This situation analysis is for the PR team of the biggest online therapy platform, BetterHelp. First, SWOT analysis will be conducted in order to identify strengths and weaknesses of the platform and to identify protentional opportunities and threats to the platform. After this, PR campaign will be proposed.
The Client – BetterHelp
BetterHelp is the biggest online therapy platform in the world. It provides services such as virtual therapy sessions with licensed therapists which are done through text, phone, and video calls. Additional services include group therapy sessions and journaling (Balagam, 2022).
BetterHelp has been promoted by various online figures, such as Shane Dawson and Philip Defranco. They have also partnered with celebrities like Lauv to promote mental health awareness on World Mental Health Day and provide up to $3 million in free therapy for his fans (Aswad, 2022) and with companies like WeWork to provide free access to therapy in the United States for one month (Larkin, 2022).
The online mental health platform has 358 thousand Instagram followers, over 1.1 million Facebook followers and 12.1 thousand Twitter followers. About 72.85% of users are from the United States, 6.66% from the United Kingdom and 4.54% from Canada. Most common age range of users are women (57.22%) between 25 and 34 years old. These statistics are from September 2022 (Similarweb, 2022).
- Services are more affordable than therapy in person. Prices range from $60 to $90 a week, depending on location, availability, and the number of sessions you wish to schedule. In comparison, in-person therapy prices range between $75 to $150 per session on average in the U.S. (Fader, 2022)
- BetterHelp offers 24/7 access to a wide selection of services. These include features like journaling, live chat, video and phone sessions, but also several types of counsellors. On BetterHelp you can find group therapists, support groups, couples counsellors, children counsellors and psychologists (Fader, 2022).
- It is possible to stay anonymous with counsellors and possible to cancel subscription anytime. BetterHelp also provides the option to change counsellors whenever (Orford & Pedersen, 2022). Because of these various benefits, this therapy platform may be a good option for those that are very introverted and don’t like in person interactions.
- Although their background varies, the counsellors and therapists are qualified and experienced. All have at least 3 years and 1000 hours of hands-on experience and a Doctorate or Masters degree in their field (Balagam, 2022).
- BetterHelp does not accept health insurance. This might be an issue for some potential customers, and they might turn to some competitors who do accept insurance (Balagam, 2022).
- Because there are no psychiatrists on the online platform, there is no way to prescribe medication. Therapists are not able to diagnose mental health condition or fulfil a court order (Balagam, 2022).
- Users fill out a questionnaire and get automatically matched with therapists that are determined to be a good match based on it. It is possible to choose your own therapist, but this option is not obvious without a deep research into the website (Hipp, 2022).
- Fixing company’s image by improving terms of service. As stated in threats, BetterHelp doesn’t bear responsibility for the actual services offered by therapists. Betterhelp could have more oversight over the therapy sessions. The platform could possibly also improve their image to some degree if they tightened their regulations around user data.
- BetterHelp could possibly partner with other celebrities that discuss mental health. For example Billie Eilish, who has released multiple songs related to mental health.
- Expanding the services to other languages, as BetterHelp services are only available in English. For example providing therapists that speak Ukranian, so they could offer their services to Ukranian refugees.
- When it comes to competitors who offer similar services, there are platforms that offer much better prices, such as 7 Cups with a cost of $150 per month, and Online-Therapy.com with a cost of $39.95 – $79.95 per week. However these platforms don’t offer the extensive range of services BetterHelp does. For example, 7 Cups only offers therapy through chat (Lindberg & Lee, 2022).
- In February 2022, while monitoring the app, Jezebel article has revealed that Facebook gets an alert every time users open the BetterHelp app. Metadata from each message users exchange with the therapists are also sent to Facebook, therefore the social media platform is aware of when users go to therapy, their location, and the amount of time they spend on the app. BetterHelp was contacted about this, however they declined to elaborate on why Facebook needs to know so much about user’s therapy sessions (Osberg & Mehrotra, 2022).
- In October 2018, BetterHelp got into controversy over bad quality of therapists, bad reviews, fake reviews and terms of service that do not agree with the advertisements endorsed by youtubers (Alexander, 2018). BetterHelp’s terms of service state that ‘the Platform’s role is limited to enabling the Therapist Services. The Therapists themselves are responsible for the performance of the Therapy Services’ (BetterHelp, 2022). BetterHelp is therefore not responsible for the services that the therapists provide (Schröder, 2022). In fact, many reviews express displeasure with the counsellors, for example some rescheduling their sessions on the last minute.
- To achieve a world-wide press coverage by promoting the campaign on social media by celebrities and influencers. By making the Christmas Cactus the symbol of this campaign, everyone will associate the flower with the campaign.
- Highlight the variety of services offered by the platform.
- By showing a man during therapy, the goal is to help the stigma around men seeking out therapy. In 2021, 74% of all suicides in England were of men (Samaritans, 2021). Because mostly women use the platform, this could also inspire more men to join the platform.
- Create an advertisement that will be depicting a man going to therapy sessions on BetterHelp. It will show a Christmas Cactus, that is progressively blooming as the patient continues going to therapy. While the flower continues to bloom, different services BetterHelp offers will be portrayed. It will start off by showing therapy through a video session, next will be journaling, the next a phone session while the patient is watering the flower. Next will be a live chat and the advertisement will finish with the man saying ‘I can take it from here’ on a video chat to his therapist. The last shot will be a fully bloomed Christmas Cactus. The reason for the choice of this flower is that it blooms in the Winter, therefore this will be a Christmas campaign. The Christmas Cactus will be a symbol for this campaign.
- Get influencers and celebrities from all over the world to promote this campaign through social media. They need to include a link to the campaign in their bio or include it in their post/video description. They need to do all or one of the following:
- Post their Christmas Cactus on Instagram and describe their mental health journey in the description of the post.
- Post a TikTok video of their blooming Christmas Cactus and describe their mental health journey while the flower is blooming.
- Put the advertisement into their YouTube video and have their Christmas Cactus in the background for the entirety of the video.
- Customers that will start therapy with BetterHelp during this campaign will get a free Christmas Cactus. Customers will be encouraged to post their flower and mental health journey on social media.
In conclusion, the SWOT analysis has shown that the platform’s strength lies in the variety of the services they offer. It has also shown that there are things that BetterHelp could improve in, for example improving their bad reputation. This campaign could achieve this and in the process, truly display the many services BetterHelp has to offer.
Aswad, J. (2022, October 4). Lauv Partners With BetterHelp to Provide Up to $3 Million in Free Therapy to Fans. Variety. https://variety.com/2022/music/news/lauv-betterhelp-free-therapy-mental-health-day-1235392424/
Alexander, J. (2018, October 4). YouTube’s BetterHelp mental health controversy, explained. Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/2018/10/4/17932862/betterhelp-app-youtube-sponsorship-controversy-explained
Balagam, I. (2022, October 27). A Review of BetterHelp for Online Therapy. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/betterhelp-review
BetterHelp. (2022, September 2021). Terms and Conditions. https://www.betterhelp.com/terms/
Fader, S. (2022, November 3). How Much Does Therapy Cost? BetterHelp Therapy. BetterHelp.https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/can-i-afford-to-see-a-counselor-how-much-does-therapy-cost/
Hipp, D. (2022, September 9). BetterHelp Online Therapy Review. Forbes Health.https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/betterhelp-review/
Larkin, E. (2022, May 23). WeWork members get month of free therapy through BetterHelp. MM+M.https://www.mmm-online.com/home/channel/wework-us-members-get-month-of-free-therapy-through-betterhelp/
Lindberg, S. & Lee, M. (2022, October 31). Best Online Therapy Services. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/our-top-10-online-therapy-picks
Orford, S. & Pedersen, T. (2022, May 3). Is BetterHelp Therapy Right for You?. PsychCentral. https://psychcentral.com/reviews/betterhelp-reviews#pros-and-cons
Osberg, M. & Mehrotra, D. (2020, February 19). The Spooky, Loosely Regulated World of Online Therapy. Jezebel.https://jezebel.com/the-spooky-loosely-regulated-world-of-online-therapy-1841791137
Samaritans. (2021). Suicides in England [Data sheet].https://media.samaritans.org/documents/Suicide_Stats_England_2021.pdf
Schröder, C. (2022, January 26). Why BetterHelp Needs To Reasses Its Brand Strategy. Latana. https://latana.com/post/betterhelp-deep-dive/
Similarweb. (2022, September). Betterhelp.com [Web analytics]. https://www.similarweb.com/website/betterhelp.com/#overview