Body Contouring Industry Takes New Collaborative Direction with Branded Services

By @AtanuShaw on
truSculpt flex ultrasound result
truSculpt flex ultrasound result Body Contouring Industry

The body contouring industry has expanded rapidly in the United States in recent years as part of broader changes that are afoot. According to one study, the overall demand in the US for minimally invasive procedures is nearly two and a half times greater today than it was in the year 2000. During that same period, a one-sixth decline was recorded in demand for elective plastic surgery as well as other, more invasive surgical procedures.

One specific example demonstrates the broader point: The ASPS has reported a 30% drop in liposuction since 2000, a trend that has been complemented by a concomitant rise in demand for body contouring to achieve the results that used to be provided exclusively by liposuction. Given the fact that overall demand for body enhancement procedures has not declined, those two inverted trends appear to be interdependent: the easier, more painless, and either non-invasive or minimally invasive body contouring options become more available to the public, the less appealing surgical options become, which are invasive, more costly, more time-consuming, and often require extended recovery periods.

Another contributing factor to the rise in demand for body contouring is the rapidly growing market of male clientele. The number of men in the United States who had non-invasive body contouring treatments surged by 22.6% in the space of a single year, between 2014 and 2015. By 2015, a full one-sixth of all fat reduction procedures (nonsurgical) in the United States were performed on male patients.

The Rise in Demand Produced a Rise in Supply, Which Means More Competition

As anyone who has been in the body contouring business in recent years will tell, the rising popularity of those procedures, such as nonsurgical skin resurfacing, nonsurgical skin tightening, and cellulite treatment has resulted in a surge in the number of clinics and spas that offer those procedures. Put succinctly, there is far more competition with every passing year. Naturally, this has prompted clinics to invest in advertising, social media campaigns, and improving patient experience. Clinics have also expanded ancillary services as well as many other traditional, familiar, and standard methods of winning over new clientele and maintaining the existing client base.

But is that enough? A review of successful businesses in the body contouring industry has found that standard methods have simply proven inadequate in attracting new clients and keeping existing ones happy and coming back, in the face of stiff and rapidly expanding competition.

One of the newer and more successful methods of retaining and increasing clinics’ market share has been to secure cooperation with branded services that have their own inherent marketing value, making the clinics that offer them more attractive than clinics offering similar services that are non-branded. One of the key reasons for the success of this strategy is the increased savviness of customers in the digital era—people now do their due diligence online. No longer persuaded by a glossy image, a catchy tag line, or the proverbial “buy one get one free” hook, contemporary prospective customers routinely go online to read reviews, compare prices, and otherwise study their options before choosing a clinic and making decisions about the procedures they wish to undergo. In this context, brands—as opposed to a description of service—can be assessed in the course of that online research.

Customer familiarity with branded services has played a crucial role in winning new business for clinics and in preventing new competition that offer similar non-branded services at lower prices from stealing away clients. Studies demonstrate that customers routinely cross off clinics from their lists that fail to offer the specific branded service they want either because of their confidence in the brand over a generic service or because the specific brand provides a unique service that they need.

What Are Popular Branded Services Offered by Clinics?

A classic example of such a branded service in the body enhancement industry is BOTOX. The brand is established, respected, and has even become a household name. A clinic promising to use BOTOX is more likely to be chosen by prospective clients rather than if it were to offer a general promise to just "smooth wrinkles." The brand has achieved such recognition that people often do not even realize that they are indeed choosing a branded service.

Another more current example can be found in the treatment of skin laxity and cellulite. This could be considered the proverbial “bread and butter” of the body contouring industry. A clinic that prominently offers the FDA-approved EmTone, which stimulates collagen while using shock waves to break up fibrous bands, is often perceived as more trustworthy than clinics generically offering “treatment of cellulite and laxity of the skin.” Emtone is delivered in four sessions over a two-week period with results observed eight to 12 weeks following the fourth treatment and one maintenance treatment recommended every six to eight weeks.

Within this same body contouring industry, there is a significant demand for personalized muscle-sculpting treatments. For instance, Cutera's 15-minute painless truSculpt treatment, which is also FDA approved and works on eight areas of the body, has demonstrated clinical results with an average of 30% improved muscle mass in eight weeks. At the same time, the fact that Cutera is a well-known, publicly-traded company with a strong social media presence could go a long way towards helping clinics develop their own reputation and prestige as well as expand their clientele. Clients seeking such treatments may be more likely to choose a clinic offering truSculpt as opposed to a clinic that was to just bill itself as offering muscle contouring services in general.

These examples maybe just a few out of a longer list, but they are instructive. They point to the way in which a branded-services marketing strategy has been used effectively by body contouring clinics to set themselves apart from their competition through reassuring customers of the quality of their services and by appealing to others who have specific needs that can only be met by certain brands.

Customers in the digital age will almost always have done their research before making an initial phone call to set an appointment. Reliance on a branded-services marketing strategy has had remarkable success with clinics seeking to win over new clients and to retain their existing clients by keeping them happy and out of the clutches of often ravenous competition.

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