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Figs disrupted the historically style-less, one-size fits all trend of the medical uniform by acting on a simple idea: why can’t scrubs look good? By making healthcare worker apparel and uniforms that are comfortable and flattering, with value-add features like zippered pockets to store wallets and wedding rings, plus using fabric capable of repelling bodily fluids, Figs was able to turn the traditionally sterile world of scrubs on its head. The company is now reaping the reward. Figs sells their products online, a more convenient option than the medical supply stores doctors, nurses, and other staff were once required to visit to get their work clothes.
The company turns to its advisory team of healthcare professionals, including a vet and a dentist, to provide feedback on its products; and leverages a best-in-class influencer strategy to promote its products among its audience of healthcare professionals. Making scrubs fun and community-oriented is tough, but the savvy way in which Figs works with influencers within the medical and health care fields, primarily through Instagram, has allowed the brand to build community and reputation in an organic, cost-effective way. By tapping actual healthcare professionals, who wear Figs products every day in real-life healthcare situations, the apparel brand is able to win over the hearts, minds, and spend of healthcare workers.
As professionals, these informed advocates are hugely influential, providing consumers with verified recommendations and reviews that go beyond surface-level understanding to instead serve as educational resources. Figs has built its business by overcoming two obstacles with its influencer marketing model: the large promotion costs that plague most DTC organizations, and selling to a consumer base that has traditionally eschewed form and favored function when it comes to its work uniform. By strategically tackling these challenges, Figs has become the de facto uniform for all healthcare workers, from nurses to dentists to vets to surgeons.
The definition of influence is changing, as engagement and community eclipse follower counts and likes, and consumers’ social media feeds are changing with it. By leveraging nano influencers and professional tastemakers and stakeholders for curated recommendations, brands are able to create social authority and industry-specific brand prestige through authentic proof points. A nano influencer who is closely engaged with a niche audience is a more valuable commodity, and one that is more easily and effectively leveraged, than a major influencer with 100K followers might be, depending on the campaign goals.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, The Influencer Marketing Landscape.