I am hearing that ‘my brand’ is becoming more and more important. First of all, what is a ‘Brand’ and if I’ve been in business for 20 years, how do I refresh or make one now?
Thanks, Dr. XAnswer:
Dr. X, this is an incredibly important question nowadays where practicing good medicine is just not enough to get patients in the door. Since my specialty isn’t Branding, I reached out to an expert, Alexis Ufland, owner of Lexi Design
which is a Medical and Spa Consulting, Branding and Marketing Firm. Here is what she had to say:
A Brand is the words, images, thoughts and feelings that come to mind when someone thinks about or interacts with your practice in some way; it’s the real estate about your practice / business in someone else’s heart and mind. Most doctors are very clear about their brand when they first open, but over time, as businesses evolve (i.e. services, products and staff change), the brand’s original concept can dilute and the message you want to deliver is not always the message your patients are getting. It’s at this point when your brand may just need a ‘reboot’.
As a doctor, you want every word and image on your brochures, website and ads to represent your core attributes, values and beliefs. A reboot requires you to review your marketing channels to uncover shortcomings and inconsistencies. During this process, you focus on keeping what works, discard what no longer fits and add what makes sense to more fully engage your patients
Here’s a quick checklist of branding strategies designed to entice patients and keep them loyal and engaged with your business.
1. Clarity of Purpose
Be abundantly clear about the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and especially the ‘why’ of your brand. Why does your practice exist, and why are you passionate about it? Who are you (innovative, luxury-minded, health-conscious), what services do you provide, and how will you convey that message i.e., your business name, tagline and descriptive copy should represent exactly what you do, so patients won’t be left guessing what your brand stands for.
2. Spotlight your Unique Selling Proposition
Whenever patients interact with your business-- via phone call, visit, social media view--it’s known as a brand touch point, an experience that determines their view of your particular brand culture. So make each touch point a chance to showcase your uniqueness, your you-ness. YOUR brand represents YOUR values; it is the experience people have when they come into contact with your practice. Stand apart from the competition by putting your own spin on your products, services and methods.
3. Creative Content
Your brand culture is the special ‘magic’ patients experience in your treatment rooms and should resonate in everything you produce. Blogs, e-blasts, online newsletter and brochures should be crafted in the same voice--yours! Likewise, let your business personality shine through in podcasts, social media postings and in-office events. Generic or lackluster messaging doesn’t cut it. Creative content that represents your beliefs distinguishes your offerings.
The conversation is your vital ‘talking point’: All verbal communication on the phone, in person and via webinars should be in sync and accurately represent your brand. Whether your conversational style is chatty, soothing and Zen-like, or authoritative or clinical, make sure you use the same tone across each brand touch point.
5. Emotionally Connect
Aim to resonate with your target market on an emotional level, to establish a “like-know-trust” rapport. Nix the hard-sell copy or medical jargon; instead, talk about how your products and procedures can make patients feel, by improving appearance and self-esteem. Touching testimonials, dramatic before-and-after photos, and strategies to connect patients with one another are all smart ways to strike that emotional chord.
6. Care about your Craft, Patients and Staff
Make it clear you stand for something by promoting philanthropic ventures in your community, and by demonstrating a real commitment to your craft, staff and patients. Brands with a heart and social conscience win points with a patient that’s savvy and smart (particularly millennials).
Finally, make sure your brand identity rings true in every venue and across all marketing platforms, from your office décor to your Facebook postings to your banter with patients, so that the image you project is crystal clear. Being consistent, clear and caring is the way to build a powerful brand that patients keep coming back.
The ultimate goal? To position you as an authority in the industry and create authentic messaging that emotionally connects with your target market by humanizing your brand. After all, a powerful brand is vital to increasing patient acquisition and helping you gain loyal, committed patients which, in turn, increases your bottom line.For assistance with your brand, call or email Alexis directly at 646-736-1777 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alexis is offering a free phone consult for listserv members during October 2016. Mention this email on your call.