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19.06.2020 | Insight

FIGS scrubs and next generation medical influencers

By Jamie Doggett

For years style and fashion brands have been utilising social influencers for marketing and brand advocacy and now we see this moving into the medical world.  If you have not come across FIGS scrubs, you simply need to search for the hashtag #wearfigs on any social media site and scroll through the thousands of photos and comments to discover how the product has become a fashion statement among young healthcare professionals.

With one co-founder having a background in fashion and the other a nurse practitioner, there was a winning combination from the start. Their goal is to “transform the healthcare experience by creating innovative, comfortable and supremely functional medical apparel for modern medical professionals.”

Growing brand loyalty: use a primary hashtag

There are thousands of positive comments and reviews of FIGS’ scrubs on social media from healthcare professionals. Social has become a place where the brand has had the opportunity to grow and market among its target customer group organically.

With doctors, nurses, dentists and many others keen to show off their new stylish and practical clothing, more than 25,000 tweets using the hashtag #wearfigs have been posted and posts on Instagram approaches the 50,000 mark.

Gaining reach during awareness events

Most recently FIGS gained a lot of attention from healthcare professionals on March 31st, National Doctors Day, by asking users to share posts using the hashtag #FIGSxDoctorsDay and offering to donate $1 to the Frontline Responders Fund (up to $500K) for every retweet. This proved a popular engagement tool as HCPs reposted the hashtag #FIGSxDoctorsDay more than 2,500 times.

The company was also proud to proclaim it has donated 30,000 sets of scrubs to hospitals impacted most by COVID-19 in the US.

HCPs praise FIGS on social 

The HCP response to FIGS as a product has been very good. Two nurses, one registered, one in training, both posted online about ordering or receiving their FIGS scrubs. By using the brand Twitter handle it creates more engagement for the brand, an age old strategy of marketing; creating loyal customers who will increase brand awareness for you.

https://twitter.com/casey_waldor/status/1263408537729982466
https://twitter.com/martinlofrancoo/status/1234370774548410368

Not only have the products themselves been praised but HCPs have been pleased with the customer service too.

https://twitter.com/Stephrabbott/status/1253159627547541506

A well executed business strategy

One strategy that has been employed that keeps HCPs coming back for more has been colour rotations. FIGS scrubs come in ‘Core Colors’ which include Black, Navy, Graphite and Ceil Blue. But there are also seasonal colours which come and go. Right now for example the seasonal colours (named ‘Limited Edition Colors’ to play up the sense of rarity and desirability) on the Men’s line are Heather Denim, Hunter Green, Marine, Mauve and Royal Blue. This constant rotation of colours has kept HCP interest in the topic steady over time, as seen in their online conversations.

HCPs have been seen speculating what the next colours will be and asking whether colours they were hoping for are still available.

https://twitter.com/lyssalovesswift/status/1258024525465186304

HCP backlash mixing medical with social influence

There has been some push back from HCPs who feel that some of those promoting FIGS scrubs are doing so for non-medical reasons. One resident giving an intubation tutorial on TikTok, while receiving tens of millions of views, was widely criticised by HCP peers for his ‘teeth breaking’ technique.

https://twitter.com/HafizaKMD/status/1251654091564027905

A joke made by some other HCPs was that it was OK because he looked good while doing it, wearing FIGS. Among the doctors’ comments, FIGS was quick to point out he is not a FIGS ambassador.

In another article I’ve written, after publishing a short advertising video on their website, FIGS experienced one of these social media crises in the form of a swift backlash to what audiences felt was a serious faux pas.

FIGS and the medical professional influencer

So, has FIGS found the perfect combination of a gap in the market, use of social marketing and building a loveable corporate reputation?  Many HCPs certainly think so. As thousands of doctors and nurses all around the world adopt TikTok as their platform of choice they now have a new, dynamic video-based platform to show off their scrubs. To date, there have been more than 20 million views of videos using the hashtag #wearfigs on TikTok.

FIGS has been helping bring a shift to what the online physician influencer looks like. Earlier this year FIGS’ official roster of ambassadors stood at 200. These HCPs receive no other compensation than the scrubs for free. It is a trend that has captured a customer group and influenced online behaviors among its advocates. So, what will be the next trend for which HCPs with social influence could be the key advocates?

Discover more about identifying and understanding online HCP influencers and watch our webinar on how Digital Opinion Leaders are the new Key Opinion Leaders.


The header image was sourced from a Twitter post by user Tori Sanders.

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Meet the Author

Jamie Doggett

As Associate Director of Insights, Jamie leads the Analytics and Insights Team overseeing the development of insights. He works with teams to ensure the highest standards of research outputs, client delivery, and technology development. Jamie is a country boy at heart having grown up on the sunny Isle of Wight and enjoys adventures which is reflected in a love for travel and travel literature.

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