin has been demonstrated to have a cumulative or persistent beneficial effect.”

If you want to make a real difference to your skin, go to an experienced aesthetic medical practitioner.

If you want to make a difference to your beauty or skin cosmetics clinic, go to an experienced freelance copywriter.

I’ve now worked with several non-surgical aesthetics clinics such as the newly launched Cosmetic Skin Clinic, pharma companies such as Allergan and Merz Aesthetics, clinical devices companies such as Lumenis, eye surgery companies such as Optegra and nutritional supplement brands such as Hello Day.

So I’m well versed in the potential risk of the Tyndall effect and the role of BDDE in HA fillers, the joys of fat freezing technology, when cataract eye surgery is more suitable than laser eye surgery, and the lengths you can go to with platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) therapy – heard of the Vampire Facelift® (ouch!) or the O-Shot® (eye-watering!!)?

Written by Caroline Gibson, freelance copywriter who’s not afraid of a few fine lines – either facially or creatively.

E: caroline@carolinegibson.co.uk T: +44 (0) 7957 567766

P.S. Follow on Twitter