An Interesting Conundrum
Today we had the pleasure of meeting an amazing surgeon, Dr Ross Farhadieh. Dr Farhadieh is a humble and friendly man. It is extremely difficult not to like Dr Farhadieh and not to feel comfortable in his presence. Dr Farhadieh is a man who loves to operate, loves being a great husband and father. Dr Farhadieh clearly is motivated by his patients, students and research. What’s not to love? Here is a surgeon who has no ego, no frills, or bells and whistles, but is honest, forthright and values integrity. The funny part is, we attended his office in representation of our vested interest being Trusted Surgeons but we left with a very different vested interest, and here’s why.
Without giving away all our secrets, Trusted Surgeons works on a few simple strategies:
1. Only listing qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeons
2. Educating and Promoting consumers
3. Reaching targeted consumers which in turn gains exposure for the listed members.
We invest in our design, social media, SEO, bloggers and influencers. The more support we receive from our sponsors and surgeons, the more reach we can obtain. For a small clinic, this is great, as for little investment, the clinic gets ongoing exposure, boosts their social and supports patient awareness. For larger clinics, its a bonus, as these clinics often have efficient marketing teams. But what about the surgeons like Dr Farhadieh, the surgeon that doesn't follow the pack, the surgeon who doesn’t want to be everywhere or pay cash for comment? Initially I thought, I am going to help this man and tell him what, when and how he needs to boost his business. The value and return of PR and marketing, measuring social media, quantifying KPI’s and allocating every cent spent within the clinic. The problem with me is I often have ideas but no idea how to execute or implement. This is where Alfie comes in and is the cement that holds the brickwork together. I don’t do Xero, forecasts, budgets, KPI’s, you know, all the boring stuff. I just do, I am a doer and I won’t stop until everything is done. But without an Alfie pointing me in the right direction, I’m literally running my own race to get nowhere. What is amazing about this partnership is our differences and the way we compliment each other. I like to say I am the nice one (thats because Alfie is the badass).
The point I am getting to is; without individual goals, passion, purpose, and initiative, we would not work, the business would not work. If Alfie or I were cloned it would not work, if one of us lost ambition or motivation, again, it would not work. If we changed who we are, we would not be authentic and genuine. We all work differently and just like Ross, if we changed our core values, we would lose our authenticity.
Dr Farhadieh inputs all his energy into his patients and staff, everything is all about helping others. But we are knocking on his door telling him to change. Shame on us. Why should a surgeon who lives and breathes best practice and who embraces his public service be encouraged to “market” himself? It seems somewhat unfair. When did we reach a point, that business sustainability was driven by selling yourself. More selfies, more hashtags, more boosting and sharing your life with the world. When did Instagram and Facebook become pillars of surgical skill and talent? I understand communicating with your consumer is important but I question are consumers really becoming smarter? If a highly skilled, experienced, and qualified surgeon needs to be “present” online or not be found, how smart are we? Would it not be a logical assumption that the surgeons who do not invest in marketing and advertising be the one, who doesn’t need to?
From a purely medical perspective, in reality, Instagram and Facebook have no credibility. However, from a commercial perspective, digital media is the future and no independent clinic can become commercialised and withstand the test of time, without social media. Which leaves the questions, are you building a brand/business or creating yourself a job? Neither of which are a bad thing. Its no secret that social media is driving the rapidly growing the cosmetic and plastic surgery industry.
I certainly left pondering, with all the respect in the world for Dr Farhadieh who said himself “If I did not get paid, I would still operate”. It feels terribly conflicting that despite impeccable work ethic and talent, we are pressuring surgeons to become more “commercial” to validate their skill with reviews, images, selfies, videos and expecting the experts to compete with the unqualified on a frivolous social platform. Social is a great way to connect with your target audience and without it, awareness and reach retracts. Leaving us in a conundrum, where will it end?
Everything I absolutely love about Ross comes from who he is and to ask him to become more “showpony” simply doesn’t feel right. If Ross wanted to be a celebrity, he would be. He wanted to be a specialist surgeon and he endured the hard yards. My conscious would not allow me to sell Ross anything, but I believe I have a great friend. A surgeon I can trust, a surgeon who I certainly will recommend and ask for advice. We certainly left with more than what we expected and I hope through awareness and education, the Ross’ of the industry won’t be left behind. They will be recognised, respected and sought after for their work, and Trusted Surgeons will promote them.