Attention doctor: You are a brand! Did you know the way you talk, walk, and dress are just a few of the hundreds of components that build the brand of you? Each day we interact with thousands of brands, and while their impact is generally at a subconscious level, there are many ways you can grow your practice by tapping into the brands that shape your world.
To begin exploring this powerful marketing concept, start by thinking of holidays and sports teams. If you see the colors red and green or images of pine cones, for example, Christmas and the winter season likely come to mind. Similarly, seeing orange and navy together in Chicago makes football fans think of the Bears. The elements described are part of the brand DNA and allow a connection to the holiday and team to be made without a specific mention of the date or name. When strong visuals are connected to a brand, they can evoke a visceral response that helps consumers quickly recognize a business, group, or event.
Many physicians looking to build a brand or update their current one often simply place a logo on their printed material and website. While creating and using a logo is an essential part of marketing, it is just one of many critical steps to building a brand to which patients connect.
Like holidays and sports teams, the best brands don’t need to slap their logo or name across everything for consumer recognition. Think of how this concept applies to your current branding efforts. When you close your eyes, do certain images or colors pop into your head? Does your business have a distinct and definable look? Does that look reflect the type of patients you have or want to attract?
If the answer is no, don’t worry; you are not alone. Out of necessity, many practices grow their business before their brands. While you can debate which should come first, the bottom line is that whether you started down a path with an awareness of where you were or simply found your current brand along the way, you can strengthen your business by owning or redefining it.
The second step to the SIMPLE marketing formula which this column is based upon, instructs practices to explore their IMAGE. When a brand is strengthened, it can increase the impact of all future promotions. Further, when a brand strategy is defined and executed, all marketing efforts can work together and build upon each other to allow for stronger market penetration.
The process of building a brand involves many well thought out elements working together. A quick brand checklist, at a bare minimum, includes ensuring your practice has a clearly defined logo, brand colors, and preferred fonts. Once selected, all of these items should be used consistently.
When examining your marketing, it is perhaps most critical to recognize that a great brand is much more than an identifiable mark or set of colors; it is how you make your patients feel. Your brand includes the experience your business provides, the emotions a patient associates with your practice, and hopefully how patients remember you. You can start to build your brand through physical attributes such as office décor, staff uniforms, or brochures, but the essence of your brand will stem from how these pieces all weave together to create a total patient experience.
It is important to note that whether you consciously brand yourself or not, your patients will draw conclusions on their own as to what they perceive your brand to be. This means that if you are not owning or directing those assumptions, you are essentially letting your patients dictate your brand. Take the time to invest in growing your business by growing the brand of you. n
For more information on branding your practice, read DRIVE: The Power of Execution by Tracy Weldon available at www.drivethebook.com.
Tracy Drumm Weldon specializes in
aesthetic medical marketing. For more
dermatology marketing tips, visit